For the first time in five years, there have been significant strides made in the fight against rhino poaching. Annual poaching figure at under 1000 according to the Department of Environmental Affairs rhino poaching statistics.
While the number might be dropping, attacks on rhinos in national parks are on the rise.
Private Rhino Owners Association chair, Pelham Jones says the conversation around rhino poaching needs to be factual and not emotional.
There have been 100 000 poached rhinos across the African continent. Some 23 countries have lost all their rhinos.— Pelham Jones, Chairman - Private Rhino Owners Association
There are many countries including Tanzania that have less than 100 animals left. If one looks at the situation in South Africa, things are becoming alarming.— Pelham Jones, Chairman - Private Rhino Owners Association
We have lost over 6000 rhinos since the poaching Tsunami hit us in 2008 and the financial losses are absolutely staggering. We are spending over R2 billion a year nationally and provincially.— Pelham Jones, Chairman - Private Rhino Owners Association
The debate around rhino poaching has become overly politicised and stale, he adds.
But the harsh realities is that these are one of our iconic species and the debate needs to be refreshed.— Pelham Jones, Chairman - Private Rhino Owners Association
We cannot go down in history as the home of the big four instead of the home of the big five.— Pelham Jones, Chairman - Private Rhino Owners Association
The ban on rhino horn trade has created a financial strain on the industry and should be lifted, he notes.
Minister of Environmental Affairs Nomvula Mokonyane also joined in the conversation and says the department has never been anti-trade.
We know that is one of the issues that need to be resolved hence in our recent deliberations this we are looking at is to make sure that demand of the rhino horn is not at the detriment of the rhino itself.— Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister - Environmental Affairs
She adds that the department has made a submission that there will be a consideration around the lifting of the ban.
Listen to both interviews below: