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Do You Support Sale of Rhino Horn Stockpiles?

Once found throughout southern Africa, the southern white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum) was widely considered to be extinct by the late 19th century… Trophy hunters and traders had shot them out of existence. A small population was discovered in the Umfolozi-Hluhluwe region of Kwazulu-Natal (South Africa) in 1895. The global population increased slowly but never recovered. Another collapse to a few hundred white rhinos occurred by the 1980s. Decades of poaching, bush wars and instability within their, by then, restricted distributional range had annihilated most local populations. At the time the largest-remaining population of white rhino was still KwaZulu-Natal. Surprisingly the second largest population on earth at the time was Texas.

 

Steve Boyes
Baby black rhinoceros running past. These amazing creatures went locally extinct in the Okavango Delta in the early 1980s due to unchecked poaching for their horns. Over the decade Wilderness Safaris has re-introduced rhino to the Okavango. This will not bring back the “Okavango rhinos”, but it is a step in the right direction. (Steve Boyes)

 

Today, there are around 20,000 free-living white rhinoceros. They are classified as Near Threatened – the last-remaining non-endangered rhinoceros species. Alarmingly, this year we may lose as many as 1,000 rhinos in the Kruger National Park (South Africa) alone. Worse still, at some point in March or April this year the last of 300 rhino living in the Mozambican side of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (adjoining Kruger) was shot. Almost every week new carcasses are discovered. Even worse are the now regular discoveries of rhinos dying of shock and blood loss after waking up to find their horn removed by a chainsaw. Once again we need to react or we stand to lose free-living rhinos in Africa. Is the sale of R1 billion (or $100 million) of stockpiled rhino horn the way to react?…

 

Keith Connelly
The dwindling few. Black rhino photographed by guide Keith Connelly at Kariega, South Africa. Over 600 black and white rhinoceros have been slaughtered this year in South Africa, the last remaining stronghold of these creatures. Conservation authorities do not have the finances or manpower to effectively combat the trade driven by China and Vietnam. (Keith Connelly)

 

South Africans care about rhino conservation!

South Africa has always been at the forefront on rhino conservation from the beginning. My most important personal experience as a kid was tracking rhino near the Kruger National Park. Getting close, hiding behind a termite mound, holding my breath… I had been in the presence of a wild rhino in the African bush and this changed my life. Here in South Africa the government and general public are committed to solving this problem. The media is counting every rhino death. Charitable donations are rolling in. We have no choice. We have to do something now. Every month the total number of rhinos killed climbs even higher. Conservation authorities and private landowners are setting up anti-poaching units armed with the latest weapons and reconnaissance technology. Drones are being deployed. Interpol and customs authorities are coordinating efforts to halt the smuggling of rhino horn into important markets like Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Japan. Still, year on year, the total number of rhino deaths increases…

 

Edward Peach
Black beauties, photographed by guide Edward Peach of Ivory Tree Lodge, Pilanesberg, South Africa. “These two black rhino where coming towards me and (unfortunately) the sun was behind them. I tried to get a photo in order to document the notching in the ears for identification and research, and it turns out shooting with the sun behind the subject does have its advantages…” (Edward Peach)

 

Why can’t we stop the killing of rhinos?

Do we need more funding?

Is it politics?

Is it human rights?

Is the sale of R1 billion (or $100 million) of confiscated rhino horn the solution?

Is this not a bit like a Cape Parrot conservationist selling wild Cape Parrots to fund conservation or a swordfish conservationist selling swordfish?

Do we need wild rhinos in Africa?

Will selling $100 million of rhino horn at market price grow the market to a size that we cannot control?

 

Brendon Jennings
Rhino vs. Lion, by guide Brendon Jennings, photographed at Kariega, South Africa. The rhino asserted its dominance and chased the lion off. (Brendon Jennings)

 

To sell or not to sell?

In 2008, the Convention in Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) gave the go ahead for the legal sale of ivory stockpiles by four southern African countries to China and Japan. Within a year elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade boomed to its highest levels in history. More than 25,000 elephants were slaughtered in Africa last year. Gabon lost 11,000 forest elephants. They could be extinct in the Democratic Republic of Congo within a decade. This reads like statistics from a war zone. Are we going back to the dark days of the 1980s and 90s when hundreds of thousands of elephant and rhino were massacred. This slaughter annihilated wildlife populations throughout Africa. We have still not recovered from this uncontrolled killing.

When ivory stockpiles were sold to China and Japan, the word put out by ivory traders in China and Japan was that there was now a legal source of elephant ivory. The message brought home by customers was “elephant ivory is now legal” – an easy way to remember a confusing message. Why would the authorities sell ivory and rhino horn if it was not legel? The wholesale price per kilogram of ivory tripled from ¥4,500 to ¥15,000 between 2006 and 2011. Organized crime was attracted by the lucrative practice of laundering illegally-sourced ivory through legal markets. Their involvement has boomed. Grace Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), points out: “CITES (ivory) stockpile sales were supposed to reduce the illegal trade and the slaughter of elephants by saturating the market with legal ivory; but in fact, the exact opposite has occurred.” She went on to say: “Legal ivory imports have provided opportunities for illegal ivory to be “whitewashed” in China. The insatiable demand for ivory as an investment has tripled the wholesale price of ivory. Massive currency influxes have created a lethal combination that is decimating wild elephant populations.”

At the 178-nation CITES meeting in Bangkok this year, Burkina Faso and Kenya cited the “merciless slaughter of elephants” in support of a pledge not to sell ivory and rhino horn stockpiles before 2016. The proposal was, however, rejected due to being “legally flawed”. South Africa has since supported the sale of ivory stockpiles, thus ratifying the existing trade in rhino horn as a health tonic, aphrodisiac, and unproven cure for cancer. This stance accepts the market price for rhino horn and any mass sale would fuel a market that could grow to hundreds of millions of people if ivory and rhino horn is perceived to be legal.

