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The Conservation Imperative


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#41 Bugs

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 06:55 AM

@Bugs - why would you not trust any of the news coming out of Bots?  - just curious!

 

I get a lot of conflicting reports. Reports from people on the ground don't match the reports from the media. 

 

Botswana maintain that there is no poaching, yet they keep bragging about having shot some poachers. Latest story was that they shot 3 with ivory and rhino horn. So at least one rhino and elephant has been poached. 

 

I will commend them on their extraordinary efforts, but I am divided on the shoot to kill policy. Its open to abuse and raises serious human rights issues, but its all kept under wraps. 

 

If you have read the book by Clay Wilson - you will see what they do to people who are outspoken. 


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#42 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:39 AM

I did read about the 3 poachers who were shot by the BDF at the Namibian border - Yes, they were caught with ivory according to that report.  I did not read anything about Rhino horn - that area of the BDF camp at the "Wounded Buffalo" border post does not have any Rhino to begin with!


Edited by madaboutcheetah, 31 May 2015 - 07:40 AM.

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#43 madaboutcheetah

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:48 AM

http://www.ngamitime...hers-shot-dead/


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#44 Kitsafari

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 08:01 AM

@Kitsafari and @twaffle there is nothing extraordinary about a financial intervention. I am sure you know that. 

 

The whole (struggling) tourist industry depends on finances, and will thus has to charge outrageous rates to cover leases. Many tour operators have made good money from tourism, and I don't begrudge them - I encourage it. As tourism is sustainable utilisation, and is thus justifying habitat protection. 

 

Simply throwing money at the problem is not going to make it go away, that is why there s a need to meet the demand in a way the enables money to go to the right places that will in turn increase protection. 

 

I am willing to bet my life that if there was no moral dilemma, the solution would be a no brainer, and we would have been trading rhino horn many years ago, and we wouldn't be having the poaching epidemic that we have now. 

 

Thanks for the note @Bugs.

 

Unfortunately, the moral aspect will always be there whether one likes that or not. a rhino is not a mineral or a metal you find in the ground like diamond or oil. it is a sentient being, and therein lies the rub. you can't get away from the ethical or moral ingrained in a sentient being. breeding on a small scale for the sake of preventing extinction is totally different from breeding for large scale business.

 

do we want to start breeding rhinos to maximise their value like cattle or do we leave them as part of the pristine nature? the latter is a huge challenge given the population boom and encroachment, and the former means we treat rhinos like cattle. human intervention in cattle or even dogs or cats happened centuries ago, but we still have a chance to prevent domestication of the rhinos and still protect them. should we not seize that window - no matter how narrow it is - when it is still there? but it sounds like a broken record. 

 

the current ban will work if the governments are committed to protection and implementing draconian laws to protect their resources (and that includes stamping out corruption), and governments in the demand countries must be geunine in halting the supplies of illegal trade. 


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#45 douglaswise

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 08:32 AM

@egilio:

 

Thank you replying to me in post #35.  However, once again, I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick.  This possibly suggests that I'm not making myself clear.  I'll try again.  At the outset, I'd like to state that I'm not an expert on this subject and have been posting with a view to gaining more factual information.  However, I'm sure you'd accept the same lack of expertise -  if I'm correct in believing that your short years of research have mainly involved carnivores.

 

You are clearly antipathetic to the "smart trade" model propounded by Eustace and have made the reasons for your position clear in a series of posts.  I await @Bug's promised responses with interest.  I do note that, on another forum, you celebrate an announcement from the Chinese Government that it will bear down heavily on the illegal ivory trade.  I agree that this is encouraging, but one wonders how effective the Government's efforts will be. Might not its ability to profit from a legal ivory and horn trade provide the incentive and means to make its attempts to snuff out the illegal trade more likely to succeed?

