Nature Conservation

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Kunene Lion Programme

The thrust of IRDNC’s effort is to respond to escalating Human Lion Conflict (HLC) in the short term whilst simultaneously developing long-term mitigating measures as well as exploring incentives for communities living with lions. This pressing need grows out of increasinghuman-lionn conflict (HLC) in Kunene stemming from the success of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) in conserving the region’s unique desert-adapted lion population.

In collaboration with:


Increasing HLC is an urgent and immediate threat to Kunene’s lions and farmers’ livelihoods. We feel the Kunene Lion Support Programme can address these problems sustainably. It has been a very busy six months and this report illustrates this.

Progress:
IRDNC Team’s footprint has expanded substantially with response to incidents and patrolling being executed in Ehirovipuka Conservancy and in Tsiseb Conservancy (Uis/Brandberg area). Work in the Eherivopuka area has included response to incidents, regular patrolling, meeting with farmers and on occasion assisting with maintaining the boundary fence of Etosha to stop lions from entering the community farming areas. Our facilitator based in this area is playing an important and leading role in the formation process of the Proposed Kunene People’s Park. This Park will provide an additional 10 000 hectares of secure and safe habitat for lions (and other species).

Tsiseb Conservancy resorts under the Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) as a support organization. However, NNF do not have the field capacity to deal with Human Lion Conflict and thus requested the involvement of our Team. Our Team responded to several calls in the Brandberg area and then assisted the Desert Lion Project and Ministry of Environment and Tourism in monitoring and ultimately relocating several problem lions. These have been translocated to a private property. Negotiations led to an agreement that these can be returned to the area once certain mitigation measures are in place and when game/prey numbers have increased.
The 2017/18 rain season produced generally average widespread rains, although the western areas still have little new growth.

The 2018 annual fixed route counts data has not yet been released, however, we can state that game/prey numbers are still low. This to be expected after 4 years of drought. Discussions with field staff indicate more calves and foals being seen and we expect a positive change in the 2019 count. The distribution of prey species has also changed somewhat with concentrations occurring in areas where the first good rains fell. There has been a distinct move or shift in the lions’ distribution as well, this corresponding to the prey species. Some prides of lions are compensating for the lack of local pray by covering enormous distances. An example is the group of four females who include part of the Springbok River in their territory. In early September, they were found, two new Early Warning collars fitted a hundred kilometers north west of the Springbok River.

Rapid Response Lion Rangers:
The Rapid Response Team is now at full strength with its third and last member being appointed in June. The third facilitator is currently driving an old and unreliable vehicle.
However, we have sourced funding for a new vehicle and this should be obtained in October/November. Basic equipment, binoculars, spotlights, GPS, headlight, bedroll, tent, chair, 12v fridge have been purchased and will make a huge difference to operational efficiency. Teams will now be able to spend longer extended time in the bush.

There has been extensive training of the Team and associated rangers at every opportunity. Most of this has been done on site at actual scenarios. This includes response situations, patrolling, immobilizing and working with lions and meeting with stakeholders. This ongoing training is seen as a high priority.
Community Game Guards and/or Lion Rangers accompany every patrol. This for training purposes and giving local conservancies “ownership” of the program.

As on 09 October 2018, some twenty of the new Early Warning System collars have been fitted to lions. Our Teams assisted with half of these events. This is an ongoing priority and the systems’ expected efficiency depends on at least another 30 collars being fitted. In the next month, a new Early Warning Tower is scheduled to be erected at Mbakondja in Anabeb Conservancy.
So far this year, IRDNC has been responsible for the construction of five new predator proof kraals. These situated in the hotspot areas of Torra and Anabeb Conservancies.



