MAY 31, 2016 9:21 AM PDT

Domestic Sale of Rhino Horn is Now Legal in South Africa

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The South African Supreme Court has ruled that the ban on the domestic sale of rhino horns is to be put to an end.

A rhino with no horns after they were removed and harvested.

It’s a controversial move, because South Africa is home to many of these wild creatures that already suffer from poaching problems. As a result, many of these creatures are protected in sanctuaries that are protected by armed guards to prevent poaching attacks.
 
The ruling does not affect international trade of rhino horns, which is still illegal at this point in time, but after the ruling, domestic sale is legal and rhino horn can be kept, sold, or traded to whoever finds them valuable.
 
Of course, where one method of sale is now legal, it may open Pandora’s box and lead to a surge in sales, not only domestically, but also internationally. For this reason, there is a lot of controversy over the ruling and it could put many rhinos’ lives at risk.
 
Many times, poachers kill a rhino and dig its horns out by the root, leaving nothing but a carcass with a blood pool at the scene of the heinous crime. It is possible to harvest these horns without hurting the creature; the problem is, poachers don’t bother with the effort and kill the animals instead. When removed correctly, the horns can actually grow back.
 
Anti-poaching efforts in South Africa are stronger than ever, however this court ruling seems like a step in the opposite direction. On the other hand, anyone participating in the sale or purchase of rhino horn will need to have a permit so the government can keep track of the flow of goods.
 
The South African government has a stockpile of rhino horns itself, however the amount of stockpile hasn’t been revealed to the public. Estimates, according to Reuters, place the government’s stockpile at around 6 tonnes, while the state probably has around 25 tonnes in its possession.
 
Illegal international trade of rhino horn is popular, especially to Asia, because it’s believed to have medicinal properties and is believed to be a cure for cancer. On the other hand, because the horn of a rhino is made from keratin and is much like human fingernails, these properties are highly unlikely.
 
Poaching can be blamed for the rarity of the Sumatran Rhino, which is nearing extinction due to a surge of poachers who want the horns in recent years.

Nevertheless, the court's decision seems to be driven from an economical perspective, and not an ecological one.

Source: Reuters

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
This Octopus Emerges From the Water in Search of Food
Most octopuses live and breathe underwater, just like the vast majority of other marine animals. But this octopus endemic to Australia has a special abilit...
FEB 09, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 09, 2020
Mosquitoes are Driven to Search for Heat in the Hunt for Meals
Mosquitoes can be dangerous disease vectors, and they infect and kill hundreds of thousands of people with illnesses like dengue, malaria, and West Nile Virus....
FEB 07, 2020
Technology
FEB 07, 2020
Flyception 2.0: Tracks Complex Social Behavior of Flies
Researchers at the University of California San Diego now have a better understanding of the social behavior of insets thanks to advanced imaging technolog...
MAR 04, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
MAR 04, 2020
DNA Fragments and Cartilage Recovered From 75-Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Bones
An international team of researchers has analyzed cartilage from a baby duckbilled dinosaur, and they have identified bits of preserved proteins and what seems to be chromosomes....
MAR 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 10, 2020
How Much Do You Know About Fleas?
If you have any furry pets at home, such as cats or dogs, then you may have had to deal with fleas at one time or another. Fleas are incredibly irritating...
MAR 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 15, 2020
The Incredible Life of a Sea Urchin
From start to finish, a sea urchin’s life involves an incredible and lengthy journey. From the moment a wandering sperm meets an egg somewhere in the...
Loading Comments...