Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
optig

The true connection between Rhino ranching and poaching

21 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

https://iwbond.org/2016/04/19/whos-actually-killing-and-making-a-killing-from-rhino/

 

This is a wonderful article because it shows just how the rhino ranchers are often in fact involved in poaching themselves. In fact  Mr. Hume even admitted one would have to smuggle the rhino horn out of the country in order to sell it and that it would be sold illegally in China and Vietnam. No wonder he even admitted the auction of rhino horn was such a failure. He now wants to have it again but what's the point? Interesting enough both  Mr. Hume and the Minister of the Environment Edna Molewa are blaming each other for the sale's flop. 

Edited by wilddog
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Please excuse the error it wasn't mine it was my secretary who made the mistake. Obviously I wanted to say poaching.

Edited by optig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear @optig whilst I largely share your sentiments, and read the article with interest, I don't think you can make the comment you did about an individual, not named in the article and with no evidence to suggest a link.you may want to re-visit that and edit it to avoid any unsupported  conjecture.

It does seem bizarre that one can hold an auction, advertising it in china and Vietnam, that is supposed to be only for domestic customers mind you.One can certainly comment on that. and I still would love to see evidence that a legal trade in rare wildlife helps the wild population. I suspect the entertaining practice of farming Bile from Sun bears does not help the wild population, nor Tiger farming in china etc etc

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was the auction advertised in China and Vietnam? By who? Any links for that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

This auction certainly was advertised in China and Vietnam. @Towlersonsafari  please note that Gideon Val Deventer, Nicolas Van Deventer, Frans Deventer, Groenewald Gang, Dawie Groenewald, Hugo Ras, Moses Bay, Harry Claassens, Peter Thormanlen, Christian Frederik Van Wyk  are all rhino horn ranchers who were all indicted for illegal traffic in rhino horn before this auction was legalized. I will write more on this subject later. 

Edited by optig
1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

@optig I think the juxta position between your first and second sentence in post 1 may be misconstrued/misinterpreted.

 

Certainly there were several people indicted in 2016 as you indicate in post 5, but Hume was not one of them. We just need to be a bit careful how we express ourselves I think

 

 

Edited by wilddog
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, optig said:

Please excuse the error it wasn't mine it was my secretary who made the mistake. Obviously I wanted to say poaching.

 

Title corrected for you @optig 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

John Hume - a true conservationist

 

Milestone #3 The Rhino Horn auction by David Cook

 

"Topping the public interest barometer – if content on social media is anything to go by- was the online auction of legal horn in August by John Hume. Administrative bungling on the part of a DEA  with a demonstrably weak appetite for compliance with the court judgement  clearing the way for the lifting of the domestic moratorium on sales of horn  , caused last minute doubts as to whether the auction  would actually take place.

Stuck between its legal obligations and the howling objections of the anti trade lobby the dept. scurried around to produce a suitable  book sized edition of official red tape designed to render the auction sales procedure as difficult as possible : while unwelcome and no doubt  problematical for Hume the auction nonetheless duly took place,  to mark the historical third milestone in the turbulent history of rhino conservation 56 years after the world acclaimed development and introduction  by the Natal Parks Board of immobilisation/translocation  techniques in 1961.

This was followed by  the second  milestone in 1971 when the then Natal Parks Board , faced with an overpopulation in iMfolozi, took the bold step of relegating  the statutory  protection of white rhino from “specially protected” status to “ protected” thus allowing the species to join the ranks of other wild animals that could be hunted commercially.  Just in case those reading this fail to grasp the significance of these milestones here are some facts.  In 1971 the rhino population on private land numbered zero :they now number 6500 ( 32 % of the South African population)  as a result of acquiring an economic value. As a result the  contribution made by this species to the expansion of biodiversity outside of formally protected areas  has no equal anywhere.

Now at milestone No. three, against the backdrop of rampant  poaching  it may be asserted that every horn sold by Hume is equivalent to the life of a wild rhino being spared . Is this not what we should be applauding instead of begrudging the fact that the owner stands to make a handsome profit from what history will surely reveal as  the step which warded off  the threat of a second threat of extinction ? And its only the beginning.

