Legalisation of the trade in rhino horn.
The legalisation of the trade in rhino horn has sparked many debates within the environmental communities, and numbers of studies have been done as to the effects this will have on rhinos, and the outcomes have been both for and against the legalisation.
This write up is about my thoughts and opinions on the subject, and has no scientific merit what so ever.
I have seen the devastation that the poaching has had on the rhino populations. Within the wild the rhinos are becoming much more scarce and with many experts estimating that white rhino will be extinct within 20 years, something drastic needs to done and fast!!! With all that we are trying to do to save the species it is not enough. We are losing the battle.
It has been made fairly clear that the demand for the horn will not stop completely. Even with the educating of the Asian citizens that the horn holds absolutely no medicinal values, they still hold true to their cultural beliefs.
Now is the legalization on rhino horn the answer to our problems?
I have visited private game farms which de-horn their rhino in order to protect them from being killed. This process does very little harm to the animals as they are tranquilised during the procedure. The horns which have been removed are stored in security vaults. There are a number of farms which are currently doing this, and I believe even the black rhino in Namibian National Parks are also being de-horned.
Therefore there is a surplus of rhino horn which is ready to be sold to an already available market and the nice thing is none of these rhinos have been killed in order to obtain the prized object. This surplus of horn does make the legalisation sound like it may be a good idea, and with an abundant market of private reserves and farmers ready to sell this may be an answer to the problem.
This, however, also brings up many questions and doubts.
With a readily available source of horn this could drop the price and fuel the demand. This demand may not be able to be met by the supply and the poaching may increase due to the high demand.
Greed and corruption within African governments is also a major factor. By staggering the supply they are able to force the price to become higher, and this will almost certainly increase the number of poaching, as the price for a horn on the black market will be far cheaper than that of a legal rhino horn.
Another problem is whether the money will be used for conservation or if it will simply yet again disappear into the back pocket of yet another greedy political official.
I believe that if the legalization of the horn will benefit conservation then I am definitely all for it, but I fear that the legalization will have a disastrous and adverse effect and could devastate the remaining rhino populations.