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SOS Rhino : In the News :Divided Views On Black Rhino Vote

Divided Views On Black Rhino Vote
The Namibian (Windhoek)
October 12, 2004
Posted to the web October 12, 2004

Absalom Shigwedha

THERE has been a mixed response to the decision by Cites to lift the global ban on hunting the black rhino.

Last week, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, decided to lift a ban on hunting the rare black rhino in Namibia and South Africa - a move some say is too early as the lumbering beast is still recovering from being close to extinction.

In terms of the decision, Namibia and South Africa will be able to trophy hunt five black rhinos every year.

Dave Joubert, the Vice Chairperson of the Wildlife Society of Namibia (WSN) said the harvesting of the black rhino should be allowed if it was sustainable, did not endanger the population in any way and if the proceeds were used to further the aims of conservation in Namibia.

Save The Rhino Trust, which protects the desert adapted black rhinos in western Namibia, declined to comment on the Cites decision.

Save the Rhino Trust Administration Officer, Michael Guiseb, said the organisation could not comment until the trust's management had met with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism on the matter next week.

Some animal rights groups, such as the London-based Born Free Foundation and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) have opposed the lifting of the ban.

They say it will encourage poaching of the black rhino.

The Wildlife Society argues that while some tourists visit Namibia for game viewing, a large proportion also come to hunt.

"Allowing five black rhino to be shot for trophies would not reduce the game viewing potential of Namibia, since the take-off is low," said Joubert.

Only old male black rhinos, which are no longer breeding, will be targeted.

Revenue generated from trophy hunting will be put into the Game Products Trust Fund to sponsor community conservancies.

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