 

"Rhino greeting", by guide Matthew Copham (Matthew Copham / safarifootprints.com)
“Rhino greeting”, by guide Matthew Copham (Matthew Copham / safarifootprints.com)
"The stare down" by guide Kyle de Nobrega. A precious moment caught between a white rhino and a blacksmith plover. Photographed at Lion Sands, Sabi Sands, South Africa. (Kyle de Nobrega / lionssands.com / inthestixx.com)
“The stare down” by guide Kyle de Nobrega. A precious moment caught between a white rhino and a blacksmith plover. Photographed at Lion Sands, Sabi Sands, South Africa. (Kyle de Nobrega / lionssands.com / inthestixx.com)

 

Asking rhinos to save rhinos…?

By selling rhino horn we are transferring the responsibility for funding rhino conservation to rhinos. Private landowners used to invest in rhino, but rhino horn and trophies have limited value today due to the CITES bans. Coupled with very high poaching levels, a sound past investment is now a liability and very risky. Around $100 million cannot be ignored on a continent searching for funds and investment to better manage land and natural resources. A catch-22. Dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t. Do we actually need $100 million to save rhinos in Africa? Should we allow private landowners sell “harvested” rhino horn? Can modern society not see a way to properly fund the protection of rhinos and other endangered species based on their intrinsic value? Is it a case of out of sight, out of mind? Why should we care about the welfare of a species or place that we will never see or interact with? Has the world moved on?

 

Black rhino sunset, by guide Ian Lombard. Photographed at Kwandwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Throughout most of the 20th century, the Black Rhino was the most numerous of the world's rhino species and at one stage could have numbered around 850,000. Two years ago, a subspecies, the Western black rhino, was declared extinct. The black rhino now numbers around 6000. The last stronghold of the black and white rhinoceros is South Africa, where last year 668 rhinos were killed (compared to 13 in 2007) as well as many humans in order to feed the demand for rhino horn from China and Vietnam. (Ian Lombard)
Black rhino sunset, by guide Ian Lombard. Photographed at Kwandwe, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Throughout most of the 20th century, the Black Rhino was the most numerous of the world’s rhino species and at one stage could have numbered around 850,000. Two years ago, a subspecies, the Western black rhino, was declared extinct. The black rhino now numbers around 6000. The last stronghold of the black and white rhinoceros is South Africa, where last year 668 rhinos were killed (compared to 13 in 2007) as well as many humans in order to feed the demand for rhino horn from China and Vietnam. (Ian Lombard)

 

Africa unite behind wildlife conservation!

There are less than 50 West African lion and the global population has now dipped below 30,000. Nearly a century ago there were over 200,000 lions living in the wild in Africa. Lions have vanished from over 80% of their historical range having gone extinct in 26 countries. Lion populations are not secure anywhere and only 7 countries, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have more than 1,000 lions. Lions and people do not mix. They are being hunted for trophies and persecuted by farmers. The lack of tigers has established a thriving trade in lion bones for “tiger bone wine”. West African rhino are almost extinct with less than 5 remaining. West African leopards are rarely seen. Hippopotamus, giraffe, buffalo, cheetah, wild dog, and almost everything else has disappeared from much of their historical range. We are just about to pull the trigger on our wildlife resource, following all other nations that have chosen a rapid development path with few restrictions on mining, logging and natural resource use. Like the United States through most of the 20th century, China is now the most polluted country on earth. The air and the water has become toxic, reducing the life expectancy of Chinese by over 5 years. Do we want this in Africa? Do we want to lose the main thing that makes us special, the amazing wilderness areas that still remain. Millions of tourists come to Africa to see how the world used to be. Amazing wildlife, clean air and intact ecosystems. Africa needs to be proud of our natural heritage and protect what we have left.

 

Just another day in South Africa's rhino wars. These four rhinos were killed by poachers in Lalibela Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape. The animals may have come together to defend themselves after they were darted with a tranquilizer. The owners of the animals suspect the horns were taken while the rhinos were still alive, immobilized under heavy sedation. Photo courtesy of Lalibela.
Just another day in South Africa’s rhino wars. These four rhinos were killed by poachers in Lalibela Game Reserve, in the Eastern Cape. The animals may have come together to defend themselves after they were darted with a tranquilizer. The owners of the animals suspect the horns were taken while the rhinos were still alive, immobilized under heavy sedation. Photo courtesy of Lalibela.

 

How big will the market get?

The sale of massive stockpiles of rhino horn and ivory will bring in welcome funding for wildlife conservation. We will be able to pour millions of dollars into the establishment of new conservation areas for rhino and boost law enforcement. There are, however, huge risks when flooding the market with a valuable, storable commodity like ivory and rhino horn. Syndicates buy it all and manage supply. We have no idea how big the potential market for ivory and rhino horn really is? China alone has more than 1.3 billion people. Some human population experts put China’s population at over 2 billion! How can you possibly census over 1 billion people? If we continually kickstart “legal trade” in ivory and rhino horn, we need to prepare for the day when overpowering market demand and soaring price tags accelerate current rates of elephant and rhino poaching. We could create a market that we cannot control and shoots this iconic species to extinction.

At least 50% of the funds raised from the sale of rhino horn and ivory must be invested into accreditation systems, forensic investigation, detection at borders, policing and prosecution in source countries and end markets, and education programs for schools and general public in most significant markets for products from ivory and rhino horn. We need to be very serious about how income from the sale of rhino horn is spent. We need to be ready for the reaction from the market and make sure all funds raised go directly to active conservation, anti-poaching, new protected areas, education programs for schools, and media campaigns for the general public.

