Thanks @Safaridude. As always your posts are measured and well balanced.
I guess that you would have to put me under that same category as reluctantly pro-trade as well.
@dikdik but you do trade in wild life for a living? I am not saying what you do is right or wrong and trading buffaloes is different for me than trading rhinos but you are not reluctantly pro-trade because you already do that for a living. This is my issue with your posts that why are you guising them in the name of conservation alone when you are able to have a one on one conversation on how much your buffaloes will be worth in 7 years. How can you say you are reluctantly pro-trade? Have you wowed to support rhino horn trade but never make a single penny out of it?
Also there has been atleast a couple of instances when we ( definitely I and atleast one other member) have explained to you in such detail the issues with Kenya and how irresponsible it is for someone of your stature to say " Kenya lost 80% of its wildlife because of hunting" and you have acknowledged those reasons and then in the very next thread and for the next 20 you have again gone back to the same quote. How are we supposed to have a discussion and progress if you keep providing careless remarks like this?
I agree there is no need to name call and there is no need to bring a wider discussion on hunting into this ( and trust me there are hunting operations that have my deepest respect but equally the majority of them donning the conservation hat sickens me because it belittles the real effort required to be a hunter-conservationist) but I dont think rhino hunting is beyond the scope of this thread.
Anything can be sustainably harvested. Anything can be sustainably hunted. The question is does that really happen more than 1 out of 10 times or even less. Harvesting Zebras is very different from harvesting rhinos with the kind of demand for their parts. So what does the legal trade do:
1.) Tells China and Vietnam and Thailand ( and by association Philippines where ivory consumption is huge ) that instead of bringing you to task for flouting every CITES -from tiger parts to bears for its bile to rhino horn, here is the reward.
2.) You have the market ready but where is the channel that the hundreds of millions of dollars that SanParks will make from the rhino horn pile it is sitting on ( no @dikdik it is not a neutral party) will go back into conserving wild rhinos. Where is the blue print of how much money will be ploughed back and what will be the target bounce back in wild population
3.) Where is the commitment that with the numbers you are talking about ( billions of dollars), individuals will not be the biggest beneficiary?
4.) Where is the proof that low income people will still not poach wild rhinos- Even if a poor poacher gets 10% of the value of just one horn, its his annual income versus the big shots who are raking in hundreds of millions
5.) Where is the proof that not one more wild rhino would be sold to a private collector and you would freeze the supply from the wild into these harvesters' collection. When in South Africa to circumvent current canned hunting laws, people rewild canned lions for a mere 30 minutes before shooting it, how will you ensure that all kinds of corrupt practices dont mushroom out of this legislation.
6.) What do you estimate the demand to be and how would even justify that 20k rhinos can meet the demand that your action of legalizing would create
7.) How would you tell us that there wont be any hoarding and false market fixing to artificially keep the price up and hence maintain a pressure on wild rhinos when your target market China and Vietnam have been officially doing this anyway and now even the sellers would have the incentive to artificially fix prices
8.) What would happen to the population of black rhinos given most of the harvested rhinos are white? What would happen to the wild population in other countries- in Kenya, in India?
9.) What impact would this have on ivory poaching and tiger poaching
I think throwing list of names on which there is limited public info ( how do I know for example that John Hume is not holding a rhino fund for many investors? and he is the legal front while there are many many vested investors?) or research paper in a world where they are published every day is a moot point. If you really want to discuss trade , then discuss the economics and the impact or admit that what South Africa wants is a one time monetisation and feels (falsely) confident that any adverse impact can be immediately reversed as long as people sitting on all that horn and waiting and waiting for so long can capitalise immediately. After all Private Equity like to harvest in years of investment and the time has now come for that.
There are two ways of handling this issue. You can say Oh we cannot make rhino horn worthless, so lets legalise the trade. This is wrong in my opinion from a cause and effect point of view- even yesterday's newspaper has some economic worth. The other is to conclusively prove that legal trade will stop the poaching and how it will positively impact wild population- you cannot do that because when anyone tries to do that they assume China and Vietnam would behave in a certain way and that the African nations would remain corruption free and that they would still need to implement law and order- all these assumptions are wrong right now in the current situation and will remain wrong even after legalising the trade.