The DA welcomes the proactive move last Thursday by the European Commission to implement wildlife trade control measures that help to disrupt organised crime using hunting trophies to traffic rhino horn and elephant ivory.
An EU Commission statement reads: “The new measures address these problems by introducing a requirement for an import permit guaranteeing that the origin of the trophy is legal and sustainable. The permit will only be delivered once the EU is convinced that the import meets criteria demonstrating that it is sustainable. If the criteria are not met, the import will be banned.”
I have written to the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, encouraging her to write in the strongest terms to all her counterparts in Mozambique, Vietnam and China to implement the same regulations for trophy imports as the EU.
Illegal wildlife trade is said to be in the top 5 organised crime earners estimated at over a billion dollars per year.
The lax border controls in source, transit and destination countries only helps the industry grow.
South Africa, Mozambique, Vietnam and China all have very little control over the illegal wildlife products exiting, transiting or entering their countries.
Mozambique has just tabled its National Rhino and Ivory Action Plan 2015-2016 to CITES, 3 months late, wherein it outlines one of its plans to improve border policing by October 2016!
This is too little too late.
How can the EU develop and implement legislation so quickly when the problem states have taken little to no action since 2008? The MOU’s signed with all of these countries under huge pomp and ceremony have resulted in no tangible results.
The Minister needs to take a tough stance on her counterparts locally and abroad regarding the illicit trade in rhino horn. Only political will and collective action from the countries that are most affected by the scourge of rhino poaching can disrupt the chain of supply and demand to quell the trade on an international level.
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