Our worst case yet:
In July in Anabeb Conservancy, we had an incident of lions killing some 18 goats in a kraal. Our Teams were deployed at other problems and could not respond immediately. The MET field staff were also not able to respond. The farmers, two men involved, put poison out in a carcass and a lioness, hyena and several jackals were killed. Our discussions with a top independent Investigative Consultant with Nampol and MET led to a thorough investigation of the incident. Two men were arrested, charged and appeared in court. They pleaded guilty and the case has been postponed for sentencing. This is a highly significant land mark case and is, to my knowledge, the first time a person has been charged after poisoning lions or predators. This has sent a clear message out to all that this is unacceptable and that there will be consequences.

One poisend male lion:
One male lion moved from the Oruwau area (Sesfontein Conservancy) through the Hoanib River, Ganamub area, Puros and went all the way north to just west of Orupembe. He then returned to the Puros area where he finally disappeared, we suspect killed and buried. Our Teams spent much time monitoring his movements and actions and communicating with local farmers. Unfortunately, prey species were few and far between and this lion lived largely off livestock. It appears as if this male’s movements were in response to other dominant males in the area and, in conjunction with Desert Lion Conservation, it was decided not to translocate this male. It was almost certain that this would precipitate other problems.

During the period under review there have been three meetings of the North West Lion Working Group, all conducted timeously and very useful indeed. Issues discussed relate to response protocols, Early Warning Systems and their implementation, community attitudes strategies for surveying areas not currently being researched and protocols surrounding the dissemination of sensitive information (particularly “live” information on lions whereabouts

Poisend Male Lion






Conservation Metrics
Area, square kilometers covered
40 000 square kilometers

Increase in area due to LRF funding
Increased by some 12 000 square km (Palmwag & Etendeka Concessions and Ehirovipuka, Tsiseb and Omatendeka Conservancies)

Approximate number of lions at project start
West of the escarpment in an area of ca 32 000 sqaure km estimate remains at 120 to 150 above the age of I year old.

Insight into population size
Several new litters of cubs recorded as well, but still very young. Data for the eastern area and intermediate Escarpment area not good enough at this point for an acceptable estimate. Surveys are planned for the next year in these areas. If we had to hazard a guess for the whole of Kunene it would be around 200 plus or minus 30

Insight into prey numbers
The 2017/18 rain season produced generally average widespread rains, although the western areas still have little new growth. The 2018 annual fixed route counts data has not yet been released, however, we can state that game/prey numbers are still low. This to be expected after 4 years of drought. Discussions with field staff indicate more calves and foals being seen and we expect a positive change in the 2019 count. The distribution of prey species has also changed somewhat with concentrations occurring in areas where the first good rains fell.

Livestock killed
Cattle 39, Goats 75, Sheep 6, Donkeys 6, horses 2

Number of community members employed to tackle lion conflict issues
A total of 11 lion rangers in 3 different conservancies
Number of innovative measures Focus is on the Response Team, Early warning system, Predator proof kraals and the establishment and use of community Lion Rangers.

Number of conflict incidents responded to
29 incidents in total
Insight into changes in community attitudes
The basis of our Teams work revolves around community involvement and informing the conservancies and their members of what is happening. The number of call-outs for responses indicates a really healthy relationship and expectation from communities

Number of times lion killing by people averted
Two definite incidents where our actions prevented the shooting/killing of lions

Number of lions collared

20 lions fitted with the new Early warning system collars

Number of lions individually recognized
18 from four different prides

Number of lions killed in snares, gin traps
0

Number of lions poisoned
One definite

Number of lions trophy hunted
0



Challenges
The vast area we operate in remains a major challenge. This demands an enormous amount of mileage monthly and long dedicated time in the field. Some equipment still needs to be sourced, this includes sat phone, cameras and a mobile small projector for giving presentations to communities. More funding required to jump-start the lion rangers and provide impetus to this line of mitigation.

