Hunting for Other Ways to Protect Rhinos

Discussion in 'News & Announcements' started by, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. FOUNDER AH Ambassador

    Oct 1, 2007
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    Hunting for Other Ways to Protect Rhinos
    by Michael Eustace

    SA HAS done a superb job of growing rhino numbers from about 100 in 1900 to 18000 today. In the rest of Africa, rhino populations have declined from 100000 in 1965 to 5000 today.

    Poachers are now focusing on SA as the main remaining reservoir.

    SA has had 100 animals poached so far this year and a further 150 shot in disguised trophy hunts. Together with Zimbabwe losses, the total for the year is likely to exceed 300 animals.

    This killing is absurd. SA can supply an equivalent amount of the horn being poached with horn collected annually from natural deaths alone.

    But we are not allowed to sell horn internationally as a result of a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) resolution passed in 1977.

    The answer to the plight of the rhino may well not be in banning trade but rather in regulated horn sales. SA could do this by establishing a central selling organisation (CSO) and selling certified horn to approved buyers.

    If demand increases as a result of the establishment of a legal trade, we have sufficient stockpiles together with horn generated from natural deaths to satisfy double the current volumes being poached for the next 10 years.

    In addition, and in order to keep the rhinos in parks in their natural horned state, the private sector could harvest horn — which regrows — from rhino on game farms and this would extend supplies to three times the current illegal market volumes. Furthermore, the CSO would control the market and could raise the price if the market was strong, and by so doing bring supply and demand into balance.

    The proceeds from the sales of, say, R400m a year will go to conservation (rather than criminals) and also fund increased anti-poaching efforts and policing of the illegal trade routes.

    This will increase the business risk of illegal traders as will the prospect of the CSO dropping prices from time to time as a strategy to damage any illegal supply routes.

    But we need Cites approval. It is too late to get rhino horn trade on to the formal agenda for their next meeting in March next year, but the issue needs to be discussed at this meeting and for member states to understand the problem and to consider supporting the probable solution.

    Kenya has an astonishing proposal on the agenda that promotes the destruction of horn stockpiles, and we need to make clear during this debate our position and the inappropriate nature of that proposal.

    Rhino protection is one of the most important conservation issues in Africa, and SA, as the main player, needs to champion it. To wait for the next meeting in 2013 before promoting change and putting in place the mechanisms for change will just accommodate increased poaching. Current trends suggest that at least 1000 animals will be poached over the next three years and it could be many more, as the rewards are enormous and the risks low. Poaching over vast areas is extremely difficult to control.

    The mere prospect of a legal trade and a powerful CSO and increased policing should reduce the risk of participation by new and more sophisticated crime syndicates. Also, the enthusiasm for Far Eastern stockpiling of horn for speculative purposes, which is a current concern and a real threat for the future, should be reduced.

    Banning horn trade over the past 30 years has clearly not been a winning strategy. A regulated trade that can satisfy the demand in a sustainable way without killing animals, and which has an in-built growth rate related to increasing populations, would seem a better plan.

    Eustace is the former head of investments at UAL Merchant Bank and Nedcor Investment Bank. He is now retired and advises national parks in various parts of Africa on a pro bono basis.

    Source: BusinessDay

  2. Calhoun

    Calhoun AH Enthusiast

    Jan 18, 2009
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    Member of:
    SCI N.E. Wisconsin Chapter - WisNRA
    ...Regulated horn sales of the Rhino may be the answer in stopping poaching in Africa. It's possible if the need is taken care of legally it could cut down on the poaching, somewhat, but I think there is too much money being made by the poachers to totally eliminate it! Harsher & more severe penalties have to be enforced, not only on the poachers but the buyers as well if we are going to curtail the problem!
    ...At that CITES convention I certainly hope that Kenya's suggestion is thrown out, as their own conservation of hunting decimated their population of animals & will certainly mean a quick death to the Rhino & all the valiant efforts made by many in the last century to restore the population will be for not!
    ..I disagree with all the money going to conservation efforts of the Rhino. If farmers are going to raise them to have their horns cut off to keep the supply & demand for Rhino horn in check they deserve to be compensated. Its no different than a farmer raising cattle or crops the bottom line is they are doing something for a living! I think this would be a great idea as I never knew that their horns would grow back.

  3. fhm3006

    fhm3006 AH Enthusiast

    Sep 22, 2009
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    Namibia / South-Africa
    Excellent piece Jerome, very interesting, sad but also informative.
    Yip, Kenya's suggestion is a no-go as far as i am concerned.:nonono:

    Yes the establishment of a CSO and harvesting of horns sounds like a viable plan - i cannot see why this will not work to the benefit of the Rhino and concervation of the species.

    Keep it up:thumb:

  4. Black Lechwe

    Black Lechwe AH Member

    May 30, 2015
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    South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia
    Very interesting to read this five years down the line and discover that Mr Eustace's predictions have come true... now, if they had just listened six years ago 3000+ rhinos would still be alive, and many more would be thriving on private properties, paying for their own protection!

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