 

The plus side of "smart trade" in rhino horn is that it seeks simultaneously to reduce poaching and, by keeping prices at extortionate levels, to generate sufficient funds to control both supply and demand as well as contributing hugely to other conservation projects.  Thus, if it works as well as Eustace hopes, it would be wonderful.  Whether it will prove possible however, to create effective producer and supplier cartels is a moot point.  Many of @egilio's arguments raise legitimate doubts as to practicability.

 

I raised the possibility of an alternative approach to the "smart trade" that aimed to flood the market with farmed rhino horn, thus reducing horn value and greatly increasing supply.  I was attempting to seek answers which would provide information as to how far the prices would have to fall before poaching became a smaller problem and whether, at lower prices, rhino farming would be financially viable.  It was also necessary to guesstimate at what level demand would stabilise.  @egilio suggested that demand might increase 5 to 10 fold at lower prices, but even this increase is not necessarily difficult to achieve from farmed production from a biological perspective.  It all comes down to finance - it would have to be worthwhile for farmers to produce the increased numbers necessary to match the increased demand.

 

I went on to suggest that demand was unlikely to be inelastic.  I believe it more likely that it would peak regardless of price . I also thought that, over time, demand would fall - both for jewellery and for traditional medicine, given that the first is naff and depends upon ostentatiously high value and the second will not for ever survive the influx of alternative (and effective) products.

 

I put forward the "flooding the market" approach as an alternative to the "Eustace" model in an attempt to inform the debate. I am not presently advocating it.  I acknowledge that I lack the information necessary for a decision.  Clearly, if the latter model works as Eustace hopes, it would be far more beneficial because it would generate huge funds for conservation over and above the saving of rhinos.  The "flooding" model would, at best, protect rhino without providing other conservation benefits. 



#46 douglaswise

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 09:09 AM

@Kitsafari:

 

As you will gather, your morality differs from mine.  Yours is an animal rights position, which, in my experience, is inimical to conservation.

 

You seem to regret that any animals were ever domesticated. However, evolutionary biologists would argue that the genes of the wild ancestors that we have domesticated have prospered from the alliance.  You worry about the significance of sentience.  Why?  Farmed and companion animals, certainly in developed countries, generally experience far better conditions of welfare that those experienced by their wild forebears.

 

Consider 3 categories of rhino:

1)  Unmanaged in large uncontrolled habitats - your ideal (probably mine as well) but unsustainable in most regions (poaching/human population pressure).

2)  Ranched in large, protected, but not unlimited, enclosures and able to live natural lives in association with other wild species.  Will eventually outbreed available space and lead to intra-specific aggression unless culling or translocation.

3)  Farmed.  Relatively intensively managed with separation into small groups to prevent fighting and fed well balanced rations (?faster horn growth!)  Killed before suffering the consequences of old age.

 

This debate is about expanding category 3) in the hope of stabilising (even increasing) category 1.  Is that really so morally repugnant to you?


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#47 Kitsafari

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 09:30 AM

@douglaswise I'm surprised that you say animal rights positions are "inimical" to conservation. are you saying that the Jouberts, Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas and their respected peers had blocked conservation efforts? surely not. 

 

I'm also offended that you can just assume that farmed animals are "morally repugnant to me", making assumptions when you hardly know me and when I said no such words. 

 

but i know that animal lovers are often labelled "tree huggers" a derogratory term given to animal rights people, which is a rather sad state of affairs since we are all about protecting animals from over-exploitation. sadly, it is such hard attitudes that block any compromises in conserving wildlife, and hence conservation will fail 

 

Nevertheless, I may have given you an erroneous impression. I honestly do not feel anything about domestication of some animals. this has been settled centuries even before I was conceived. it is a fact of life and it's something that you accept from the moment you are born. Rhinos however are not domesticated yet, and there is now an argument to breed them for their horns. there is still an option to leave them in the wild, should we not explore that option fully before denying them? 

 

It is funny to assume that animals are better off as farmed and companion animals. how do we know? because we judge it by human standards. are humans happy forced to abandon their indigenous ways in the forest to live in a far off settlement next to dozens of other humans? I never found a true answer to this. 

