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SOS Rhino : In the News : Public Invited to Debate Black Rhino Hunting
 

Public Invited to Debate Black Rhino Hunting

  Craig Bishop
Pietermaritzburg

BuaNews (Pretoria)

February 17, 2005
Posted to the web February 17, 2005

KwaZulu-Natal conservation agency Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife will hold a public meeting in April to debate the hunting of black rhinos.

In October last year, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) approved proposals to allow South Africa and Namibia to hunt five black rhinos each per year.

Critics argue that CITES' quota system is flawed and that economics should never dictate conservation ethics.

Protagonists argue that trophy hunting allows the sustainable use of natural resources.

Bodies like Ezemvelo or the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) are now tasked with determining whether surplus rhino become wasted assets if they are not hunted.

Ezemvelo CEO Khulani Mkhize says the hunting industry brings billions of Rands into the national economy and that only males past their breeding prime will be hunted.

DEAT Trade and Regulations director Pieter Botha says that hunting five black rhino each year is a biologically sound concept.

"I call this the tragedy of success. We have managed our black rhino so well that now we have surplus, redundant males. Ultimately we will be left with too many males. Therefore shoot the males," he says.

Black rhino have been on the CITES Appendix 1 list for highly endangered animals after poaching saw numbers plummet globally from 65 000 in 1970 to 2 400 in the 1990s.

Numbers have increased to around 3 600 in Africa, roughly 700 of these are in KwaZulu-Natal, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Global opposed the quota application for South Africa, but not for Namibia, because South Africa is not ready yet for logistical controls like horn registration, says WWF-Global conservation director, Rob Little.

South Africa has also not demonstrated effective enough monitoring of its white rhino hunting industry to approve it for black rhino, he argues.

To register for the Ezemvelo debate, contact Jean Wagner on 033 845 1654 or email jeanwag@kznwildlife.com, or fax (033) 845 1462.

The debate will be held at Ezemvelo's headquarters in Queen Elizabeth Park in Pietermaritzburg on 9 April from 8:30am.



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