 

Blue-eyed elephant, by guide Richard de Gouveia. Photographed at Sabi Sabi , Kruger Park, South Africa. There are few records of blue-eyed elephants. This seems to be an effect of partial albinism, where some residual pigmentation has remained. (sabisabi.com)
Blue-eyed elephant, by guide Richard de Gouveia. Photographed at Sabi Sabi , Kruger Park, South Africa. There are few records of blue-eyed elephants. This seems to be an effect of partial albinism, where some residual pigmentation has remained. (sabisabi.com)
Elephant tussle, by Craig Young, photographed in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Elephant tussle, by Craig Young, photographed in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Elephant slaughter at Dzanga Bai. Photograph courtesy of WWF.
Elephant slaughter at Dzanga Bai. Photograph courtesy of WWF.

 

Can we police the ivory and rhino horn trade forever?

As long as we support this trade by selling stockpiles at market prices, the next generation and the generation after them is going to have monitor and police the ivory and rhino horn trade and the associated poaching forever. As global populations reach unbelievable levels with 9 billion approaching fast there are some things that we will just have to do without. These includes rhino horn, ivory, whale blubber, bear skins, tiger bone wine, big cars, air conditioning, coal power, red meat, burgers, baths, and much else. We are in a rapidly changing world. We must now decide whether our perfect future includes free-living  rhinoceros, elephants, lions, tigers, polar bears, bison, wolves, blue whales, California condors, dugongs, and hyacinth macaws, or not? I would like to think it does…

 

Anyone there? Lone elephant photographed by Frederick van Heerden (frederick.photium.com)
Anyone there? Lone elephant photographed by Frederick van Heerden (frederick.photium.com)

Comments

  1. Matthew
    Johannesburg
    August 28, 2013, 3:15 am

    It is all great catching and murdering the poaches however what about the guys behind the poachers (The King Pins) If whereby the poacher is not shot then some these guys should come aboard and get paid a salary to fight the poaching (reverse cycle) Let them speak out and tackle the situation in moving forward with the intelligence operations to find these King Pins. If they are to capture the King pins through the information that was given by what was the poacher and now working against this illegal operation that he is to receive a bonus… Then of course the penalty towards such wrong doing in killing the Rhino’s, Elephants, Lions etc are far too lenient which therefore does not worry the poacher at the end of the day as bail is next to nothing and any poacher knowing that should he be caught for a 50 year jail sentence will probably get him thinking twice and in saying this the King Pin must sit for life! Straight and simple as it gets!!!!

  2. sonam penjor
    bhutan
    August 21, 2013, 3:04 pm

    people will never stop selling until it is over or finished in this world.

  3. Marlene Hyland
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    August 13, 2013, 2:59 pm

    NO! The sale of rhino horns and elephant tusks SHOULD NOT be made legal. Didn’t they learn from 2008’s reaction to selling the stockpiles???? Let’s learn the lesson and move on.
    The solution is cause and effect. You shoot a rhino/elephant, you get shot on the spot (as soon as you’re tracked down). Since you didn’t bother asking the rhino/elephant any questions before shooting it, we’ll extend the same courtesy to you…..!!!!
    Pretty soon, there won’t be anyone willing to be a poacher, no amount of money is worth the increased risk of near certain death.

  4. Maria Gabriella Camboni
    Italy
    July 27, 2013, 3:15 pm

    No. Selling stockpiles would only fuel demand. Moreover, at consumers’ level, how would one discriminate between legal and illegal sources?

  5. Bill Fereday
    South Africa
    July 27, 2013, 7:55 am

    NO, it wont work, it’s known that some countries would like to see rhino extinct, then the horn they have would increase in price, with Africa’s corruption the sale would be fuelled by greed.
    put up the fences between SA and Mozambique and patrol them properly including all waterways, impose the law as it should be done, not bail poachers so that they’re never seen again, those farmers wanting to sell it are just trying to feather their own pockets, by selling it you are saying, yes it does cure illness, which we know it doesn’t

  6. Abhinay Potnuru
    India
    July 18, 2013, 8:05 am

    The places where the rhinos reside are the most remote places on the planet. Obviously , mankind was able to exploit these creatures too. The images have complimented the article and i was really taken aback by the photograph of Keith Connelly. If there is a way to save them, then that mainly rests in the hands of the countries which are blessed with these animals.

  7. Nigel Goodman
    July 18, 2013, 3:47 am

    No no – destroy it all. It will stimulate a bigger market . Poaching will continue. The end buyer won’t care. It legalises ecocide -people will think IVORY is also OK. The SA Gov. is NOT doing all it can to stop poaching. Its a LIE as they watt to sell the ivory and get $100 million in the trough. Example: MOZ poachers caught – go to SA Court and get 1200 Rand bail – $ 200- and abscond.

  8. Nel Fraser
    South Africa
    July 17, 2013, 5:13 pm

    No I vehemently disagree with the sale of the stockpile of any animal parts that may be available. I really would like to know where this stockpile came from and please do not tell me that they were confiscated from poachers, because that would be an unbelieveably hard “Pill to swallow” I smell a couple of Rats here wanting to make large amounts of money and that at the expense of our beautiful animals. Disgusting.,

  9. Danny Bigsmile
    London
    July 17, 2013, 7:35 am

    No, No, NO. This would be utter insanity. The only place rhino horn & elephant tusk belongs is on those animals.
    Governments MUST send the message & re-enforce it with the full weight of the law that NO trade should be legalised EVER! It must focus all it’s attention on re-education all the way down the chain. Asian demand seems insatiable and this will only serve to give it the green light. The animal was tortured so whether the stockpile was seized by government or otherwise it remains exactly that: TORTURE!!! Protect your wonderful creatures properly, they are a legacy you should be proud of.