Planned Targets for the next 6 month period
The next year must focus on consolidating our efforts and providing consistency throughout. The Early Warning System is important, and we hope to have at least 6 towers at selected villages and at least another 20 lions collared. Between IRDNC and our partners we are hoping for at least another 6 predator proof kraals to be constructed. We have developed new data collection forms which we started using in July. These will be entered into a data base and provide useful information for reporting as well as evidence-based decisions around lion management and HLC mitigation. These three forms capture information on

•Tracking/sightings
•Communication
•Response

By July 2019 we should be able to start making constructive use of this information.
The Lion Ranger program remains important and we plan to have at least one training session in the next six months.
Continued frequent and good communication between all stakeholders remains an ongoing priority







UPDATE January

The desert Lions are extremely adaptable. The kill Flamingos, Kormoran's and Seals in order to survive. Attached please find an article from an Afrikaans Newspaper from Namibia.





UPDATE 26.02.2019

Unfortunately, one Lion was killed in the Okondjatu Area. He killed 2 Catlle and the locals put him down. Attached the story from a german Newspaper from Namibia


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Banking Details

Account Holder: Namibian Chamber of Environment
Bank Name: First National Bank of Namibia
Bank Address: Parkside 130 Independence Avenue Windhoek Namibia
Branch Code: 289180
Account Nr: 62265005093
Code for Transactions: 289181_Jagdvergleich


Article origin:  .  ’Article Link’





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Pangolin Outreach Project

Consequence if Project does not get any attention:
Pangolins are in danger worldwide because of illegal trade driven by Asian markets. Pangolins are thus listed as Appendix I species on CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species), which prohibits all trade and trafficking of this species. If this illegal international trade is not controlled and stopped, Pangolins will be in grave danger of extinction.

In collaboration with:



Name of Project:
The conservation of Pangolins in Namibia

Type of Project:

Tackling illegal trade in Pangolins

Goal of Project:

To reduce and stop the illegal catching, killing, trafficking and smuggling of Pangolins in Namibia


Estimated time it will take to complete the Pangolin Project:

10 years

Total Funds it will take (estimate):

N$ 600 000.00

Follow up Projects after completion of the project:

Any follow-up project will be based on and designed around the monitoring of results of this phase of the project. Throughout the life of this phase of the project, data will be collected on key indicators which will be used for adaptive management and fine-tuning of the project objectives and activities.
Contact Profile of Organisation running the project
Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE)
www.n-c-e.org
Dr Chris Brown, CEO of NCE
info@n-c-e.org or admin@n-c-e.org

Partners in the Project

Ministry of Environment & Tourism, www.met.gov.na, Namibia’s communal conservancies and their NGO support organisations under NACSO (Namibia Association of CBNRM Support Organisations), www.nacso.org.na

Introducing the Project

Pangolins are believed to be the most trafficked mammals in the world. The biggest demand for pangolins is in Asia, especially China. The main reason is that the scales, made of keratin like our fingernails, hair and rhino horns, are used in traditional Asian medicines and for ornaments and charms. The scales have no medicinal properties. It is an Asian myth that causes huge environmental damage and threatens the survival of these species. Pangolin meat is also sold at high prices in Asian restaurants.
Pangolins have walked the earth for 80 million years. They are insectivores and are harmless to people.

They just do good for our environment. They eat ants and termites - millions and millions - as many as 70 million per pangolin per year. That’s about 191,780 insects per day! Imagine an area that is home to 15 pangolins. Those animals alone would eat as many as 1.05 billion insects annually. As you can imagine from these figures, pangolins help to control insect numbers, contributing to the delicate balance of the ecosystems they inhabit.

From a farming perspective, 1 billion insects such as termites could consume about 105,000 kg of grass per year – equivalent to the amount of grass that would feed 30 cows or 430 Springbok for a year. Farms with a healthy population of 15 Pangolins could generate about N$300,000 more income from cattle or wildlife. At the national level, the impact of reduced grazing from termites because of the removal of Pangolins could be as much as N$600 million per year.



