On behalf of the African Wildlife Foundation, I commend the South African government on its decision to not submit a proposal at the upcoming CITES meeting that would have proposed the legalization of rhino horn trade.
Heated discussions in the international conservation community are percolating about the legalization of trade in rhino horn, as well as trade affecting the conservation of other wildlife and plant species.
The debate to legalize rhino horn trade has deeply polarized the rhino conservation community. The key issue is whether or not legalizing horn trade could escalate demand in Asian markets. Legalizing trade lends credibility to the idea that rhino horn has medicinal value, which is not supported by credible scientific studies.
And, there is no way to predict what the unintended consequences of legalizing horn trade might mean for tiny populations of Sumatran and Javan rhinos, already teetering on the brink of extinction. Then there is the question as to whether the purpose of legalizing trade is to reduce demand or to try to meet demand.
It seems highly unlikely that a legal trade in rhino horn could meet the accelerating demand. Questions around the potential market dynamics are unclear, and the very real potential looms that legalizing horn trade could exacerbate the rhino poaching crisis.
Some experts believe that the CITES-approved one-off sale of excess elephant ivory indesigned to reduce demand, may have unintentionally sparked the current demand for ivory, contributing to the current crisis and the deaths of 30, African elephants a year.
We believe that this is important information to consider when discussing legalizing rhino horn trade. The potential of opening trade in rhino horn has brought forth a range of emotions and arguments. We recognize that the conservation challenges in Africa are enormous and complex and, as a US-based NGO, we bring a western-biased perspective.
Wildlife-based land use in Africa requires substantial funding to meet associated conservation costs. In some places ecotourism may not be feasible because political factors that deter typical tourism e.
Many countries rely on legal hunts, with permits allocated by CITES, to fund much of the rhino protection efforts in key landscapes.
There is an urgent need to explore many economic options apart from legalizing trade to protect endangered species. It also must be recognized that the challenges associated with land-use and wildlife conservation issues are real and must be seriously considered.
It is safe to say that all parties agree that we would like to see self-sustaining, viable populations of rhinos in the wild. No one wants extinction for these magnificent animals.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution that will solve the rhino poaching crisis: For now though, there is not enough information available to determine whether legalizing horn trade will exacerbate the current poaching crisis.
COP 17 discussions about rhinos. African rhinos currently face the greatest threat of their history. Over the last century, South Africa has spearheaded the recovery of the white rhino Ceratotherium simum. The white rhino is an iconic conservation success story — coordinated efforts by the South African government and committed conservationists brought the species back from fewer than 50 animals to a remarkable 19, — 21, today.
This extraordinary conservation achievement stands to see an enormous setback in the near future — many experts fear that losses to poaching could soon overtake births.
White, and black rhinos Diceros bicornis spp. Poaching also looms large as a threat to African elephants and pangolins, as well as the three remaining Asian rhino species, greater one-horned, Sumatran, and Javan rhinos.
The future needs for these other endangered species will also be discussed at the upcoming COP.
The report covers conservation and horn trade for each of the five rhino species, drawing numerous conclusions, including: Illegal horn trade has doubled since and is at its highest level in 20 years. South Africa remains the main source country for illegally traded horns. Mozambique is the primary country exporting rhino horn to consumer markets.
Viet Nam is now the main consumer country, but there is little law enforcement by its authorities. China has, however, shown more commitment in prosecution of rhino horn crimes than Viet Nam.
It is recommended that Namibia be added to this list due to its escalating poaching crisis. Of particular importance are the Asian rhino species Javan, Sumatran, and greater one-horned or Indian rhinoswhich are on a quiet path to extinction because of a lack of political will and reluctance to make difficult decisions needed for species recovery.
Global cooperation is essential for monitoring and regulating trade for critically endangered species, like rhino.California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was on the November 8, , ballot in California as an initiated state srmvision.comters referred to the initiative as the Adult Use of Marijuana srmvision.com was approved.
David Hubbard, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a key agent in Operation Crash, an investigation into U.S. involvement in the illegal rhino horn trade. And yet in the lead-up to the next big meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to be held in Cape Town in October , South Africa is expected to push hard for legalization of trade in the horns of southern white rhinos.
– A decision to legalise rhino horn trade could be interpreted as an endorsement of the erroneous belief that the horn contains medicinal properties. A rhino’s horn is made up of keratin, the same material found in human hair and nails. RTI is home to experts across the social sciences, laboratory sciences, international development sectors, and engineering disciplines—each driven by the challenge of solving complex problems and improving the lives of people around the world.
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To Save the Rhinos, Legalize the Horn Trade. The best option available is to let rhino owners harvest their horns and to offer a far more humane, sustainable product in order to compete with the black market.
Unfortunately, many animal rights and environmental groups continue to boycott and lobby against legalization efforts.