South Africa said Friday it would oppose an online auction of rhino horns due to start next week, as outraged conservationists said the sale would undermine the global ban on rhino trade.
The three-day auction by South African John Hume, who runs the world’s biggest rhino farm, comes after a ban on domestic trade in the country was lifted three months ago.
The government said it would fight Hume’s court application to be granted sale permits.
“The Minister of Environmental Affairs is opposing the application,” the government said in a statement on Friday, declining to comment further.
Hume’s lawyer Izak
“We will go to the High Court on an urgent basis,” du Toit told AFP, ahead of the auction due to start on Monday.
Hume and some other campaigners say poaching can only be halted by meeting the huge demand from Asia through legally “harvesting” horn from
He has stockpiles of six tonnes of horns and wants to place 500
South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, some 80 percent of the worldwide population, but in recent years has suffered record slaughter by poachers.
Rhino horn is composed mainly of keratin, the same component as in human nails.
It is sold in powdered form as a supposed cure for cancer and other diseases — as well as an aphrodisiac — in Vietnam and China.
While any auctioned horn could not
The auction website is in English, but also in Chinese and Vietnamese.
Joseph Okori, of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), described the auction as “deplorable”.
While we have your attention...
An increasingly rare commodity, quality independent journalism costs money - though not nearly as much as its absence.
Every article, every day, is our contribution to Defending Truth in South Africa. If you would like to join us on this mission, you could do much worse than support Daily Maverick's quest by becoming a Maverick Insider.
Click here to become a Maverick Insider and get a closer look at the Truth.
Adolf Hitler was the first European leader to ban human zoos.