Official Govt.credibility has thus far been the biggest victim of the auction debate with  various  propaganda  concoctions  being released  to allay any fears of a battle out of control. Take for example the  Ministers  latest press release on the state of play where she tried her damndest  to put a positive spin on the truly dreadful emerging 2017 poaching stats. The bad news is somehow overshadowed by a truly  mind- boggling  set of layered,  impressive sounding  administrative mechanisms underpinning a programme named “Integrated Strategic Management Approach “ reinforced by a “ Mission Area Joint Operational Center , MAJOC for short ( shades of US military jargon)  designed to synchronise all law enforcement agencies and anti poaching programmes backed by a stack of impressive diplomatic agreements with  Far Eastern consumer countries pledging their cooperation.  None of this, however,   disguises the simple truth : South Africa has lost another 529 rhino’s ( 130 in Zululand parks alone) thus far in 2017 ( against 542 in the same 6 month period in 2016) with another 6 months still to go in the killing fields. The future looks anything but promising.

In an attempt to shore up flimsy evidence of success the Minister went further to claim that the “decrease” in  rhino poaching based on carcases found in KNP ( 234 found so far against 354 in 2016)  somehow amounts to proof of successful anti poaching interventions ! Some one should remind her that body counts must be correlated with the total target population ; there are far fewer rhino  on the ground as a result of population contraction then a year ago –quarry is much more difficult to locate and kill.  Added to the actual kill total many more have been moved  out of KNP into  IPZ’s ( Intensive Protection Zones ),  leaving fewer rhino for poachers to locate and kill in KNP. Well, as this column has stated previously the criminals will find and kill rhino no matter where you put them and it was no surprise to learn from the Minister that of 35 rhino placed in one particular “safe IPZ zone” 15  were  poached! So much for IPZ’s hailed as a real breakthrough by many so-called “experts”! From a poachers perspective  IPZ’s simply represent a nice compact target to exploit – as Ezemvelo is discovering in trying to protect some 1600 rhino concentrated in one  relatively small park – Hluhluwe/iMfolozi .

Perhaps  the Ministers disclosure that poachers also killed 30 elephant in KNP is yet further evidence of poachers  becoming frustrated at long searches for rhino.  Rather than return home empty handed they prefer to risk taking  advantage of exploiting elephant abundance. Be assured, the  act of poaching and de-tusking a downed elephant, then carrying it away  is a sight more difficult and lengthy a process  than killing and dehorning a rhino . This simply reveals that poachers believe they have the upper hand and , with stakes so high, are prepared to take their chances.

Not far behind official equivocation was the well orchestrated rash of anti auction propaganda authored by “Senior researchers”,”Environmental lawyers” , prominent animal rights conservationists – in fact a whole brace of luminaries –  recruited to provide a predictive analysis of all the terrible consequences of a legal trade in horn. Social media is their platform. Their speculative , often spurious,  logic used to predict dire outcomes to John Hume’s  auction of harvested horn simply confirms our observation that such hired guns – prevailed upon to add pompous negative gravitas to the debate on legal trade –   are, by  the very nature of their misguided prejudice against commercialising a product legally  and ethically produced by a farmer, exposing a truly lamentable degree of ignorance. But top prize for arrant stupidity came with the announcement on News24 that two rhino poaching gangs had been detected entering KNP ( but not apprehended ) on the eve of the auction, implying that here indeed was solid proof that a legal trade would not deter poaching ! Huh?

By and large the public is now wary  of hollow assurances that “ we are winning the battle”when on the contrary  we are losing it – and somewhat spectacularly at that ! Catching  mules with horns at airports, customs points or secreted in motor vehicles should not become the ultimate primary objective ; nor  catching poachers for that matter. What we should be doing is focussing on the creation of a management system which renders the need to kill wild rhino in order to supply an unstoppable demand, completely unnecessary.

For those with a IQ beyond emotional knee jerking, here are two important points:

  1. Legal trade has never been touted as a total, final solution to poaching; it is a measure to be added to the host of other anti poaching, law enforcement imperatives currently being deployed.
  2. The establishment of a legal market for legal horn , some drawn from official stockpiles but ultimately from the sustained harvesting of horn from living rhino in private hands is a long term strategy that will take at least five to ten years of sustained operation to show verifiable,  meaningful results. No question of “flooding the market” but rather one based on the known  business vagaries attending supply, demand and price.The primary objective is to depress demand  for illegal horn to below the reproduction rate of the wild South African population so that it at least keeps pace and outstrips the dramatic losses we have experienced these past ten years .