  10. Sheena Isobel WILSON
    Cerreto di Spoleto (PG), Italy
    July 17, 2013, 1:52 am

    Is there no end to human greed and indifference? This will only lead to more demand, more ignorance, more greed, more indifference and the total extinction of rhino! South Africa is now totally off my list of places to go for this and canned hunting!

  11. Carter & Olivia Ries
    United States
    July 16, 2013, 10:56 pm

    Absolutely not!!! We should never allow this to happen. Look what happened after the One-off sale of Ivory. More elephants are dying today after the ivory sale which was supposed to curb the market demand.

    We are doing all we can to raise awareness to the issue of Rhino poaching. Please check out what we have been working on and let us know your comments:

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2012/07/20/dear-president-zuma/

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2013/03/21/omg-founders-on-the-steve-harvey-show/

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2013/03/20/northwood-elementary-school-attempts-to-set-a-world-record-to-save-rhinos/

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2013/03/11/saving-rhinos-one-student-at-a-time/

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2013/05/21/npr-radio-interview/

    http://onemoregeneration.org/2013/05/21/elvis-has-left-the-school/

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.623678734322640.1073741873.108864552470730&type=3

  12. Dawn Scholesa
    UK
    July 16, 2013, 7:56 pm

    Absolutely NOT! I think legalising the trade will fuel demand and send the wrong message.

  13. Susan Hughes
    United States of America
    July 16, 2013, 3:43 pm

    Absolutely not should rhino parts or any other animal parts be sold. It will just encourage poachers and evil countries to continue in their greedy quest to wipe out all animal species.

  14. Ellen Mccabe
    United States
    July 16, 2013, 3:11 pm

    NO – Destroy it all!
    The second it was removed from an animal it turned from a thing of beauty on an a magnificent creature into an evil commodity.

    All these “ideas” just muddy the waters and allow loopholes to be used throughout the entire chain, from murderous poachers to government officials, and on to the demand side who fuel the vicious cycle with their blood money.
    NO!

  15. Hema Desai
    United States
    July 16, 2013, 11:08 am

    NO sale of Rhino Horns or No hunting of Elephants…PERIOD

  16. William Weintraub
    Colorado
    July 16, 2013, 10:39 am

    No, do not sell it, destroy it. If the selling of Ivory stockpiles has just caused an increase in poaching one would expect the same thing to happen. Destroy it ALL!!!!

  17. Harry Owen
    Grahamstown, South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 10:36 am

    A one-word answer in block capitals: NO!

  18. pam jacobs
    South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 9:23 am

    Selling them is not going to stop the killing of our beautiful wildlife. It wont stop the poachers at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Ruby Robin
    USA
    July 16, 2013, 9:06 am

    I don’t think it would be wise to legally start selling Rhino horns or elephant tusks. Both animals are already endangered and if they make it legal it will only encourage poachers to kill more animals to make more money. Ban it completely and enforce stricter laws against poaching and buying / selling Ivory.

  20. Megan Schofield
    South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 8:13 am

    Selling rhino horn legally is a big no no …. It would completely take out our entire rhino horn population, our government wants to sell rhino horn from rhino’s that have died of natural causes, there are many other ways people can kill rhino’s to make it look as if they died from natural causes, with holding veterinary care, supplementing their food intake with something that could kill, the list goes on. We should rather do more to protect the rhino’s.

  21. Sherebanu Kajee
    South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 8:09 am

    NO NO NO – people will still want ivory regardless – protect out rhino and elephants!

  22. Sheila Wilson
    Cape Town, South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 7:47 am

    Absolutely not! While efforts are being made to educate the end consumers of rhino horn that is is an ineffectual and useless ‘medicine’ and that it is destroying a world heritage, what message does this send that a government is going to sell it into the ‘medicine’ trade? Ridiculous and unethical!

  23. Marlene DeLisio
    Texas
    July 16, 2013, 7:36 am

    What right do humans have to slaughter and rip out the ivory leaving an elephant and rhinos to suffer in pain while they slowly die. The cruelty if their acts is so horrendous that it is beyond comphrension that this genocide is allowed to continue. Where is humanity ? How is this allowed?
    This must stop immediately ! I pray to God that someone has the power to stop this !

  24. gemma
    Australia
    July 16, 2013, 6:21 am

    NO WAY! Enough is enough is enough! What is seriously wrong with human beings today? Have they lost their heart? Their soul? Their awareness of life in all its forms? So tired of the destruction of everything beautiful + natural that is simply part of this world AND ALL FOR a BIG DOLLAR!!! May these poor money driven b.stards wake up + start to see that our existence is NOT actually about MATERIALISM of any kind! May the rest of us choose to reject any of their brutally acquired offerings!!

  25. Marion Bennett
    Australia
    July 16, 2013, 4:29 am

    No definitely not, The Chinese have got to see this so called medical miracles do not work.

  26. Andre Pienaar
    South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 4:14 am

    Yes, I fully do support trade in rhino horn. On one condition; the funds generated must be traceable directed towards the funding of rhino preservation and not state coffers and utelised for any other mysterious disappearance to either corruption or political games. These funds must be used to support breeding and protection of rhino….nothing else!

  27. Robert Belletzkie
    United States
    July 16, 2013, 2:59 am

    Why is there any question to this???? It will just help the killing of more rhinos to pur this stuff out on the market. If it sells, they will want more. Its blood money, so the money raised foe charity is no good. The African and Asian governments need to put an end to this immediately. Its mostly chinas fault. Also, with all the foreign aid my government fices to foreign countries, why not give to Africa to save the rhinos and elephants? The whole thing is completely horrible and Savage!

