South Africa may push to end a global ban on the rhino trade. As Hayley Plattt reports, they want to turn the trade in horns into a lucrative legal business.
It may look unpleasant but humane horn removal could save this rhino's life. The procedure is being carried out by a private rhino owner. It's painless and the horn grows back. White rhinos are increasingly being killed for their horns - a record 1,305 were slaughtered by poachers in Africa last year. They're sold illegally for use in Chinese medicine. And have an estimated street value of $65,000 a kilo. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRIVATE RHINO OWNER, JOHN HUME, SAYING: "We are losing still, everyday more than three, we are losing the war. We have to change our tactics if we are going to expect to win the war." Hume thinks farming rhino horns could prevent the animals becoming extinct. He also estimates the industry could be worth $2 billion. (SOUNDBITE)(English) PRIVATE RHINO OWNER, JOHN HUME, SAYING: "I still firmly believe that it's not the demand that is killing our rhinos, it's the way we supply that demand." But he has plenty of critics to convince. Animal welfare organisations say legalising the trade would just encourage more poaching - criminal gangs would instead launder 'dirty' horns in clean markets. A decision on whether to even try to get the sales ban lifted will be decided by South Africa's government later this month. In the meantime rhinos remain critically endangered.