Rhino horn - time to legalise the trade say researchers





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  1. #1
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    Default Rhino horn - time to legalise the trade say researchers

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21615280

    Rhino horn - time to legalise the trade say researchers

    By Matt McGrath Environment correspondent, BBC News Could harvesting horns from rhinos like these be a way of saving the species?
    Continue reading the main story


    A group of environmental researchers says that legalising the trade in rhinoceros horn is necessary to save the animals.
    Writing in Science journal, they argue that a global ban has failed to stem an "insatiable international demand".
    The authors say the market could be met by humanely shaving the horns of live rhinos.
    At present in South Africa, poachers are on average killing around two rhinos every day.
    According to the lead author of the research Dr Duan Biggs from the University of Queensland, poaching is now out of control.
    Continue reading the main story “Start Quote

    Essentially what is being created is a pseudo war with people, some from the local communities who are involved in poaching”
    Dr Duan Biggs University of Queensland
    "The current situation is failing, the longer we wait to put in place a legal trade the more rhinos we lose," he told BBC News.
    "It is an urgent issue, we must start the process of getting a legal trade evaluated and put in place soon."
    At present it is estimated that there are around 20,000 white rhinos left with the majority in South Africa and Namibia. There are also an estimated 5,000 black rhinos still alive, but the western black rhino was declared extinct in 2011.
    Shaving solution Any trade in rhino horn is prohibited under the Convention on the international trade in endangered species (Cites). Delegates from 178 countries will meet in Bangkok next week to update the 40 year old treaty.
    But according to the Science paper, the ban is actually boosting illegal poaching by constricting the supply of rhino horn and driving up the price. In 1993 a kilogramme sold for around $4,700 - In 2012 it was selling for $65,000 for the equivalent weight.
    Attempts to restrict the trade by persuading consumers of Chinese medicine that rhino horn has no therapeutic effect have also failed.
    Conservation workers remove the horn from a rhino to make them less attractive to poachers.
    In their report, the researchers argue that by humanely shaving the horns of live rhinos, enough material could be generated to meet global demand. Rhinos grow about 0.9kg of horn each year and the scientists say that the risks to the animals from horn "harvesting" are minimal.
    The researchers advocate the setting up of a central selling organisation that could DNA fingerprint the shavings and control the market. Rhino horn would be legal, cheaper and easier to obtain they say.
    But many wildlife campaigners fundamentally disagree.
    "We don't support the idea of legalised trade at this time because we just don't think it is enforceable," says Dr Colman O'Criodain, a wildlife trade policy analyst with WWF.
    "The markets where the trade would be directed, particularly Vietnam, we aren't satisfied that they have the enforcement regime in place that would prevent the laundering of wild rhino through this route."
    "We don't think it would stop the poaching crisis, we think the legal trade could make it worse," he added.
    Crocodile leads But Dr Biggs and colleagues point to the experience with crocodiles as an example of how a legalised trading regime can work for the benefit of a threatened species.
    "There has been a very successful legal trade for some time now which has more or less eradicated pressures on wild crocodile populations," he said.
    "We have strong evidence that it works and the crocodile example shows it can work in low income countries and those without a strong governance structure."
    The scientists say they don't like the idea of a legalised trade but believe it is the lesser of two evils. They also argue that because of the trade ban, conservation resources are being taken away from other actions and are being redirected to anti poaching.
    "Essentially what is being created is a pseudo war with people some from the local communities who are involved in poaching," says Dr Biggs.
    While no proposal to lift the ban is on the table at next week's Cites meeting in Bangkok, the South African government is said to be investigating the issue and says that discussions in the Thai capital will guide their position.
    Last edited by JennyB; 2013/06/09 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Content added

  2. #2
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    Catch 22....
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    Good. Stop wasting time and get on with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by OwenD View Post
    ...
    Legal trade in stockpiled horns makes money for conservation (naive?)
    Horn more readily available - price drop
    risk of poaching is high - reward is less, is it still worth it?
    Is there a price at which such advanced poaching methods are no longer profitable?
    Could you control the market value of horn with selective selling of stockpiles to keep it below such price, if it exists, but high enough to be profitable to sell off legal stockpiles?
    ...
    09-04-10, 12:52 PM

    Quote Originally Posted by OwenD View Post
    ...There is clearly a huge a lucrative market. Legalise and manage trade reassess CITES status - control the market and prices. Farm excess rhino resulting in breeding programs and higher stocking rates. The horn, as you say - grows back.

    Make them economically attractive, and people will increase their numbers. Basic economics. It has happened before with rhino.

    There is lots of literature about the pros and cons of legalising trade - I have read them and come to this conclusion. You can spend weeks reading studies on the viability of farming and market control and legalising vs. the losses to illegal trade, but one thing is clear - argue all you want you must surely agree that our current strategy is failing catastrophically.
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    Is this really a good idea? Will DNA testing be able to identify legal and illegal rhino horn if the two are processed and mixed together? I do not have the answers but hope that the experts/powers that be investigate everything before deciding and do not approve this for personal gain.


