I see that this is an old thread and I have learned a substantial amount since then. I was fortunate enough go to Joburg and be part of a presentation to the committee of enquiry on this subject. I think I will start a thread of my own on what went on there.
There are a number of reasons why we are failing and the number one reason keeps coming to mind. Rhinos are worth more dead than alive.
Another point worth mentioning is that there is a trade in rhino horn already, one we have no control of and one that has the monopoly. So by having a trade ban, we have given all the business to criminals, and a sordid network of ruthless cruel invisible killers. Surely with an controlled trade model, we will have more information to work with. One should also take a look at the prohibition period in USA - and how it failed.
Much of the comparisons made with the one off ivory trade are recognised by both sides of the argument and thus noted that a system of a once off auction to two buyers had to be one of the stupidest trade models ever invented. It was designed to fail, and yet despite this there is no relation to this irresponsible sale of ivory and the increase in poaching today. The fear that has been perpetrated by the preservationist groups that its risky to legalise horn should consider how risky it is to not lift the ban. Currently all we know is that poaching is out of control, and that we are loosing the battle, so why then should we be continuing with more of the same.
One more point - there isn't a single alternative suggestion from the anti-trade lobby that cannot be applied simultaneously with a trade model.