Frequently Asked Questions

For assistance in understanding the terms and acronyms used in these FAQs refer to the glossary on the site.

The international trade in rhino horn has been banned since approximately 1977 by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This is an international treaty between the member states who have signed the Convention. CITES is however mainly concerned with international trade between countries. Each sovereign country is still at liberty to regulate its own domestic trade. South Africa has since 1977 permitted a regulated legal trade in rhino horn within its own domestic borders. In 2009 the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs implemented an interim ban, known as the Rhino Horn Trade Moratorium, whereby the previous permissible trade in rhino horn was temporarily suspended. This Moratorium was declared to be invalid by the High Court of South Africa in November 2015. The South African Minister of Environmental affairs applied for leave to appeal against this declaration of invalidity, but such application was refused by the High Court and by the Supreme Court of Appeal and finally by the Constitutional Court of South Africa  on the 5th of April 2017. The effect of these court orders is that the trade in rhino horn is again legally permissible within the borders of South Africa, as it was for more than 30 years prior to the Moratorium.
A legal trade will create a flow of funds to the custodians of rhino who currently are spending enormous amounts of money and resources protecting them. This will ensure that they will be able to continue to protect the rhino against poachers whose activities are intensifying.  A portion of revenue generated from legal sales will go to communities who cohabit or live close to rhino range land, thereby dissuading them from being involved in poaching, as well as to projects aimed at conserving rhino.
All horns sold via RHTA have been sampled using an approved, rigorous sampling methodology ensuring that every step of the process is linked. A DNA fingerprint for each horn has been established by the Vetinerary Genetics Lab (VGL) of the University of Pretoria – Onderstepoort and registered on their RhODIS database.  The identification and provenance of the horn is thereby established. VGL have DNA records of over 15 000 rhino and all sampled horn sent to them for DNA analysis is compared against records of poached rhino.  All horn listed by RHTA have a RhODIS DNA certificate and are validated against the RhODIS database.
If the market is 1500 horn sets per year (an average of 1118 rhino were killed per year over the last four years) then it can be supplied.  From historical records and the on-going eradication of rhinos in Africa and Asia, it appears that the demand is large, but there is no reliable data on the size of the market. The best way to determine the characteristics of a market is to engage in legal trade.
Not only will this deprive state owned and private games reserves of desperately needed funds, it will simply increase pressure on live rhinos to supply the demand. The criminal syndicates will see the destruction of stockpiles and decline of rhinos in the wild as a clear message that horns are continuing to get scarcer, so driving up prices and incentivising the syndicates to kill remaining rhinos as quickly as possible whilst there are still some left.
While it is possible that demand will increase if international trade is legalised, it could also decrease as speculators sell off their hoarded horn and horn loses its status as a store of wealth that has a steadily increasing value. The underlying demand for horn is uncertain and the best way to more reliably estimate this demand is via legal trade. Should a legal trade cause a surge in demand to the detriment of the rhino, such trade could be discontinued relatively easily.
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Sellers

You will need to register with RHTA on this website and comply with the Seller Registration Process requirements which includes signing a mandate with PROA. Once finalised you will be able to see and download Detailed Information for Sellers and the RHTA Terms and Conditions. To commence with registration you must have a valid possession permit for your horn or a standing permit for your rhino.  If you own rhino horn and don’t have a permit you are breaking the law and must contact DEA (Dept of Environmental Affairs) at 086 111 2468 for assistance.  For on overview of the rhino horn trading process go to the Trade Horn section of this site.
We are able to provide this service to all individuals and Private, Provincial and National reserves if required in the SADC region.
RHTA have been appointed by PROA (Private Rhino Owners Association) to ensure that this happens by acting in an escrow capacity.  The buyer of the horn will only be able to take delivery of the horn once all requirements have been met including full payment of the purchase price to RHTA. After the buyer has taken delivery of the horn the proceeds of the transaction, less allowable expenses and charges will be transferred by RHTA to the seller.
There are a number of requirements to be met in order to sell horn including the DNA certificate. You must establish the status of your horns in terms of these requirements which are available on the site to registered sellers. If your horns have been sampled correctly using an approved methodology and with an EMI (Environmental Management Inspector) present but have not yet been analysed by the VGL, you can apply for DNA certificates from the VGL electronically on the newly developed ‘Certificate Application Portal’ on their eRhODIS system website.  You may contact the VGL for DNA certificate enquiries at vgl@up.ac.za.
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Buyers

Any person, natural or juristic, from any country may buy rhino horn from RHTA.  South Africa is a signatory to CITES and consequently rhino horn, except under certain circumstances, may not be exported out of the country. For information about the circumstances under which horn may be exported out of South Africa, please read here. RHTA is able to assist in securely storing horn in Johannesburg, South Africa on your behalf.  Contact us at info@rhta.co.za.
In order to buy rhino horn through RHTA you must register as a buyer on this site where you will have to furnish RHTA your personal particulars and documentation required for FICA purposes.  For on overview of the rhino horn trading process go to the Trade Horn section of this site. Once registered you will be able to see and download Detailed Information for Buyers and the RHTA Terms and Conditions. In order to view horn for sale you will be required to make a deposit with RHTA, whereafter you will receive access to the restricted section of the site under Trade Horn and view rhino horn consignments for sale.
All horns sold via RHTA have been sampled using an approved, rigorous sampling methodology ensuring that every step of the process is linked. A DNA fingerprint for each horn has been established by the Vetinerary Genetics Lab (VGL) of the University of Pretoria – Onderstepoort and registered on their RhODIS database.  The identification and provenance of the horn is thereby established. VGL have DNA records of over 15 000 rhino and all sampled horn sent to them for DNA analysis is compared against records of poached rhino.  All horn listed by RHTA have a RhODIS DNA certificate and are validated against the RhODIS database. As a new owner of rhino horn you will have a DNA certificate to prove that your horn is ‘blood free’.
This facility is an online rhino horn trading desk only. Descriptions, including detailed photographs of horn for sale are available in the restricted section of the site under Trade Horn.  Registered, qualified buyers are able to view this information.  Once you have purchased a consignment of horn and have obtained all the necessary permits, prior to delivery, you may voluntarily inspect the horn to ensure that it matches the details and description of the horn you bought.
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