  28. Kenneth Larsen
    Massachusetts, USA
    July 16, 2013, 2:24 am

    NO. These great creatures are part of our common human heritage and must be protected. Anything that threatens these endangered animals cannot be justified. The trade in rhino horns must be eradicated.

  29. Kenneth Larsen
    Arlington, MA
    July 16, 2013, 2:20 am

    NO. These animals are part of our common heritage. Nothing that threatens this endangered species can be justified. The trade in rhino horns must be eradicated.

  30. Lois Olmstead
    California
    July 16, 2013, 1:53 am

    Absolutely not! The only creature who can claim legitimate need for rhino horn is the rhino! Selling rhino horn as a commodity lends credence to the medieval myth that rhino horn has medicinal value! What an abhorrent lie! All one has to do to see the consequence of such a policy is to see what has happened to the elephants since CITES allowed the sale of confiscated ivory in 2008. Elephants will be extinct within the decade. No! The market must be dried up! The cynical policies of the South African government are transparent, unethical and completely unacceptable.

  31. Jane Zimmermann
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    July 16, 2013, 1:26 am

    NO TRADE! The problem is market demand and while the need for aniti-poaching acitivities is not without question, we have to chop off the head of the snake – which no-one seems to have the balls to do!

  32. Laurie Pulice
    Boise, Idaho
    July 15, 2013, 9:04 pm

    Absolutely not. All stockpiles must be burned. Every last bit of it. Forget legalization, too. Hunters should be caught and jailed somehow, somewhere for many, many years.

  33. linda reid
    england
    July 15, 2013, 2:20 pm

    Absolutely not. There should be no legal trade in rhino horn. This will just drive the illegal trade.

  34. Bronwyn Howard
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 2:08 pm

    As a South African environmental writer/journalist and conservationist, I was appalled to learn that South Africa intends going ahead with this madcap plan. Demand will definitely soar and rhino poaching increased immediately the Minister made her announcement. We will certainly lose all our rhinos – and probably other wildlife too if this kind of thing is allowed to proceed.

  35. stephanie blair
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 1:56 pm

    NO selling stockpiles and NO to legal trade. There is nothing “legal” in pandering to criminal syndicates and fuelling a myth. Rhino horn has been turned into a commodity by businessmen and syndicates. The South African Government needs to make a concerted wholehearted effort to stop this crime. Once the Rhino are gone, they will be followed by Lion and Elephants. Has the SA govt thought about what would happen to tourism once we no longer have the big 5? A leading politician once said “Not On My Watch”!

  36. Sue Raw
    UK
    July 15, 2013, 1:37 pm

    No, no, no. This will only increase demand and encourage poachers and wildlife traffickers. Stockpiles will suddenly appear from nowhere and keep appearing until all our rhinos are gone. No, no, no.

  37. Twinkle
    July 15, 2013, 12:17 pm

    This is totally wrong! Humans have become so greedy that they are not even worried about their own race! They are forgetting that they threatening their own existence by killing these innocent creatures! This act has to be stopped! Awareness,education along with stringent laws and strict checks may help!

  38. Donna Shore
    Rohnert Park, California
    July 15, 2013, 11:44 am

    The sale of Rhino horns would merely justify the use and also the threat of Elephant extinction and their ivory. The killing of ELEPHANTS and RHINOS needs to be stopped and those who enact the crime should be criminally charged. Perhaps the threat of ‘an eye for an eye’ – death to the perpetrator. Now THAT would be justice!

  39. Maralize
    Pringlebay South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 11:41 am

    I am AGAINST the selling of Rhino horn

  40. Beverley Cattrall
    Melbourne Australia
    July 15, 2013, 11:22 am

    NO,NO,NO!!!

  41. Margot Stewart
    Durban South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 11:11 am

    Rhino horn has been traded illegally from South Africa for many decades (by a non-compliant wildlife industry) but human population explosion and new found affluence has resulted in an increase. However, research shows that often the end-users are being sold fake horn or a substitute.
    Instead, rhino horn is now considered a sought-after investment commodity and is being stock-piled by investment cartels. Just as with other precious commodities it is important to corner the market, control the market and market the product. Rhino horn trade is being conducted by criminal syndicates but it is being manipulated by businessmen.
    They are desperate to get as many rhino as possible into private ownership and eliminate all wild rhino so that eventually, rhino will fall under the ministry of Agriculture instead of the Environment.
    We have to prevent this and an important step would be to uplift the white rhino back onto CITES Appendix I, thereby affording it the highest protection status.

  42. Tom Tochterman at Rhino Mercy
    Snohomish, WA USA
    July 15, 2013, 11:10 am

    Legalizing international trade of any animal on the IUCN “Red List” is simply unethical on many levels and shortsighted at best. The “supply and demand” assumptions of the pro trade community, aka rhinoeconomics, are awash with market dynamics supported by known criminal syndicates and either incompetent or corrupt govevernments. The same arguments were made about “once off ivory sales” and controlled trade in diamonds to stop “blood diamond trafficking”. Both of those scenarios proved to be a failure, rhino horn trade would not be any different.

  43. etienne
    east london
    July 15, 2013, 10:12 am

    read the comments made by the largest ‘rhino farmer’ in the world. i think it was published in DIE BURGER newspaper. his suggestion is to control it and to manage it. it should be a controlled sale and regular trade. if it is a once off stock pile sale it will lead to others stocking the horns and selling it on the black market!!

