Giving endangered species such as rhinos a commercial value was the only way to save them from extinction, the SA Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA) said.
SAHGCA manager Dr Herman Els said they would ask South Africa to lobby for a change in the white rhino's status at the next Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species meeting in 2013, to enable a controlled trade in rhino horn, Beeld reported on Friday.
Speaking at the organisation's annual media day in Pretoria on Thursday, Els gave several examples of how hunting had contributed to wildlife conservation in the past.
He said nature conservation had to pay for itself, as the government had more crucial priorities, such as poverty alleviation and economic development, Beeld reported.
Sustainable use of wildlife was therefore the only solution, Els said.
Meanwhile, members of the Animal Activists for Africa (AAA) gathered outside the Chinese Embassy in Pretoria on Thursday to enact the symbolic slaughter of a rhino. According to Beeld, AAA members dressed in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese clothing, called for an end to rhino poaching which, they said, was being perpetrated chiefly by citizens of those Asian countries.
Zhou Xiaomei, spokesperson for the Chinese embassy, said they were aware of the rhino poaching crisis, and that it bothered them just as much as it did South Africans.
The Environmental Affairs Department said in statement on Thursday that poachers had killed 150 rhinos so far this year.