Southern African countries are divided on trade in both rhino horns and elephant tusks as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) gets into full swing in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, this week.
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia want the world body to allow them to sell their large ivory stockpiles, but Botswana wants restrictions to remain in place.
There are also divisions in the region on trading in rhino horn. Zimbabwean Environment Minister Oppah Muchuinguri says her country has the support of another Southern African Development Community (SADC) country.
“In this regard Zimbabwe stands in solidarity with Swaziland on its proposal to trade in Rhino horns. Zimbawe does not support the proposal to encourage the banning of ivory and rhino horns, it is our view that the banning of ivory devalues the elephants and rhinos as their tasks and horns are part and parcel of their DNA and should be respected as such.”