 

I struggle with this argument every day that I feed stray animals on the street. are they better off in the wild where they are free to roam wherever they want, or are they better off in a cage full of other rescued animals? 


Edited by Kitsafari, 31 May 2015 - 09:31 AM.


#48 douglaswise

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 10:43 AM

@Kitsafari:

 

If I have misunderstood your position in respect of domesticated animals, I apologise.  In fact, I possibly gained a false impression based on your observations on sentience (cattle as well as rhinos have it) and upon your statement that it was still not too late to prevent rhinos from experiencing the fate to which cattle had been subjected.

 

I do not, myself, necessarily believe that farmed and companion animals are better off than those in the wild.  I am, however, fairly au fait with animal welfare science as applied to farm animals.  If the same indicators were to be used on wild animals, they would indicate that the latter to experience considerably worse welfare.  I tend to believe that many aspects of welfare science are flawed and based on the unjustified anthropomorphic judgements of ethologists.  I judge it to be sociology for animals - a soft science invented by governments in response to pressure from animal rights groups. .

 

You ask whether humans are happy to abandon their indigenous ways in the forest.  I'm sure many would elect to stay put if they had they choice to feed themselves easily and remain in good health. Most, however, when given the choice, opt for attempting to gain developed world lifestyles.  It is not possible to have your cake and eat it.  We really can't provide famine relief and treat the diseases of indigenous peoples without creating a population explosion.  This alone renders living traditional lives for the majority an impossibility.  If you ask whether groups of people who live in total isolation and have never encountered civilisation at all are happier than we are, I wouldn't know the answer, but I'd doubt it.   



#49 Soukous

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 11:08 AM

 

 

the current ban will work if the governments are committed to protection and implementing draconian laws to protect their resources (and that includes stamping out corruption), and governments in the demand countries must be geunine in halting the supplies of illegal trade. 

 

 

Perhaps you have hit on one of the fundamental problems with the ban. In order for it to work it needs "governments that are committed to protection and implementing draconian laws"

Unfortunately, in too many African countries it is senior members of government that are facilitating the trade; protecting the poachers and smugglers and profiting from the illegal trade. Killing a lowly poacher does not impact on these kingpins at all. 

What use are new laws' draconian' or not, if the governments in question are not enforcing the laws that already exist? is there any reason to believe that new laws would be better enforced?


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#50 Towlersonsafari

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 01:20 PM

Thank you @Bugs for replying to my earlier post,but I can find no research that suggests that commercial exploitation of the species you mention as opposed to protection and education has saved those species.Where there is a market there will always
Be illegal activity.I do not for one moment doubt your passion or integrity by the way, for what it is worth, but I strongly believe your point of view is not supported by what facts there are. @Soukous your reply to @Kitsafari sums up the problem now and equally the same problem if trade was legalised. As for the sale of horn funding protection that would suggest that the price would be high enough to encourage poaching with the added difficulty that legal trade helps hide illegal trade.It is worth remembering why the ban was put in place in the first place because of the legal trades effect on rhino numbers.We all want rhino to survive as part of as natural ecosystem as possible.Protection, law enforcement and education. Surely the only answer?

#51 Bugs

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 02:47 PM

Wow - I have some catching up to do. 

 

Our view is that we should put faith in the committee of enquiry - which is a panel of 23 experts with a range of specialities. I think we can commend the government in taking this step and I know a number of the experts on the panel. They have a huge responsibility and are approaching this very seriously, they have all the information and when they make a decision, I guess we will have to accept it whatever it is. What is important is that we support the decision and should they choose to go in favour of lifting the trade ban - other members of CITES should take note of the effort made to deliberate over this subject and give credit to their motivation. 

 

Having attended the stakeholders meeting where presentations were made to the panel to motivate them either way - the results were that there were 53 presentations and 7 written - 59% were pro trade, 28% were anti trade and 13% neutral. 