The Reason why this Project is important

Without this project, the illegal capture, killing, trade, trafficking and smuggling of pangolins, their skins and scale, will escalate and the survival of the species will be put at risk. This project, therefore, aims to
  • (a)tackle the catching and killing of pangolins in Namibia,
  • (b)support law-enforcement agencies to catch and prosecute perpetrators, including traffickers and smugglers
  • (c)rehabilitate confiscated live pangolins and release them into the wild in safe areas
  • (d)engage with Chinese nations in Namibia to educate them on the need to protect pangolins
  • (e)undertake focused research to better understand the status and population dynamics of pangolins in Namibia, their survival after rehabilitation and release, and their ecological and economic value to the ecosystem.

A detailed description of the Project and Detailed Action Plan

  • Establish a reward scheme for information on illegal capture, killing and trade in pangolins in Namibia, in consultation with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism.

  • Prepare information on this reward scheme (which includes a hotline phone number for information) via A1 size posters and small “business card sized” mini-posters.

  • Disseminate posters to all schools, regional offices, police stations, clinics, conservancy offices, government offices and Chinese shops in the target areas of north-central, eastern and north-east Namibia.

  • Disseminate small cards widely through villages across the target areas.

  • Use the media - newspaper, radio and TV (including in local languages), websites and social media – to reach as broad a coverage as possible.

  • Ensure that there is a fast response to information and that once suspects are charged by the police, that the rewards are paid quickly.

  • Track prosecutions and support the prosecutors where necessary.

  • Develop a first responder’s handbook on how to treat and rehabilitate confiscated live pangolins.

  • Set up an outreach programme to engage with Chinese nationals/speakers in Namibia to share information on the importance of Pangolin conservation.

  • Establish a small research programme with the Namibia University of Science & Technology, Natural Resources Faculty, to carry our focused research on priority issues (e.g. status and population dynamics of pangolins, ecosystem services provided by pangolins, including the consequence in economic terms of their loss to the ecosystem, and rehabilitation challenges), and in priority areas.

Difficulties that might be encountered

No major difficulties are expected, because of the good teamwork between the partner organisations in the project. Getting information out to all the villages will take some time, and will be phased over two years. The biggest challenge is working up the crime chain to reach the people (usually syndicates linked to international crime) involved with smuggling pangolins out of the country.

Why is the project likely to succeed?

This project is a collaborative team effort between environmental NGOs, communities and government, including law enforcement agencies. It also has the support of the local media. As such, there is a strong national interest in making this project successful.


..


Detailed list of Expenses/Total Funds Needed

  • Printing of material (posters, cards) N$ 25,000
  • Dissemination of information to villages in rural areas N$ 75,000
  • Rewards for information leading to charges being laid by the police N$220,000
  • Transport and care of confiscated live pangolins N$ 80,000
  • Outreach and education to Chinese national/speakers in Namibia N$ 50,000
  • Pangolin research on specific priority issues N$150,000
TOTAL N$600,000

. .

Confiscated Scales and Skins from the Namibian Police:






Banking Details


Account Holder: Namibian Chamber of Environment
Bank Name: First National Bank of Namibia
Bank Address: Parkside 130 Independence Avenue Windhoek Namibia
Branch Code: 289180
Account Nr: 62265005093
Code for Transactions: 289180
Over a 10 year period, we are looking to educate the public to such an extent that pangolins will not be trafficked anymore





Article origin:  .  ’Article Link’





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I have never hunted....So, it might surprise you that I am a strong supporter of the hunting industry in Namibia

Dr Chris Brown, Namibian Chamber of Environment writes:

I am not a hunter. Nor have I ever been. I am a vegetarian (since the age of about 11), I am part of the environmental NGO sector and I have interests in the tourism industry in Namibia.So, it might surprise you that I am a strong supporter of the hunting industry in Namibia, and indeed, throughout Africa. Having said that, I should qualify my support. I am a strong supporter of legal, ethical hunting of indigenous wildlife within sustainably managed populations, in large open landscapes. The reason is simple. Well-managed hunting is extremely good for conservation. In many areas, it is essential for conservation.