  44. Rian Geldenhuys
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 9:23 am

    7 Reasons why John Hume is incorrect

    1. Using the word “ethical” without going to the trouble of substantiating that supplying bogus medicine to desperate patients is “ethical”, makes this reason rejectable at the outset.

    2. Legal trade may well increase captive rhino numbers, but will make rhino extinct in the wild.

    3. Legal trade will NOT alleviate poverty, Control and regulation, including adequate enclosure certification, will EXCLUDE the poor and widen the gap between rich and poor even further.

    4. Legal trade will NOT encourage biodiversity, because artificial lucerne feedlots, instead of NATURAL habitat is preferred by breeders

    5. Legal trade is NOT innovative – contraband trade and attempts to legalize contraband, is as old as greed itself is. Neither is it conservation-based, as lucerne feedlots are NOT pristine wild areas.

    6. Attempts at legalising trade ARE ALREADY threatening rhinos – poaching has taken on feverish proportions as thieves add to their own stockpiles in anticipation of this ill-conceived idea of trade in bogus medicine

    7. Legal trade will cause every country to want to breed rhinos too, and rhino sales will skyrocket to breeders outside of Africa. ONLY A TOTAL BAN AND BURN WILL KEEP RHINO IN AFRICA, WHERE THEY BELONG

  45. Lara Robertson
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 8:26 am

    Take their lives and not their horns.

    No Rhino needs to die…

    Right now rhinos are worth more DEAD than ALIVE.. You can change this by changing their worth… I do not think just selling the stock piles is a solutions.. TRADE BAN must be lifted.

  46. Gerrie
    Namibia
    July 15, 2013, 7:34 am

    Too many people think by signing a petition you are saving Africa wild life. Sorry reality don’t work like that. Put your’e money were your’e big mouth is. And by that i mean not an entry ticket to a national park or a few bugs to a concervation fund but real money, land an animals. I bought 4 white rhinos 3 months ago Namibia is still a save haven don’t know for how long. But one thing i am sure burn that stock piles and the price on the black market will double or tripple over night. all else failed. so yes for the sale of stock piles. today not tommorow and then work towards controlled sales by 2016. I dehorned my rhinos and hated it they just dont look right. But the risk was just to high and still is. even with small stumps. But i promise you the only people who can save them is private people not government or people that didnt spend the money to get them in the first place.

  47. Annette
    UK
    July 15, 2013, 7:15 am

    Most definitely NOT. BURN the pile, and SAVE the species.
    Do not endorse the use of this precious commodity a rhino has for its’ protection for old beliefs and medicines.
    It’s a crying shame. ~A sin against the rhino

  48. Neil van Rooyen
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 6:19 am

    I have sat and read and considered both sides of the ongoing debate and heres my five cents worth! this is a really scary place we find ourselves in as if we are not careful the Rhino could be in serious dwang, I cannot condone the selling of the stockpiles, as in my opinion is only a short term solution and once these reserves are finished then what, we are basically saying as if to a bunch of schoolkids in a candy store, go Carte Blanche once them sweets are finished kids still want more sweets. The same as our dear friends across the oceans who want cant get their rocks off properly. It would be a sign of defeat and I think will only then cause more of a ruckus. There is also the case of then where does money go to and get controlled by whom! Scary stat touching on the corruption that is rife in our beloved country. Watch this space there will be a “Rhinogate” in SA and the outcomes are going to shock all us. As in a game of chess if we make life as difficult as hell for the wallys in the field poaching our Rhino, wont we eventually get a clear message across to the kingpins! We as a nation need to stand toghether and get up off our rear ends and support our wildlife and support those already fighting this war! however on the flip side those involved also need to realise that this is not a form of making a buck, stand toghether people, stop charging a fortune to develop units that are lacking the necessary skills, proper training ect. So yes it “makes sense ” to clear and sell stockpiles but unfortunately this is not the case, will only open huge cans of worms! So my answer no, those who come into our country to supply elsewhere must get the hell out! It dosnt matter if you are black, white or Siberian you do the crime beware and those judges making the rulings in our courts get tough, grow a pair and sentence any perpotrater to life imprisonment.

  49. bill galli
    Massachusetts,USA
    July 15, 2013, 5:31 am

    I support legal trade of rhino horn to save the rhinos/ecosystems and provide much needed revenue to local peoples !! Legal trade too,will provide much need $$ for anti-poaching strategies in Africa too! Nothing else is working to stem the rhino poaching crisis in the RSA!! Legal trade of rhino horn sooner than 2016 !!

  50. Tanya Jacobsen
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 4:25 am

    John Hume’s 7 good reasons for legalising trade in rhino horn:

    First, a paragraph explaining myself: My passion is breeding rhinos and from 1 March 2011 to 29 February 2012, I bred 116 rhinos. Of these, 111 were White and 5 were Black rhino. As of today, I have 762 rhino of which 30 are Black.

    I have enough money to continue my passion for the rest of my life. My financial advisors advise me to hold on to all my rhino horn stockpiles but this would be disastrous for the rhinos. I do not need rhino horn trade legalization but the rhinos certainly do. I am convinced that unless the rhino gets horn trade legalization, this magnificent animal will go extinct.

    John Hume

    1. Legal trade will give the consumer the option of buying the product from a legal, ethical, controlled source.

    · This will play a role in hindering the Black Market

    · There will be no need for rhinos to be killed (legally or illegally) to provide the product

    · Rhinos will be worth more alive than dead

    2. Legal trade will increase rhino numbers.

    · Rhinos will once again become desirable wildlife on game farms and reserves due to the financial benefits

    · Legal trade will allow for the means to protect rhino on these farms and reserves

    · New and emergent farmers will be encouraged to breed rhino

    · If all these people are breeding rhinos, the numbers will obviously increase

    3. Legal trade will alleviate poverty

    · At present, communities are turning to poaching as it is a lucrative prospect. For every poacher that gets arrested, there are 100 more people willing to take their place.

