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Rhino hunting permits for Vietnam halted
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa has said South Africa will refuse all rhino hunting permit applications from hunters in Vietnam, according to a report by Business Day.

"We are consulting at the diplomatic level and the outcome of the process will allow us to refuse all applications for white rhinoceros hunting by foreign hunters whose state of usual residence is Vietnam.”

She said the number of rhinos poached this year had now reached an “alarming” 159, and the Kruger National Park continued to bear the brunt of these losses, with rhinos poached in the park reaching a staggering 95.

Ninety people have been arrested in connection with rhino poaching, 21 of them in the Kruger Park.

“This is no longer an environmental management problem. It has become a matter in which we have involved all law enforcement agencies,” she said.

Whilst there has been a lot of interest on the issue of SA approaching Cites Cop 16 with a proposal to trade in rhino horn internationally, the minister said it was not in a position to pronounce on the matter as internal preparatory processes had not yet been finalised.

If a proposal were to be made, it would be at the Cites meeting in 2019, where SA would have to gain the backing of two-thirds of the signatories.

"It is a very sensitive issue, both nationally and internationally, and we want to do all the analytical work to inform that decision," she said.

Amendments to the norms and standards for marking rhino horn and hunting white rhino for trophy hunting have been approved by MINMEC and will come into effect as soon as it is published in the Government Gazette.

Some of the key amendments include the marking of all live rhinos sold and transported, horns have to be micro chipped, applicant hunters would have to prove membership of a hunting association or of previous hunting experience, a person may only hunt and export one rhino for trophy purposes within a 12-month period, and rhino hunts must take place under the supervision of a conservation official, preferably an environmental management inspector from the province concerned.
The minister encouraged private landowners to register their rhino horn stockpiles with the respective provincial conservation authorities. “It is a legal requirement that a permit is obtained to possess rhino horn. The rhino horn should also be included in a register and be micro-chipped.

“We are continuing to do research work to find more innovative mechanisms to curb rhino poaching. We once again make a call to members of the public to continue with all efforts they have mounted and call for more innovations and involvement of the South African society.”

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