'Legalising trade in rhino horn won’t save the rhino'

An animal lobby group representative said it would also damage South Africa’s tourism industry.

FILE: Members of the pro and anti-rhino trading lobbies talked to a panel of 22 experts in Boksburg on 25 March. Picture: Gerry van der Walt/WildEy

JOHANNESBURG - There are warnings that legalising the trade in rhino horn will undermine South Africa's reputation as a wildlife sanctuary.

Claire Attwood representing the British-based Charity Network for Animals on Wednesday said it would also damage South Africa's tourism industry.

Attwood is among the early participants in a two-day workshop organised by the Department of Environmental Affairs in Boksburg.

Members of the pro and anti-rhino trading lobbies talked to a panel of 22 experts who are set to recommend the position South Africa should take at next year's conference on the international trade in endangered species.

Attwood said the example of ivory showed legalising trade in a wildlife product wouldn't stop poaching.

If rhino sales are legalised, South Africa will have only three of the big five to show tourists, because if it can't save the rhino there's little chance for the elephant.