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No Proposal for Rhino Horn's Legal Trade in South Africa

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No Proposal for Rhino Horn's Legal Trade in South Africa

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Pretoria:  The South African government said that it has not compiled a proposal regarding the legal trade of rhino horns.

"Recent media reports on the issue of possible trade in rhino horns by South Africa have been misleading and have created confusion with regards to the government's decision on the proposed trade of rhino horns," the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) said on Friday.

As international anti-trade campaigns gather momentum, it is of critical importance to emphasise that South Africa's position regarding the trade in rhino horn is being distorted by the anti-trade lobby and the media, the department said in a statement.

The statement said recent press reports and certain environmentalists misquoted Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, as saying that South Africa "did an ivory once-off sale and elephant poaching has not been a problem since", thus legalising trade in rhino horns would end rhino poaching, reported Xinhua.

"Poaching remains the biggest threat to South Africa's rhino and our successful conservation track record," said the statement. "Addressing this scourge is not simple and there is no single solution."

South Africa is planning to table a proposal for legalising trade in rhino poaching at the 17th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 2016, as an additional intervention to reduce the levels of poaching.

Since the beginning of 2014, 442 rhinos have been poached in South Africa, home to about 80 percent of the world's total rhino population.

The authorities have arrested 123 suspected poachers, the DEA said.

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