UPDATE: The OSCAP rhino trade conference in Johannesburg last week resolved to act against any proposals to legalise the rhino horn trade. CNBC Africa interviewed Environmental Economist Michael’t Sas Rolfes and Colin Bell, MD of Africa’s Finest to discuss the positives and negatives of such a move. To view the video, click on the button link below: [button color=”red” size=”small” link=”http://www.cnbcafrica.com/video/?bctid=3477708983001″ target=”blank” ]CNBC Africa Video[/button] Original Article: Conference Aims to Assess Risks in the Trade of Rhino Horn. The International rhino horn conference to be held from 8-9 April, at the Onderstepoort Lapa, Onderstepoort, Pretoria, South Africa will assess and debate risks inherent in the trade of rhino horn. By Susan Barrett. In the face of a catastrophic 7,000% increase in rhino poaching since 2007, the South African government is preparing to ask the international community to approve the legalisation of rhino-horn trade. Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most contentious subjects in wildlife conservation today. Outraged South African Citizens Against Poaching (OSCAP) has taken the bold step of bringing the debate out in the open. Internationally renown wildlife trade experts, field biologists, academics, tourism experts, conservationists, and economists, will gather in Pretoria to lay the issue before the South African people. The debate is likely to get pretty intense. OSCAP is holding this conference in advance of the country’s 2014 general election so that all prospective parliamentary candidates have the opportunity to declare their position on a matter of national and international significance. The government – and some South Africans – believe that by legalising trade and exporting rhino horn to the markets of China and South East Asia, they can not only meet demand and reduce poaching but can also generate resources for rhino protection”, said Allison Thomson, Founder of OSCAP. “Opponents argue that this controversial strategy could accelerate poaching, pointing to the massive slaughter of elephants that has occurred since China was permitted to buy Southern African ivory stocks legally. I hope that this conference – and the public debate that it ignites – will assist policymakers to end any speculation about legalising rhino horn trade and prompt them to decide against submitting a proposal for trade to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which South Africa is hosting in 2016”, said Thomson. We shall see. Further details can be found at www.oscapconference.co.za. Registration can be completed at www.oscap.co.za. For more information: Allison Thomson +27 741040208 [email protected] On the subject of rhino poaching, the statistics shown in the table below (as at 14 March 2014) reflect the reality of rhino deaths from horn poaching compared to poacher arrests. A total of 2,625 dead rhinos compared to 1,061 arrests over the past 4 years and 3 months! Editor.