Meanwhile ,the slaughter of six rhino in Hluhluwe/iMfolozi Park in KZN during July in a single nights poaching incursion  scarcely made the headlines  nor  appeared to be greeted with much interest by a public seemingly  indifferent to ten years of depressing news.  Not even the really barbaric slaughter of two rhino on Lombardini Game Farm near Jefferies Bay in the Eastern Province  in August – the second poaching incident on the same property in two years –  seemed to stir much public reaction.  On this occasion the victims  –  two animals, one a pregnant cow  ( a third rhino survived a gunshot wound) –  had been dehorned in 2015  to deter poachers.

Even more sickening was the fact that according to the owner the poachers “ had hacked deep into the skulls of the rhino to remove the base  and the little stub of horn that had started to develop. “. A rather macabre  development but then again we at TCI have been warning over and over again that the efficiency of this  deterrent measure , along with a host of others like “demand reduction” ie. pleas to consumers in the Far East to stop buying horn and  daft strategies involving the immobilisation and  translocation of  wild rhino into” safe zones”  are , at best, simply tenuous.

With the price of horn higher than gold is it any surprise that criminals will be emboldened to find ways  to break through the circle of well meaning but, largely ineffective protective cordon. The fact is that rhino horn criminality is rapidly clawing its way up the ladder of  history to soon gain a place alongside the exploits of legendary criminals such as Al Capone during the prohibition years in the US .The  gruesome murder of a private rhino owning farmer and his wife in Limpopo province, the gunning down of an ardent poaching  gang buster Wayne Lotter in Dar–es –Salaam plus a host of confiscations  at airports and border posts here in South Africa and around the world all attest to this status. There will be blood…!

On the international front much was made in the media of the recent clamp down by the Chinese Govt. on its domestic ivory and rhino horn industry. We  await evidence that this is nothing  more than a  ploy aimed at appeasing the international animal rights movement.

Much was made of another news report –  the seizure of tons of ivory by the authorities in Hong Kong and Thailand ,  accompanied by the  usual fanfare that this “ will send a message” to the criminals that illegal trade and the poaching it sustains will “ not be tolerated”. If your hopes are buoyed by that stern threat to the ungodly  go on to read  the investigative report in the “ Independent on Saturday “( 22/07/17)  revealing the truly extraordinary criminal network used to smuggle ivory and rhino horn into China through a labyrinthine network of underworld  peasantry using age old smuggling routes and official corruption ,  oiled with  bribes and commissions,  channelling the goods over international borders .

Shades of the Mexican/USA drug trafficking – you make one breakthrough , snuff out one drug cartel and lo and behold another, more complex one takes its place. The exact logic of history  reveals that lucrative markets for scarce commodities do not simply fade away  and disappear as a result of bans,arrests , prosecutions, confiscations and hefty penalties;  instead they simply mutate to re-emerge  under a different , more cunningly designed system of circumventing officialdom because the products are in demand , are treasured and people will pay a fortune to possess them. Ultimately it is the market that rules-  not some self righteous condemnation of a criminal act .

Far better to come to grips with the situation via an industry of legitimacy than one posing invisible, self determined demands lying beyond the bounds of regulatory control. One thing you can be certain of though is that in the face of ramped- up pressure the price , and therefore the incentivised rewards for poaching in Africa at level one of the chain ( the poacher) is bound to increase. More slaughter – not less – and more human life taken in skirmishes  between poachers and anti poaching units as the stakes are raised even higher and the appeal of earning a lifetimes worth of dollars in one nights incursion  becomes even more attractive  as poverty stricken  poaching candidates take up the challenge.

The reality is that throughout  the developing world where poverty and global capitalism exist as  grossly disproportionate facets of society  one  encounters the same thing  – natural resources under rampant exploitation, inadequate  govt.structures, institutions under siege and an army  of western NGO stakeholders most of whom are engaged in some form of patronising aid programme hailed as the answer to  poverty but which more often than not spawn a sense of crippling entitlement.

