I visited a game reserve in South Africa last year where I learned about the Rhino poaching problem. This then influenced me to do my dissertation on the rhino horn trade ban.
I basically found that a lot of the public were uneducated on the subject with most people thinking rhino horn is ivory! Which shows how even in the UK there is a need for education of how serious and important this subject is!
So I thought I would add my own opinion and stuff I’ve learnt!
Rhinos are one of the world’s most endangered large mammals, the Rhino populations are rapidly declining due to poaching for their horn, at current rates of decline the rhino population could become extinct in the next 20 years!!!
My study showed that the majority of the respondents disagree with legalising the trade of rhino horn, however these respondents had shown little correct knowledge about the rhinos current conservation status and the negative affect the ban has had on the Rhino population.
The Trade Ban
The trade ban was created by CITES in 1977, in order to reduce the poaching.
The ban has failed for a number of reasons, mostly because of the increasing of poaching since the ban took place. The ban has made rhino horn rare as there is less of it, which will therefore increase the price of the horn (want what they can’t have effect).
Legalising The Trade Of Rhino Horn?
There is significant debate in the literature over whether or not to legalise the trade in rhino horn as poaching continues to increase, in my opinion serious action is needed in order to educate the public to raise awareness of the matter.
This subject is quite a difficult one to discuss as there is so much debate and difference in opinions of what will and won’t work.
From just my experience and reading up different literature, I feel that conservationist should be able to sell their rhinos horn in order to make money to protect them from being poached (More staff, better fencing, better monitoring equipment etc!) with also reducing the demand.
The conservationists risk their own lives everyday trying to stop rhinos from going extinct which is why I have so much respect for them!
It is said that rhinos can be farmed by conservationist by de-horning them humanely without harm to the rhino (as they remove the rhino horn anyway to reduce poaching, but have to store the horn in a safe which puts them at risk!).
Legalising the trade will only work if the demand does not increase to a dangerous level so strategies would need to be put in place to avoid this.
Fact 1: Rhino horn is made from Keratin (Nails and hair!) Which is similar to a horses hoof! Not Ivory (that is elephants and another story)
Fact 2: Rhino horn is used for Traditional Asian medicines even though it has been proven to have no medical value (you might as well eat your own nails and hair!!)
Fact 3: Rhino horn can be worth up to £50,000 PER KG and can be worth more than diamonds!!!
Fact 4: Unlike elephants ivory, Rhino horn grows back when cut!
Fact 5: Rhinoceros means “horn nose”!
So that’s a brief discussion of my opinion! if you do find the subject interesting leave a comment! 🙂