There is much confusion and misconception, particularly in the urban industrialised world and thus by most western tourists that visit Namibia, about the role of hunting in conservation. Urban industrialised societies, and I include many biologists and recognised conservation organisations in this grouping, see hunting as undermining conservation, or the anathema of conservation. And they see protecting wildlife and removing all incentives for its consumptive use as promoting and achieving good conservation. Nothing could be further from the truth.

And then there is the animal rights movement. I have sympathy for people who stand up for animal rights – I think we all should. None of us want to see animals suffering or being treated badly by members of our species. But a problem arises when animal rights agendas are passed o as conservation agendas. Animal rights agendas are not conservation agendas. Conservation works at the population, species and ecosystem levels. Animal rights works at the individual level. And what might be good for an individual or a collection of individuals might not be good for the long-term survival of populations, species and biodiversity.
Take a simple domestic example. When the farm carthorse was replaced by the tractor, carthorses no longer had to work long hours in the fields. But they also no longer had a value to farmers.

Once common, they are now extremely rare. Indeed, carthorse associations have been established to keep these breeds from dying out. e truth is, if animals do not have a value, or if that value is not competitive with other options, then those animals will not have a place, except in a few small isolated islands of protection. And island protection in a sea of other land uses is a disaster for long- term conservation.

Animal rights are important. But for wildlife they must be placed within a sound conservation setting, where conservation decisions on behalf of populations, species and ecosystems take priority over the rights of individual animals.
The wildlife situation in Namibia provides a very good example of this. When the first western explorers, hunters and traders entered what is now Namibia in the late 1700s, crossing the Orange/Gariep River from the Cape, the national wildlife population was probably in the order of 8-10 million animals.

Over the following centuries wildlife was decimated and numbers collapsed, first by uncontrolled and wasteful hunting by traders and explorers, then by local people who had acquired guns and horses from the traders, then by early farmers, veterinary policies and fencing, and finally by modern-day farmers on both freehold and communal land who saw wildlife as having little value and competing with their domestic stock for scarce grazing. Traditional wildlife management under customary laws administered by chiefs had broken down under successive colonial regimes. By the 1960s wildlife numbers were at an all-time low in Namibia, with perhaps fewer than half a million animals surviving

At that time wildlife was “owned” by the state. Land owners and custodians were expected to support the wildlife on their land, but they had no rights to use the wildlife and to derive any benefits from wildlife. In response to declining numbers and growing dissatisfaction among farmers, a new approach to wildlife management was introduced. In the 1960s and 1990s conditional rights over the consumptive and non-consumptive use of wildlife were devolved to freehold and communal farmers respectively, the latter under Namibia’s well known conservancy programme. The laws give the same rights to farmers in both land tenure systems.
This new policy led to a total change in attitude towards wildlife by land owners and custodians. Wildlife suddenly had value. It could be used to support a multi-faceted business model, including trophy hunting, sport hunting, meat production, live sales of surplus animals and tourism. It could be part of a conventional livestock farming operation, or be a dedicated business on its own. As the sector developed, farmers discovered that they could do better from their wildlife than from domestic stock.

The numbers of both small and large stock declined on commercial farmland while wildlife numbers increased. Today there is more wildlife in Namibia than at any time in the past 150 years, with latest estimates putting the national wildlife herd at just over three million animals. And the reason is simple: in our arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid landscapes wildlife is an economically more attractive, competitive form of land use than conventional farming. Markets are driving more and more farmers towards wildlife management. is is good for conservation, not just for the wildlife but also from the broader perspective of collateral habitat protection and biodiversity conservation. e greater the bene ts that land owners and custodians derive from wildlife, the more secure it is as a form of land use and the more land is under conservation management. Therefore, all the component uses of wildlife, including trophy hunting in particular, must be available to wildlife businesses.

Why especially trophy hunting? Because there are large areas of Namibia comprising at terrain and monotonous vegetation that are unsuited to tourism but very important for conservation.

