Rhino breeders global online auction to sell 6 tons of horns sparks controversy

South African businessman and game rancher John Hume, the world’s biggest rhino breeder, has announced plans to sell part of his massive stockpile of horns in a global online auction‚ sparking concern that this could undermine the 40- year-old international ban on rhino horn trading.

Hume reportedly owns nearly 1 500 rhinos at his game farm in the North West and has a stockpile of nearly six tons of horns that he wants to sell.

Dr Kelly Marnewick, senior trade officer, Wild Life and Trade Programme, The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) says they will be watching this development with interest.

The department of environmental affairs has issued a statement saying the trading horn will only be for local use.

Dr. Kelly Marnewick, senior trade officer, Wild Life and Trade Programme, The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

How we police that is that still unclear.

Dr. Kelly Marnewick, senior trade officer, Wild Life and Trade Programme, The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

Marnewick explains that a permit is required, in terms of national legislation, to do a purchase of listed species on their threatened or protected species list.

She says this will be the first time a bid of this nature takes place, so there will be a lot to learn in the process.

Hume won a court battle earlier this year to overturn the eight-year-old moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns.

The unfortunate thing about this court ruling is that it was based on the department of environmental affairs not doing adequate public participation instead of the principle around selling rhino horns says Marnewick.

The challenging thing is not just about who buys the horn but how do you keep track of the horn after that.

Dr. Kelly Marnewick, senior trade officer, Wild Life and Trade Programme, The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT)

She says these are some of the questions and concerns they hope the department of environmental affairs will address.

Listen to the full interview in clip below:

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