South Africa gives go-ahead to rhino horn auction, outraging conservationists

A member of a rhino-translocation team holds-on to the sawed-off tip of a rhino horn in Kenya.
A member of a rhino-translocation team holds-on to the sawed-off tip of a rhino horn in Kenya.PHOTO: AFP

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A South African court on Sunday (Aug 20) gave the go-ahead for an online auction of rhino horns that has outraged conservationists.

South African authorities had moved to ban the three-day auction which they feared would undermine the global ban on rhino trade, refusing to issue a permit.

But the High Court in Pretoria ruled in favour of the auction's South African organiser John Hume, who runs the world's biggest rhino farm.

His lawyer had argued that the permits had been approved but not issued by the authorities in South Africa, where a ban on domestic rhino trade was lifted three months ago.

"We lost the case. We have to hand over the permit that was issued," said environment ministry spokesman Moses Rannditsheni.

The auction is due to start at 1000 GMT on Monday.