 

I must say that over the three days of the seminar - I never heard a new argument from the pro or anti trade camp. Stereotypically anti-trade were made up of  donor dependant organisations who were bowing to donor responsibilities or sensitivities, and touching heavily on the moral dilemma. None owned rhino and few had any experience in wildlife management. 

 

I remember one presentation by the SPCA - where they made out that rhino were factory farmed. It was abundantly clear that they have never seen a farm with rhino on it. They showed footage of rhino in a zoo to make a point. @douglaswise you mention "intensive" farming of rhino, but it is not typical of what people would understand intensive farming to be. The rhino roam free, and I would bet that they have no idea that they are being farmed. The trick to farming rhino lies in better production - which depends on shorter inter-calving  periods. Well fed, relaxed and free roaming rhinos breed better, have stronger calves which results in fewer mortalities and extended lifespans, thus ruling out the "feedlot" perception people have of an intensive farm. I apologise, but I had to make that clear - as many people have a completely absurd idea of how rhino are farmed. Most so called rhino farms are normal game farms with rhino on them. These people have had rhinos for a number of years, and are suddenly burdened with a massive expense to keep them safe. It is unsustainable to expect these people to continue to foot the bill, and many have a plan "B" where they will move their rhino to Texas. Some have no plan "B" and will have to throw the towel in very soon. I know one farmer who is spending a million rand a month on protection alone, all from his own pocket. National Parks and reserves are pressed for cash in the first place and are only capable of picking up carcasses, and doing forensics. 


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#52 Bugs

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 02:56 PM

 

the current ban will work if the governments are committed to protection and implementing draconian laws to protect their resources (and that includes stamping out corruption), and governments in the demand countries must be geunine in halting the supplies of illegal trade. 

 

 

I wish that could be the case. But one should remember that South Africa is the victim and not the problem. CITES made the rules and expect countries to uphold them. So why has there been no action against Viet Nam and China. CITES is absolutely powerless to impose any sanction on Mozambique - its one of the poorest countries in the world. 

 

You should also remember that SA has its own problems. I would be the first to admit that they could do more, but that is not the case, and very little will change that. More donations and more money will not change the status at all - unless it goes to all rhino keepers and unless there is a way to meet the demand. 


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#53 Bugs

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:27 PM

@douglaswise - back to post #27 

 

You make point about the use of the horn. In reality; what they use it for is of little consequence. Its the fact that they are killing our rhino for the horn and that the horn seems to be worth so much to them that matters. I have to bow to Michael Eustace superior knowledge on the feeling that Vietnam is not the final destination, he has after all spent the better part of his retirement working on this.  

 

You then ask why flooding the market is not recommended - the reason is that single speculators will buy up as much as they can and then sell it back to the market at a huge profit. It may work for a while, but it gives the control back to the dealers, and once those stocks are depleted - the price may have risen rather than gone down. It may even create new markets. Most of the economists we have spoken to are not in favour of this. A sustained supply is essential. In my previous business, we have watched opposition flood the market to win shelf space and improve their market share. This is not what we want in the case of horn. 

 

Supply and demand are equal and are brought into balance with price. It may sound simplistic, but it works. Many luxury goods are sold as such, and fakes have no impact on them whatsoever. Sugarcane and timber are run by central selling organisations of sorts. 


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#54 Bugs

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 03:36 PM

 

@Bugs:

 

Thanks for the precise information.

 

It would seem that the 5000 rhinos in private hands are alone capable of generating 60%-70% of current demand annually. As you mention, other sources can eke out the rest while sufficient extra animals are bred to meet any potential shortfall.  Thus, a delay in legalising to create further product would appear to be unnecessary.

 

Don't confuse demand with numbers of rhinos poached! The number of rhinos being poached keeps increasing, the price of rhino horn keeps increasing, so clearly demand is FAR from being met currently. I bet that you can easily sell 10,000 rhino horns, still for a very good price, annually with the current demand. Legalizing trade will likely even increase the demand.

