South Africa’s High Court has lifted a ban on the local trade in rhino horn imposed by the government in 2009 after finding that the state had not followed the process of public participation before imposing the moratorium, media reported on Thursday.
The ruling came after an application by two of South Africa’s largest rhino farmers who wanted to overturn government’s moratorium on the domestic trade in rhino horn, the online editions of the IOL News and the Citizen said. Elsewhere in the United States, an antiques dealer was sentenced in New York to two years in prison earlier this month for smuggling objects made of rhinoceros horns from the US to China. US Attorney Preet Bharara said Linxun Liao was sentenced for trafficking rhino-horn libation cups worth $1 million. The 35-year-old Liao is a Chinese citizen who lives in Canada. He was arrested in February as part of a crackdown on trafficking objects made of rhinoceros horns. He pleaded guilty to two counts related to the smuggling.
Prosecutors say Liao purchased the libation cups from US auction houses and smuggled them into China without required permits. Trade in rhinoceros products has been regulated under an international treaty since 1976.