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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Too Cute, and Too Deadly, Rhinoceros 'Recommendations'

Published 03/07/13

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the self-professed world’s largest professional global conservation network and a forum for governments, non-governmental organizations, scientists, business and local communities to meet the challenges facing conservation.

In September 2012, IUCN members adopted many resolutions and recommendations, one of which “recognize(d) that the successful conservation of rhinos across the entire range will be best achieved via a diversity of management and economic mechanisms” and furthermore called on African countries with rhinoceroses to “maintain enabling land-use and investment policies together with support for appropriate and well-managed, sustainable, income-generating options that encourage investment in rhinos, sustainable populations and which help fund effective conservation by the private wildlife industry and communities.”

Confusing for the non-scientist? Need translation into English? To successfully bring the current rhino poaching epidemic — which is a serious crisis — under control we shouldn’t just be thinking about wildlife law enforcement, demand reduction in "consumer" countries, etc., but also the legalization and sale of rhino horn, likely to be in the same markets driving the poaching in the first place. The fact that this already has been tried in the case of elephant ivory and not only failed miserably to bring elephant poaching under control, but also further stimulated demand, seems to be lost on these "experts." What parallel universe are they living in?

Unfortunately, this recommendation was used by pro-trade advocates and some members of the IUCN Rhino Specialist Group at their side event at the current CITES meeting in Bangkok yesterday, seeking to promote the idea of a proposal to sell rhino horn. Rhinos are coming up for discussion this Friday and two more side events are also planned, one of which, entitled "Rhino Economics" and to be attended by the relevant South African minister, leaves nothing to the imagination for what agenda it might be promoting.

I dare say it’s a good thing Born Free is here to bring some reason and common sense to the otherwise confused conservation priorities and plans of a self-serving few …

Blogging off,
Will

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