 

I believe that the big reason for the illegal rhino horn trade is its illegality. We have offered an opportunity to professional criminals and syndicates and they have taken it with both hands. The have created the market and run it like their own monopoly. Poachers are disposable pawns in their business. The are highly organised and effective. They would not be in favour of a legal trade. 

 

To think things will get worse if you legalise is forgetting that the trade already exists and as long as the criminal syndicates have no competition, others will see the same opportunity. 


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#55 Sangeeta

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 06:36 PM

At the risk of being completely repetitive, I strongly believe that one reason why there is no meeting of minds on this issue is because the two sides have completely different views on the meaning of the word 'conservation'. In lay terms:

To some, conservation is a question of maintaining or increasing the numbers of wild animals, in captivity if necessary, to ensure that said animal does not become extinct. So the notion of farming wild animals and using them 'sustainably' is a completely logical one.

To others, 'conservation' means protecting the conditions in which a wild animal can exist in its natural state in the wild, and to these people, sheer numbers mean little if an animal is being bred in captivity but the conditions for its survival in the wild are not being met.

As long as there is no agreement on this most basic question - what it is precisely that are we trying to achieve - I fear this argument will not progress. We need to agree on the purpose before we can agree on the methodolgy.

Edited by Sangeeta, 31 May 2015 - 06:37 PM.

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#56 egilio

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 07:46 PM

@egilio:

 

Thank you replying to me in post #35.  However, once again, I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick.  This possibly suggests that I'm not making myself clear.  I'll try again.  At the outset, I'd like to state that I'm not an expert on this subject and have been posting with a view to gaining more factual information.  However, I'm sure you'd accept the same lack of expertise -  if I'm correct in believing that your short years of research have mainly involved carnivores.

 

You are clearly antipathetic to the "smart trade" model propounded by Eustace and have made the reasons for your position clear in a series of posts.  I await @Bug's promised responses with interest.  I do note that, on another forum, you celebrate an announcement from the Chinese Government that it will bear down heavily on the illegal ivory trade.  I agree that this is encouraging, but one wonders how effective the Government's efforts will be. Might not its ability to profit from a legal ivory and horn trade provide the incentive and means to make its attempts to snuff out the illegal trade more likely to succeed?

 

The plus side of "smart trade" in rhino horn is that it seeks simultaneously to reduce poaching and, by keeping prices at extortionate levels, to generate sufficient funds to control both supply and demand as well as contributing hugely to other conservation projects.  Thus, if it works as well as Eustace hopes, it would be wonderful.  Whether it will prove possible however, to create effective producer and supplier cartels is a moot point.  Many of @egilio's arguments raise legitimate doubts as to practicability.

 

I raised the possibility of an alternative approach to the "smart trade" that aimed to flood the market with farmed rhino horn, thus reducing horn value and greatly increasing supply.  I was attempting to seek answers which would provide information as to how far the prices would have to fall before poaching became a smaller problem and whether, at lower prices, rhino farming would be financially viable.  It was also necessary to guesstimate at what level demand would stabilise.  @egilio suggested that demand might increase 5 to 10 fold at lower prices, but even this increase is not necessarily difficult to achieve from farmed production from a biological perspective.  It all comes down to finance - it would have to be worthwhile for farmers to produce the increased numbers necessary to match the increased demand.

 

I went on to suggest that demand was unlikely to be inelastic.  I believe it more likely that it would peak regardless of price . I also thought that, over time, demand would fall - both for jewellery and for traditional medicine, given that the first is naff and depends upon ostentatiously high value and the second will not for ever survive the influx of alternative (and effective) products.

 

I put forward the "flooding the market" approach as an alternative to the "Eustace" model in an attempt to inform the debate. I am not presently advocating it.  I acknowledge that I lack the information necessary for a decision.  Clearly, if the latter model works as Eustace hopes, it would be far more beneficial because it would generate huge funds for conservation over and above the saving of rhinos.  The "flooding" model would, at best, protect rhino without providing other conservation benefits. 