    · If communities were taught and encouraged to breed rhino for regular horn sales, poaching incidents would drop dramatically. These communities would protect their livelihood with their lives.

    · Community-based natural resource management is a successful working concept in many Third-World and developing countries. It is time for South Africa to get on board.

    4. Legal trade will encourage biodiversity by creating habitat

    · Habitat loss and encroachment are major global issues for biodiversity.

    · Rhinos require a certain habitat to survive

    · This habitat will encourage all rhino owners and communities to create this habitat, leading to healthier ecosystems for many plant and animal species.

    5. Legal trade is an innovative and conservation-based solution to the rhino crisis

    · More arrests and heavier sentences for offenders have not helped the rhino.

    · Consumer education and awareness campaigns are extremely necessary but they take time and a mass paradigm shift in order to be effective. They have not helped the rhino.

    · Threatened or Protected Species (ToPS) regulations have been in place since 2007. They have not helped the rhino.

    · An international trade ban on rhino horn is currently in place. It has not helped the rhino.

    · Legal trade in rhino horn will satisfy the needs of consumers by supplying a sustainable, ethical product that contributes to biodiversity and habitat restoration, as well as preserving the rhino. This is the true nature of conservation.

    6. Legal trade will not threaten rhinos

    · Rhino horn can be harvested sustainably – no rhinos ever have to die to provide it and it continues to grow throughout the animal’s life.

    · Tiger bones, elephant tusks, shark fins and numerous other wildlife products require and represent the death of an animal whereas rhino horn does not.

    · People who own rhino will probably never want to kill their rhino, even in hunts, as live rhinos will be worth more than dead rhinos.

    7. Legal trade will allow us to keep rhinos in Africa, where they belong

    · Rhinos offer an economic benefit to the country and its population

    · Africa’s rhinos to the North of us have been decimated but in South Africa, we still have a chance to convince Africans that rhino are more valuable alive than dead.

    · Keeping rhinos in Africa will give us tighter control over the trade, ensuring that it is monitored and audited and that rhinos are bred under the best possible conditions.

  51. Ailsa Porter
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 3:50 am

    The trade should be outlawed and stockpiles destroyed! Our animals are being murdered for trinkets and snake oil!!

  52. Ana San V.
    España
    July 15, 2013, 2:46 am

    NO.

  53. Fanie Roux
    South Africa
    July 15, 2013, 2:37 am

    The legalisation of the trade in rhino horn will not put a stop to poaching! It will actually have the opposite effect. When the ban on trade in ivory was lifted, a market was created. This market increased the demand and as the demand increased, the poaching increased. The same happened in the abalone trade and today abalone is nearly extinct.
    The trade in rhino horn is an organised crime which generates a greater income on the black market than any other commodity you can think of, let it be cocaine, gold, diamonds or whatever. Do the pro traders really think that the criminals who head these syndicates will just sit back and watch as their income is lost due to legal trade? This will never happen! The price of rhino horn will increase and so will the poaching!
    Help us to keep our rhino wild and with their horns. Vote No to the legalisation of trade in rhino horn!

  54. SUSHMA SACHDEV
    India
    July 15, 2013, 1:01 am

    Stock piles should be burnt.Wipe out rhino horn an elephant tusks from circulation., in order to discourage the traders, Carvers, sellers.

  55. Diana Sommer
    Israel
    July 14, 2013, 6:43 pm

    Stop NOW this atrocity !

  56. henriette roux
    South Africa
    July 14, 2013, 6:06 pm

    NO, the selling of stockpiles of rhino horn must not be approved ! It will only lead to escalate the horrific poaching of rhinos ! It happened in the 80’s when the sell of ivory was approved – escalation in poaching of elephants ! IT MUST NEVER BE APPROVED ! NEVER !

  57. Joy Johnson
    United States
    July 14, 2013, 4:44 pm

    Absolutely no sale of illegal contraband. The mere fact it’s been STOCKPILED – a ploy to manipulate price – tells you people’s hearts were black at the inception. Contraband should always be destroyed. We must now insist that all rhino horn and all ivory that has been STOCKPILED be destroyed. All illegal substances “confiscated” must be destroyed. It is patently ridiculous for people and governments to stockpile, secure, and guard these illegal materials. Illegal materials are not profit centers. They are illegal. Destroy all contraband then argue for the legalization. If it’s still a good idea to legalize it, fine, but the decision should not be made based on stockpiles of illegal contraband, confiscated, or not. Anything obtained while illegal should still, and always be illegal.

  58. Marilyn C.
    USA
    July 14, 2013, 4:42 pm

    I see the need for a 10 year moratorium on the killing of the wildlife, hopefully that would lead to a giant leap for man-unkind.. Give our animals a break. Take this time to evolve a bit and conceive of a different way to view life on earth. Combating wildlife crime while also engaging in so called legal trade of wildlife parts do not make sense, does not work, and spells doom for the animals, and eventual misery and ecosystem decay and slow death for humans. Granted, we deserve it, but they don’t.

  59. Marianne du Plessis
    Johannesburg
    July 14, 2013, 4:40 pm

    NO. Burn the stockpiles. Forever-Wild. No Trade. Open letter to Minister Molewa, Dept Water and Environmental Affairs SA http://s24rc.wozaonline.co.za/Current+Campaign and update https://www.facebook.com/s24rc/posts/544642862259672

  60. Julien Crowther
    United Kingdom
    July 14, 2013, 4:39 pm

    NO!! The “value” put on the horn is just an illusion – fuelled by the criminals in Asia who stockpile it in the hope that the source will disappear entirely. There is no way that a “legal” sale of rhino horn would help to save the species – the money would find its way into the back pockets of officialdom, and the “product” itself would be stockpiled in Asia instead. BURN IT!! It’s just keratin! It’s worthless!

