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Tue May 31 21:57:27 SAST 2016

New laws on rhino hunting

Katharine Child | 14 January, 2016 00:18
All rhino deaths, natural or not, have to be reported to the authorities timeously. File photo
Image by: ESA ALEXANDER

The Department of Environmental Affairs has drafted regulations to strengthen control over the sale of live rhinos, trophy hunting and the stockpiling of rhino horn.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has drafted regulations to strengthen control over the sale of live rhinos, trophy hunting and the stockpiling of rhino horn.

Rhino hunting is legal in South Africa if the hunter has a permit but the proposed law stipulates than an environmental management official would have to be present at all hunts.

The law was gazetted on Tuesday and is open for public comment for 30 days.

The proposed regulations include:

  • One hunter will be allowed to hunt only one rhino a year;
  • All rhino deaths, natural or not, have to be reported to the authorities timeously;
  • All rhino sold or moved must have three microchips implanted - one in each horn and another in the spine;
  • Provincial authorities must keep information about rhino deaths and the movement of rhino out of the province on a national database;
  • Rhino owners must notify government officials within five days of acquiring horns from a natural death; and
  • Owners must keep the horns in a safe.

The chairman of the Private Rhino Owners' Association, Pelham Jones, said owners were already micro chipping their rhinos to reduce the risk of poaching and to trace the horn.

Rhino owner Ed Hern, commenting on the requirement that officials be present on hunts, said: "The provincial authorities don't have enough staff to do that."

Hern has micro-chipped 300 of his live rhinos and infused poison and dye into their horns to make them unusable as traditional medicines.

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