There are some people in the more elitist tourism sector in Namibia and in our neighbouring countries who oppose trophy hunting because it is perceived to conflict with tourism and is thus not good for conservation. These tourism operators and guides are naive and wrong. The greatest threat to wildlife conservation, in Namibia and globally, is land transformation. Once land is transformed, often for agricultural purposes, it has lost its natural habitats, it has lost most of its biodiversity and it can no longer support wildlife. Hunters and tourism operators should and must be on the same side – to protect natural habitats, biodiversity and wildlife. they are natural allies. They need to work together to ensure that land under wildlife derives the greatest possible returns, through a multitude of income earning activities. And with a little planning and close collaboration it is easy to optimise all aspects of wildlife management and use – both consumptive and non- consumptive – without one having a negative impact on the other. It is also the vital task and duty of tourism operators and guides to educate visitors from urban industrialised countries about conservation in this part of the world. Visitors need to understand what drives conservation, the role of incentives, markets and what is meant by sustainable management. e tourism sector should not skirt around the uncomfortable discussion about hunting, but face it head-on and explain its importance for conservation.

If we look for a moment at the conservation trajectory of a country such as the United Kingdom (an urban industrialised example) during its agrarian and industrial development, the indigenous wildlife at that time had no value. us it lost the elk, bear, wolf, lynx, beaver and sea eagle – essentially its most charismatic and important species. While small-scale attempts to reintroduce a few of the less threatening species are underway, it is unlikely that the bear and wolf will ever be reintroduced into the wild. And yet that country and others like it, with poor conservation track records, are keen to influence how Namibia should manage its wildlife.

Their own farmers are not prepared to live with wolves, but many of their politicians and conservation agencies, both public and non-governmental, expect Namibian farmers to live with elephant, hippo, buffalo, lion, leopard, hyena, crocodile and many other wildlife species which from a human-wildlife conflict perspective are far more problematic than a wolf. And they try to remove the very tools available to conservation to keep these animals on the land – the tools of economics, markets and sustainable use, to create value for these animals within a well-regulated, sustainably managed wildlife landscape.



Article origin:  Namibian Chamber of Environment.  ’Article Link’





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Open Letter to the Chinese Ambassador to Namibia: Wildlife Crimes

DEAR friends and colleagues,

At about 14h30 on 21 December 2016, this letter was delivered to the Chinese embassy in Windhoek by the Namibian Chamber of Environment, on behalf of 40 Namibian environmental organisations.

Namibia's citizens and environmental organisations are outraged by the ongoing commercial wildlife and ecological crimes committed by Chinese nationals in Namibia. We are equally frustrated by the apparent lack of action being taken by the Chinese embassy in Namibia and the Chinese state to put a stop to the unlawful actions of their nationals. Quiet, behind-the-scenes diplomacy has failed to have any discernible impact.

While we deplore xenophobic attitudes and the profiling of people, too many Chinese nationals have abused Namibia's environmental laws and values, and this is causing growing resentment and anger amongst Namibians. Before the arrival of Chinese nationals in Namibia, commercial wildlife crimes were extremely uncommon. By their criminal actions, some Chinese nationals have drawn attention to themselves and their nationality through their blatant disregard of Namibia's legal and environmental values.

Namibia's environmental non-governmental community, therefore, decided to send this open letter to the Chinese ambassador to Namibia, explaining the extent of the problem, and expressing our concern and outrage. We also want the Namibian nation to be aware of this action, and for our friends and colleagues around the world to understand the situation that we are facing.

We believe that this is not simply individual Chinese nationals working independently, but syndicates linked to international organised crime. We also find it hard not to believe that some of these actions are not taking place with tacit state approval, or taking place with knowing state indifference.

For these reasons, we have shared this letter widely with local and international media houses, with diplomatic missions to Namibia, with international environmental organisations around the world, with ministers and permanent secretaries in key Namibian ministries, and via social media. Please help by forwarding the attached letter to your networks and via social media.

Our open letter has come at the perfect time – when the Chinese are objecting to our senior officials – minister of environment and tourism and inspector general of the Namibian Police – about clamping down on Chinese involvement in poaching.