 

@douglaswise Thanks for your reply! We all are obviously passionate about this subject. Yes, in my few research years I've focused on carnivores, but my interests range widely and I've always followed the rhino debate quite closely ever since I was in Botswana in 2003 when 2 rhinos of the first relocations were poached. I experienced first hand the increase in military personnel in our field site. 

 

One thing you mentioned a few times is 'meeting the demand'. I'm skeptical if you could do that. As expressed by the skyrocketing price current demand is overwhelmingly bigger than current supply. 

Currently about 1,200 rhinos per year get poached. For now, let's focus on white rhinos. Let's say of the 1,200 about 1,000 are white rhinos. So about 5% of the population gets poached. White rhino can breed at about 12% so could potentially sustain this poaching pressure (if it doesn't increase, which isn't true as it does agree).

An average set of horns weighs about 4-5 kgs, but lets take 4 kg in this example. So about 4,000 kg of white rhino horn got poached in 2014. 

 

Now look at the numbers estimated by Bugs: 5,000 rhinos in private hands, 4,000 could be used for horn harvesting, and let's assume all of these are white rhinos. They could produce about 900 grams of horn per year per rhino. That's 3,600 kg sustainably harvested (less than what was poached in 2014!), and this could increase with about 10-12% per year if the population in private hands go well. This legal supply could be augmented with rhino horns from stocks, estimated at about 15,000 kg from the government and 4,000 from private hands. 

 

As current demand far outweighs current supply (as reflected by the price) and one wants to significantly reduce the price to reduce poaching incentives one would have to flood the market, and keep the market flooded. Even doubling the supply could only be sustained for about 5 years, after which the stocks have run out and the sustainably harvested population can't have grown to a population who could sustain it at that time, resulting in price increase again. 

Keeping the price up, won't reduce the incentives for poachers, and poaching pressure, especially on public lands, where most of rhino population resides, will remain high.

 

Haven't read the other replies yet, and got to leave now, but will come back to this topic later today. 


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#57 douglaswise

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Posted 31 May 2015 - 11:31 PM

@Bugs:

 

Thank you for your responses.  It will be interesting to discover what the expert committee of enquiry finally decides.  If it adjudges that supply and demand can be matched at the current price and that cartels of producers and purchasers can be created and work together, one would hope that the funding generated would be sufficient to impact levels of poaching.

 

@egilio:

 

I appreciate the trouble you have taken to respond.  You are more up to date than I on the rhino situation.  I was at Lewa for some time in the mid 1980s and was very peripherally involved with the establishment of the rhino sanctuary there. However, I have subsequently worked in the UK and only visited Africa on holidays.

I don't know enough either to agree or disagree with your assumption that current demand far exceeds current supply.  If your judgement is based on per kg horn price rises over time, it would be instructive to see the data and the shape of the graph.  If not, what other evidence informs your judgement?

You did say that the maintenance of high prices would not reduce incentives to poach.  Did you consider, when making that statement, that a significant proportion of profits from legal trade could directed against both poachers and purchasers of illegal stocks?

You have made clear that the "flooding the market" approach is not a goer.  I should have been able to calculate that for myself.  I stated that it would be biologically possible greatly to increase farmed rhino stocks, but signally failed to work out that it couldn't be achieved at the necessary rate.

 

@Sangeeta:

 

I think most conservationists would prefer to see wild animals in unmanaged habitats.  Next best would be mixed species natural habitats with only as much human intervention as necessary to manage those species that would otherwise become so numerous as to destroy other species or the habitats themselves.  Unfortunately, as man takes over more and more land area, wildlife gets squeezed and often pushed to marginal areas.  These anthropogenic effects necessitate increasing intervention by wild life managers.