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    Ai ai ai

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    Demand will outstrip supply by thousands of horns. How many Chinese and Vietnamese are there??
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    Quote Originally Posted by plod View Post
    demand will outstrip supply by thousands of horns. How many chinese and vietnamese are there??
    +100


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    It might not be such a bad idea. They would not stop the poaching and killing. So by legalizing it the owners can afford to spent more to protect their breeding stock.
    Last edited by JLK; 2013/03/01 at 09:07 PM.
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    Why would the poachers stop poaching? they would only get less for their effort and have to make up with more poaching.
    Legalising would only break the only bit of control there is at the moment. If you are caught with horn it must be poached no clever lawyer can dispute that bit. Last Monday a Vietnamese national was caught with 17kg of rhino horn at Maputo airport, he is locked away. If the trade was legalised he would have had fake papers for all 6 horns they caught him with. Personally I think it will just create a bigger demand
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    I believe legalising would allow a whole industry to flair up to control the trade. If people like green peace gets involved we can easily set up a controlled supply chain, we can not only leave it up to government. Giving light to the trade that there is currently will give the farm owners the money to protect their rhino. Patrolling your farm will easily run into R100's of thousands a year. Harvesting rhino horn will also incentivise active breeding programs that will increase stock.

    Now that i think about it... If we process it in south africa into powder i could get a really nice income from hair cuts and nail clippings. I mean they have had everybody thinking we were eating kudu.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hbannink View Post
    Why would the poachers stop poaching? If you are caught with horn it must be poached.
    Apply RULE 3 0 3.

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    Or the Chinese and other asian governments could help out a bit by pointing out to their people that rhino horn doesn't bloody work for anything medical and is completely useless for being anything except a pointy bit on the nose of its original owner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LORRIKIE View Post
    Apply RULE 3 0 3.
    Unfortunately the time for negotiations are over and past that one and is now the domain for general and .458
    It does however leave a few loose ends

    I do not see how a new industry will solve the poaching problem, Greenpeace and WWf are already involved in trying to stop the trade and even they are powerless against the onslaught. Legalising trade will just mean more pressure on the existing stocks.

    And yes they do shoot the de horned rhino as a act of spite
    Last edited by hbannink; 2013/03/02 at 10:05 PM.
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    What you guys have to remember is that what might be an excellent solution for South Africa, with your fantastic game farm industry, is unlikely to be the right solution for Kenya or Zimbabwe, for instance. This is why this problem is so difficult.

    Remember what happened when there was a short legal sale of stockpiled ivory a few years back? There was a huge surge in elephant poaching.

    All I'll say is that anyone who thinks there is a simple answer to this is kidding themselves. This is a complex problem, and it won't be any one action that solves it. It will require international co-operation, money, good governance, and some good people on the ground. See how hard that is going to be across southern and eastern Africa?

    In the meantime, whilst everyone is working out what to do, I wish someone would send 50-100 rhinos out to America to set up a breeding programme in a place safe from poachers, just as a reserve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeAG View Post
    In the meantime, whilst everyone is working out what to do, I wish someone would send 50-100 rhinos out to America to set up a breeding programme in a place safe from poachers, just as a reserve.

    Mike
    The US has about 70 Eastern Black Rhino, 30 Southern Black Rhino and about 120 White Rhino in Species Survival Plan Zoos/Instututions.
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    Well, that's a good start. But a breeding herd or two in the wide open, almost free, would be better.
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    Owen, I heard about that as well. I understand that white and black rhino from Hluhluwe were exported in the 1970's for that specific purpose. This problem goes way back.
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    if a poacher stalks a dehorned rhino for days, only to find it dehorned, he will shoot it...
    selling the rhino horn stockpile is only going to result in a later poaching problem when the stockpiled horn is all sold out.
    getting the demand base to change their "horn" requirements / needs is going to go a long way in reducing the poaching. the less demand, the less poached animal. unfortunately there is too little political desire, on both our shores and the far east's, to put effective measures in place to reduce the poaching problem.
    as in Botswana, our military must take an active role in combating the poaching. rural villages surrounding wildlife areas must be given a greater buy-in to the wildlife. this will reduce poaching and increase the potential of whistle-blowers.
    if they can clone cells, why cant they clone rhino horn in the lab?
    the rhino horn "culture" needs to be shown up and potentially suitable and cheaper replacements put in place. just look at the global HIV/AIDS campaign - governments have climbed in on this globally and much resources have been spent to curb the epidemic. many peoples mindsets have also changed towards casual sex / HIV/AIDS.
    either that or shoot all parties involved in the trade when they are caught - user, middleman, poacher then confiscate all their belongings as this is organised crime.

    the hunger games come to mind, wouldn't it be fun to watch the hunter become the hunted?

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