When it comes to the management of wildlife resources why can’t CITES and the African Govts. – and here special mention must be made of the southern African development community( SADC) – some of whom are outspoken in their bid to adopt sustainable- use wildlife conservation policies-   take a firm stand against CITES dictating  how Africa should manage its natural resources ?  No matter how  treasured old colonial ideals  might be dressed up to appear efficient and effective, they fall well short of the cultural and socio- economic  realities of a continent in the grip of dramatic change. Shades of a never ending conflict ? Hardly. That dreaded fulcrum in the axis which has poaching  deaths  and rhino reproduction competing at opposite ends is looking to become dangerously unbalanced. Extinction in the wild is not an alarmist thought

May the next step in coming to terms with the consequences for white rhino be the lifting of the export ban . Milestone 4. The time has come."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I simply do not agree with the following  statement:  "every horn sold by Hume is equivalent to the life of a wild rhino being spared ."

 

That assumes the Rhino Horn market in Asia wants a very finite number of horns and that supplying a harvested horn makes a poacher in South Africa not take a Rhino.   That is a false notion.   It might drive down the price a tiny fraction but the poacher will still kill the same Rhino and the poached horn will still be bought.

 

I do agree that the only solution is reduced demand and therefore reduced / eliminated price of the illegal commodity. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@offshorebirder I don't know if you have read what Michael Eustace has written about smart trade? 

 

The argument for international trade in rhino horn

 

"The following article was written by Mike Eustace (17 July 2017) and published in the African Wildlife and Environment magazine of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA). It is reproduced with the author’s permission.   Mike Eustace is an investment analysts and director of Parks in Malawi and Zambia. He is a founding director of “African Parks”."

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bugs - that still does not make the following statement true CURRENTLY:   "every horn sold by Hume is equivalent to the life of a wild rhino being spared ."

 

Perhaps it might in the future if some Utopian system such as Mr. Eustace suggests is successfully implemented.   But that is a very big "if".

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@offshorebirder while we all understand the risks, we need to also recognise that continuing with the current status quo is in itself a risk. In fact its a known risk - the stats speak for themselves. 

 

My feeling is that its time for a compromise. The prohibitioists have had their chance and clearly its failing. Those who know that prohibition fails have complied with the prohibition, and are now asking that their alternative to save rhino is implimented as well as all other efforts. 

 

People who have experience in the philosophy of sustainable use and its resounding success, and the failure of prohibition need to be given a chance. Simple as that. 

 

We simply cant continue with the current ststus when the vast majority of rhino keepers are calling the lifting of the trade ban and they are dictated to by foriegn NGO's and people who are not deeply involved in the industry. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Bugs the rhino horn auction was supposed to cut the number of rhinos lost due to poaching instead the problem has only gotten worse. Need I say more?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 09/11/2017 at 6:32 PM, Bugs said:

@offshorebirder I don't know if you have read what Michael Eustace has written about smart trade? 

 

The argument for international trade in rhino horn

 

"The following article was written by Mike Eustace (17 July 2017) and published in the African Wildlife and Environment magazine of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA). It is reproduced with the author’s permission.   Mike Eustace is an investment analysts and director of Parks in Malawi and Zambia. He is a founding director of “African Parks”."

 

 

 

Michael Eustace is a retired investment banker, so clearly very much focused on money, and with no formal training in ecology, conservation, population biology, disease ecology, wildlife crime etc. He's done great work for conservation though and lots of experience from a management perspective. It's clear where he comes from, and how he comes to his conclusions. Rhinos on small private game reserves, or worse, on breeding farms, aren't part of an ecosystem, don't fullfill an ecological role, and aren't actually anything more than a different species of cattle. Even if you argue that rhino horn trade will save the species, it won't save the species as a wild animal, part of working ecosystems, as the rhinos living in those areas will still be very attractive to poachers. Private individuals won't use the money they make the horns they harvest to protect rhinos on public land. And the demand is so big that trade won't bring the price down (hence the rhinos on public land will remain attractive to poachers). I've followed this discussion for the last several years and it keeps going round and round.

 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

5 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

Rhinos on small private game reserves, or worse, on breeding farms, aren't part of an ecosystem

HUH!

