New rhino laws gazetted

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Copy of rhino_nov 7 THE STAR File picture Photo: Moloko Moloto

New norms and standards for marking rhino horn and trophy hunting will be implemented immediately, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said on Monday.

“The gazetting of the new norms and standards is another significant step that the department is taking in the fight against rhino poaching,” Molewa said in a statement.

A total of 171 rhinos had been poached between January and April this year, the department said on Friday. Last year 448 rhinos were killed, and 333 in 2010.

“We once again make a call to members of the public to also help us in the fight against rhino poaching,” Molewa said.

According to the new norms and standards gazetted on April 10, all live rhinos sold and transported had to be micro-chipped. All rhino horns, regardless of how they were acquired, had to be micro-chipped within five days.

In addition to micro-chips, if the horn or part of it was more than 5cm in length, the issuing authority would mark it with indelible ink.

“This information will be kept and updated in a national database. The owner of the horn is responsible for the costs incurred by the issuing authority to purchase the micro-chips,” she said.

The norms and standards also stated that when live rhinos were darted to be moved, samples of the horns and blood had to be collected using DNA kits.

Regarding hunting rhinos, in addition to the application for a hunting permit, applicants had to submit proof of membership of a hunting association recognised by the applicant's country of residence, a curriculum vitae indicating the applicant's hunting experience, proof of previous experience in hunting an African species, and a copy of the applicant's passport.

A hunting client could hunt only one white rhino for trophy purposes within a 12-month period.

Rhino hunts had to take place in the presence of an environmental management inspector, or an official of the issuing authority authorised to conduct compliance inspections.

The horns, together with the rest of the trophy, had to be transported by a duly authorised person directly to the taxidermy or similar facility to be processed and prepared for export.

“Upon receipt of the rhino horns, the taxidermist or owner of a similar facility must report to the department of environmental affairs the date of receipt of the rhino horns, weight of the horns, micro-chip numbers, the numbers of the hunting and transporting permits, and the professional hunting register.”

It was hoped the new norms and standards would strengthen monitoring of hunts and control over rhino horns, she said. - Sapa

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