It is unbelievable that the Chinese embassy takes sides against the people who are trying to stop the poaching, rather than against the poachers, and those creating local economic incentives for commercial poaching. I think that this pretty much says it all in terms of China's position on environmental issues.

Chris Brown


Article origin:  The Namibian.  ’Article Link’





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Would a legal market for rhino horn deter poachers?

It's now legal to trade rhino horn in South Africa after the highest court in the land lifted an eight year ban on a technicality.

The domestic sale of rhino horn will be allowed to resume, but only with a permit and only within the country's borders.
There's not traditionally been much demand for rhino horn in South Africa, so there a question mark over just how much of an impact the ruling will have.
The biggest market for rhino horn is Asia, and an international treaty still prevents its export and sale to many countries.

But some big conservation organisations, such as the WWF, believe it will encourage the illegal trade, which causes the poaching of more than a thousand South African rhinos a year.


To trade or not to trade?
The Private Rhino Owners' Association, which backed the court challenge against the 2009 moratorium on the rhino horn trade, is delighted and believes it will help conserve the protected species.
To trade or not to trade? - be it rhino horn or ivory - is one of the big questions which divides the world's conservationists and wildlife protection groups.
And it's complicated.
"We as the private sector bought and own a third of the national rhino herd - more than 6,500 black and white rhinos," said Pelham Jones from the Private Rhino Owners' Association.

"We have a huge vested interest in their conservation and have spent billions of rand protecting and managing our herd - 'sustainable utilisation' is in the constitution," he said.
And what he means is private owners want to remove and sell rhino horn to fund their conservation - and also to make profit.

Painless Process

The world's largest owner of rhinos is John Hume, who regularly 'harvests' rhino horn - cutting them off and storing them.
It's a painless process and the horns do grow back.
He has around 1,400 rhinos on his ranch in South Africa and a stockpile of perhaps five tonnes of horn.
At a market price of $90-100,000 a kilogramme he is sitting on a fortune - if he can get his produce to market - to Asia, where it is used as a medicine and to make cups and jewellery.

But even with the lifting of a ban on domestic trade, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) prevents its sale abroad.
"We will set up our own central selling organisation," said Pelham Jones, who believes commodities speculators will buy rhino horn in South Africa, and that so-called 'blood horns' - illegally poached horns - won't enter the market.
"There are a lot of unknowns here, but everything else that has been tried to prevent poaching has failed."



Blood Horns

But those opposing the trade say it will muddy the waters when trying to stop the illegal trafficking of rhino horn.
"We are concerned by the court's decision," said Dr Jo Shaw, manager of WWF South Africa's rhino programme.
"Law enforcement officials simply do not have the capacity to manage parallel legal domestic trade on top of current levels of illegal poaching and trafficking," she said.
"We worry about the resultant impacts of the laundering of so-called 'blood horns' upon our wild rhino populations."

Dr Shaw accepted the value to conservation of captive breeding, and that new sources of income were needed to protect the species, but said opening up trade was too great a risk to their dwindling numbers.
The South African government placed a moratorium on rhino horn trade in 2009 after evidence showed the legal domestic trade was leaking into the illegal international market.
But by not consulting widely enough on the issue with interested parties, it left itself open to the legal challenge which the Constitutional Court has just upheld.
The Minister for Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa, said trade would not be allowed without government approval.


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Its going to be heading for Asia

Those selling rhino horn - and those buying - will both require permits which can be audited at a later stage to ensure the horns have not been sold on.
Draft legislation from the South African government suggested some limited export of rhino horn might be allowed for "personal use" - two horns per person, per year.
But Esmond Bradley-Martin who has researched the price of ivory and rhino horn for decades, said he feared the lifting of the ban could increase corruption and the power of the cartels.
"I can't see this working in the future without improved law enforcement - there is almost no demand in South Africa, so it is going to be heading to Asia," he said.



Article origin:  By Alastair Leithead, BBC News, Africa correspondent.  ’Article Link’