  61. Menaka
    Nairobi
    July 14, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Rhino horn is exactly that, RHINO horn, and not for humans to take!! Exploiting poor defenseless animals is not the way to go at all! Peace and love people, peace and love :)

  62. christa witvrouwen
    belgium
    July 14, 2013, 4:33 pm

    No to trade, ivory and horn stockpiles should be burned! Legal trade will only lead to more demand, With the sale of legal horn, illegaly acquired horn will be laundered and sold as legal, too many loopholes. And why would people pay more for the legal products if they can get it for a much lower price illegaly, what would stop the poachers. And no money will go to conservation, only the traders will profit from it. Legal trade and there will be no more rhino left in the wild, only on rhino breed farms, treated like cattle.
    If they are of no use anymore, these poor creatures will be trophy-hunted.;

    .

  63. Valerie Marcelli
    Boston, Massachusetts
    July 14, 2013, 4:27 pm

    No…………決して, asla, Mai, իհարկե ոչ, Kamwe, sekali-kali tidak, कभी नहीं, Aldrig, Jamais, ни разу, Nunca, 从来没有, ποτέ, Không Bao giờ, !!!!!!!!

  64. arana
    July 14, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Offer to sell 1% for every 15% increase in the rhino population.
    People who want it would then be supplied with some as populations increased. Managed sales tied to large increases in rhino population could offer some respite from the killing, as legal sales could become a better, (safer for the rhino) and protected way of obtaining horn.

  65. Xavier Surinyach Mateu
    July 14, 2013, 4:22 pm

    I’m firmly against any sale of rhino horn stockpiles. We know what has happened with elephants and ivory trade after some countries got the permit from CITES to sell their ivory stockpiles to China and Japan.
    Selling the rhino horn stockpiles will bost the demand.
    We can not make legal the sale of rhino horn that will be used as a medicine when we know rhino horn is not a medicine.
    We can not legalize a crime.

  66. donna
    pa.
    July 14, 2013, 10:31 am

    poachers will just want more.Down to the last one.why are people such a dumb species.

  67. Anthony
    UK
    July 14, 2013, 9:04 am

    Isn’t this the tactic that drug pushers use to create a market for themselves? Once the stockpiled horn has gone, then what, how do you supply the demand you have just fuelled? Or is this an underhand way to create a legal trade in horn (call me a cynic)?

    As always, I would look at what happened when the same thing was done with elephant ivory, look at that situation now – a one off legal trade has lead to confusion in the market place and poaching is on the increase.

    It is an unbelievably ridiculous idea. Short-termism. I can understand the need for money, but morally you have to draw the line somewhere.

  68. Geoff Reynolds
    Staffordshire UK
    July 14, 2013, 8:05 am

    I think selling the Rhino horn will increase overall demand for more horn with the Asian Market, Would flooding the world Cocaine market reduce use, No it will cause more demand. Destroy the horn and showthe world that Rhino horn has no price and you will stamp out the trade.

  69. Nigel Goodman
    Germany
    July 14, 2013, 7:37 am

    The only benefactors will be the current SA Government with $1 billion rand sloshing in their feeding trough from the sale and their friends in the rhino horn industry.

  70. Hazel Hoole
    London
    July 14, 2013, 6:43 am

    I haven’t heard/seen any confirmation from the SA government as to whether if they sell the stockpiles that that money will actually go back into rhino or general conservation. This question needs to be clarified. Regardless, I don’t believe that selling the stockpiles will help saving the rhino from very possible extinction.

  71. Decency
    Europe
    July 14, 2013, 6:38 am

    PROTECT THE SPECIES; NOT THE TRADE!
    Africa : How long will you let young men turn to poaching by dissmssing the criminal networks and impact of the commerce and its key players? Will you allow Asia to perpetuate their “cultural traditions” at the expense of those of your own nations or multinational biodiversity trade to sow irrevocable natural desolation at any costs to Africa?

    How can we trust leaderships allowing these crimnal networks to sow such horror by perpetuated inaction and silence? A minute % of humanity proffiting from the annihilation and appaling commerce of our common global natural heritage? Will you not see the magnifiscence of the mayestic wildlife and historic and natural identity you have been granted guardianship over by ancestral right until its gone?

  72. Karen Cobb
    United Kingdom
    July 14, 2013, 4:31 am

    Rhino horn should not be sold and I don’t care under what wording they use to make it right. All stockpiles should be burnt.

  73. Jakes De Wet
    South Africa
    July 14, 2013, 3:57 am

    Selling the stockpile would be desperate measures, a sign that we are loosing the fight against poaching of Rhino’s. it is another effect of the worlds selfish greed, disrespect and total collapse of any moral values, we have lost our ability to care for the earth we live on, that is suppose to sustain us, physically, intelectually and emotionally. People’s greed to snif, swallow and smoke is a result of bordum, disstatisfaction and lack of care for self and others. If you have taken time to spend in nature, look at the birds, trees, animals and take time to look in their eyes and realize there is a form of great life. Education of all visitors to SA about the situation is a starting point. High impact foto’s with basic stats..

  74. Ed Hahn
    New Jersey, South
    July 13, 2013, 6:10 pm

    The entire process is controlled by governments who see the great amounts they can raise by “legally” selling whatever “banned” stockpiles they can suddenly sell. As you stated early on – the consumer will only see that selling whatever is now legal.