I think that, as far as this debate is concerned, all those who have favoured rhino farming almost certainly do not see it as an end in itself, merely as a means by which the possibility of continuing survival of rhinos in the wild becomes more likely. 


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#58 egilio

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 01:29 AM

@egilio:

 

I appreciate the trouble you have taken to respond.  You are more up to date than I on the rhino situation.  I was at Lewa for some time in the mid 1980s and was very peripherally involved with the establishment of the rhino sanctuary there. However, I have subsequently worked in the UK and only visited Africa on holidays.

I don't know enough either to agree or disagree with your assumption that current demand far exceeds current supply.  If your judgement is based on per kg horn price rises over time, it would be instructive to see the data and the shape of the graph.  If not, what other evidence informs your judgement?

You did say that the maintenance of high prices would not reduce incentives to poach.  Did you consider, when making that statement, that a significant proportion of profits from legal trade could directed against both poachers and purchasers of illegal stocks?

You have made clear that the "flooding the market" approach is not a goer.  I should have been able to calculate that for myself.  I stated that it would be biologically possible greatly to increase farmed rhino stocks, but signally failed to work out that it couldn't be achieved at the necessary rate.

 

Money made with legal rhino sales flows back to the owners, which will increase the protection of their rhinos. But most rhinos, the ones on public land do not participate in the program, and thus won't receive increased protection measurements. Except, for the ones which are moved to IPZ's and are de-horned on a regular basis. 

 

 

@Sangeeta I don't mind, some species can only be saved in captivity (several Asian turtles for example, some of them discovered on Chinese food markets), other animals simply can't be kept in captivity and the wild conditions should be preserved (blue whales for example). And for yet other animals, both scenarios can work, in those cases I would hinge towards wild if populations are at certain levels, and population parameters and threats to those don't indicate a threat for the species in the near future. But if (local) exctinction in the near future is probable, I wouldn't object captive breeding programs. This scenario has been proven in the past too (Californian condors for example). For rhinos there is a large free-roaming population under intense threats (Kruger) and many small populations in private hands, also under considerable threat. Private owners are desperate to protect their possessions and seeking ways to do so, one of them being able to sell the precious horns. I very much understand their viewpoint, but I think one should also think of the larger populations which are not in private hands.   


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#59 Bugs

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 05:18 AM

@egilio perhaps you could tell me the estimated demand for a Ferrari - I am sure you will say that everyone wants one, but few can afford one - some have to settle for copies, but that doesnt affect the number of Ferraris sold. I am also sure everyone will buy a Rolex if they were affordable - but they only sell 2000 rolexe watches a year. 


There's none so blind as those who will not see.


#60 Bugs

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Posted 01 June 2015 - 05:38 AM

@Sangeeta - there are a few definitions of conservation. One of the best I heard was from Ron Thomson. He said conservation is management. When you decide that you want to conserve something or a number of things - management is essential. 

 

Lets say they have decided to conserve iSimangaliso park - they will have highlighted a number of reasons why - its to protect the sand dunes, the fisheries and the unique lake systems as well as specific animals which are endemic or very successful in the area. They will then manage the area as such, and ensure what they have set out to achieve is done. 

 

Protectionism is then part of conservation, and part of management. Dr Brian Child can be quoted in one of the clips saying that the biggest threat to conservation is habitat loss. In the case of the rhino - that is also true. Although there is plenty of raw habitat for rhino, the habitat for rhino is becoming "toxic" - in other words unsafe. It is clear that part of the solution is to move rhino to safe habitat, and it is also true that we need to continue to make rhino habitat secure. But this comes at a cost, and the donor industry are hardly helping. 

 

Fundraising from donor organisations are inefficient - if you look at the combined effort that IFAW, HSUS, HSI, Born Free and PETA do by raising $170 Million - yet only one penny in every dollar goes to sub saharan Africa. 

 

Simply put the most effective way of getting funds to the right source is for the rhino to buy its own way out of this dilemma. 


There's none so blind as those who will not see.






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