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 renowned wildlife trade experts, field biologists, academics, tourism experts, conservationists, and economists will gather in Pretoria on April 8 – 9 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”.

For more details on the conference, click here.

Registration can be completed here.

Image credit: Thinkstock