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In the 17th meeting of the CITES’ Conference of the Parties, which is due to take place in Johannesburg at the end of September, the Kingdom of Swaziland will put forward a proposal to alter existing laws concerning the country’s white rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) population.

More specifically, the proposal is, “to permit a limited and regulated trade in white rhino horn that has been collected in the past from natural deaths, or recovered from poached Swazi rhino, as well as horn to be harvested in a non-lethal way from a limited number of white rhino in the future in Swaziland.”

This comes in the wake of a recent announcement by South Africa that the country will not be putting forward a proposal to legalise the international trade in rhino horn at the CITES conference.


According to the proposal, Swaziland intends, “to sell existing stocks of some 330kg to a small number of licensed retailers in the Far East, and also to sell harvested horn at the rate of 20kg p.a. to those retailers.

The proposal says that, “The proceeds from the sale of stocks will raise approximately US$9.9 million at a wholesale price of US$30,000 per kg. That amount will be placed in an endowment fund to yield approximately US$600,000 p.a. In addition, the proceeds of the annual sale of 20kg will raise a further US$600,000 p.a. bringing total recurrent annual revenue from horn to US$1.2 million. Rhino horn regrows after cropping and the annual sales of 20kg can be sourced from sustainable non-lethal harvesting of horn. Swaziland’s two rhino parks Hlane Royal National Park and Mkhaya Game Reserve as well as the Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, where white rhino are likely to be placed, cover an area of 37,500 hectares. These parks have a total population of 73 white rhino.”

The proposal goes on to say that, “Proceeds from the sale of horn will greatly ease financial pressure at a time when Swaziland’s rhino parks are struggling with the recent surge in rhino protection costs, particularly escalating security requirements to protect the country’s rhino populations against the onslaught of criminal poaching syndicates. It will also enable the remuneration of park employees to be improved, which is overdue particularly for the game rangers, who serve far beyond the call of duty to protect the country’s rhinos against ever increasing dangers. Proceeds will also be used to fund much needed additional infrastructure and equipment, and to cover supplementary food during periods of drought. Swaziland is currently enduring the worst drought in living memory. Proceeds will also be used to provide for sustainable and long-term developments, all of which will ultimately benefit neighbouring communities and nature conservation initiatives.”

Read the full proposal here.

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