In an effort to get to grips with the issue of permits for rhino trophy hunts being issued to large numbers of unlikely people from Asia -(More than 50% of permits to hunt rhinos recently have been issued to Vietnamese nationals, including, apparently, a number of alleged prostitutes and dancers)- the South African Government has amended the standards for the marking of rhinoceros and rhinoceros horn and for the hunting of rhinoceros for trophy hunting purposes to strengthen requirements relating to hunting.
The amended standards came into effect on 10 April 2012 and include, among others that the applicant must submit the following information to the issuing authority:
(a) Proof of membership of a hunting association in the country of usual residence of the hunting client. The hunting association must be recognized by the government of the country of residence of the hunting client; or
(b) A curriculum vitae, indicating his/her hunting experience in his/her country of usual residence; or
(c) Proof of previous experience in the hunting of any African species
The above requirements enable the issuing authorities to determine whether the applicant is a bona fide hunter. In addition to the above, the issuing authority must also consider whether the country of usual residence of the hunting client, where the rhinoceros horn and the rest of the trophy will be imported to, has adequate legislation to ensure that the rhinoceros horns and the rest of the hunting trophy will be used for the purpose as indicated on the permit.
Refuse all permits for Vietnam
The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has recommended to all Provincial Conservation Authorities, responsible for the issuance of hunting permits, to refuse all applications for white rhinoceros hunting by foreign hunters whose state of usual residence is Vietnam; until Vietnam has confirmed, in writing, that all rhino trophies exported since 2010 are still in the possession of the hunters.
The CITES Management Authority in Vietnam informed the Department and the CITES Secretariat that they are undertaking this process. A list of permits endorsed at OR Tambo has been provided to Vietnam.
No permits requested from China, Vietnam or Thailand
Since the above measures have been implemented, the number of applications for hunting has reduced and no further applications from the alleged consumer states (China, Vietnam, and Thailand) were received. Currently, all hunting applications are submitted to the Department of Environmental Affairs to verify whether the applicant has hunted a rhino within the specific calendar year.
According to the norms and standards a hunting client may only hunt one white rhinoceros within a specific calendar year. Based on the register kept by the Department, no further applications from alleged consumer countries have been received.
Source: Wildlife Extra (UK)