SOUTH AFRICAN MINISTER WARNS OF EXTINCTION OF RHINOS

16 Jul 2013 07:54
CAPE TOWN, July 13 (Bernama) -- South Africa's rhino population will be close to extinction by 2026 if no effective measures are taken, Xinhua news agency quoted Minister of Environmental Affairs and Water Edna Molewa as saying. No rhinos would be left in the country if rhino poaching continued at its current rate, the minister told the Cable News Network (CNN) on Saturday. South Africa, home to over 73 percent of the world's rhino population, bears the brunt of rhino poaching. The country has to date seen a total of 480 rhinos killed for their horns since the beginning of the year, according to the latest official statistics released Thursday. Molewa said South Africa is planning to auction off massive stockpiles of rhino horn as a fresh measure to curb rhino poaching. "The one-off sale of some 16,400 kg of rhino horn stockpile is an attempt to alleviate the country's poaching problem," she said. On Thursday, the government reiterated its commitment to working in partnership with stakeholders and experts to ensure a feasible model for trade in rhino horns. South Africa will submit a rhino trade proposal for consideration at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2016. Currently, international trade in rhino horn for commercial purposes is prohibited and this prohibition can only be lifted if agreed by the COP. --BERNAMA EE