 

Please also remember that National Parks benefit from the sale of horn from stockpiles and from the sale of live rhinos. If rhino become worth more alive - then they ftech better prices and that all contributes to their dire funding situation. It could be estimated that the horn currently in sotcks could be worth R22 billion thats two billion a year extra for ten years (double the current SAN Parks budget. 

 

Live white rhino horn trade scenario – why prices would rise 900%

Edited by Bugs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

aren't actually anything more than a different species of cattle

Whaaat!! 

 

So your opinion is that these rhino are hence worthelss. Are you for real?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

And the demand is so big that trade won't bring the price down (hence the rhinos on public land will remain attractive to poachers).

And your idea is to supply this demand with dead rhinos? 

If the demand were so big then how on earth do you expect Demand reduction to work. Remember - its demand reduction, not stopping the demand. So your same argument back at you. "The demand is so big that demand reduction wont bring the price down in the event of demand reduction either"

 

Anyway - the truth is that there are two types of demand - Speculative demand and consumptive demand. The actual consumptive demand is not as big as people think and its speculative demand that is driving the market - because the horn is percieved to be rare and hence valuable, and set to rise in price as perceptions change that make it rarer; hence more valuable. How do you cripple a speculative demand - you take control away from the speculators by providing a legitimate supply. I believe the biggest demand driver is its illegality - it creates the perception of that draws novelty buyers.

 

Rhino horn trade in China: An analysis of the art and antiques market

This paper shows clearly that the market (once monitored through advertising in Chinese media) went underground around the same time poaching increased. The timing was immediatly after the Chinese put a ban on advertising rhino horn. - as opposed to stopping the trade, it simply went underground, and poaching increased. Also note the composition of the trade - trinkets, carvings, arts and attiques and such are products worth investment and nothing to do with consumption. - thats a speculative market. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, optig said:

@Bugs the rhino horn auction was supposed to cut the number of rhinos lost due to poaching instead the problem has only gotten worse. Need I say more?

 

Got worse since when? since the Domestic trade ben - yes. 

 

since the auction? - well there is no evidence of the poaching getting worse at all. In fact poaching is on the decrease in Kruger Park and on the increase in Natal. Overall statisiics arent mush changed. But - if you expected the market to be effected by a single auction that you regard as a failure then you are admittting that the sale as small as it was did have an impact on poaching. But you are wrong anyway. The one small domestic auction is unlikely to have an effect on the market yet. What is required is a sustained legal international sale for the market to realise that it can access perfectly legal authentic horn without having to indulge in criminal activity. Only then will there be a notable influence on poaching. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

I must have touched a sore spot.

 

@Bugs I know you're big time in favor of trading, but here once again.

I never said demand reduction would or wouldn't work, I was talking about increasing supply. A big argument for trade was that it would flood the market and drive down the price. But the demand is so overwhelming, that even with increased supply (from less than 20 rhino horns in 2007, to over 1,200 in 2016) the price hugely increased. Stockpiles can only temporarily increase the the supply, and the total stockpiles are less than a few years worth of current supply, hence can't flood the market.

Furthermore, you state that the speculative demand, which according to you is the biggest driver of the price, can be controlled by trade. Yes, it can, but not in the way you depict. Just as with ivory, and with diamonds, the supply will be controlled by a few big players. They'll sit on most of supply (hmmm...isn't that currently already the case, isn't most of the rhino stockpile in the hands of just a few players?), and as they control most of the stockpile, they'll control the supply to the market and hence, control the price. That's the biggest reason while diamonds have always been so expensive, De Beers controls the supply, or why ivory prices skyrocketed after the ivory auctions. A few players bought most of the ivory and then trickled it to the market, increasing the demand, while controlling the supply and hence vastly increasing the prices. The majority of rhinos are on public land, with not-perfect protection, so with a high value of rhino horn they stay attractive to poachers. The only way out is a complete ban (implementing smart trade effectively in corrupt countries will never work), making law enforcement much easier to implement, stiff penalties (let the government show commitment) and increased protection (let the bigh NGO's show their money where their mouth is). After the 80's the ivory and rhino trade was greatly reduced, almost completely halted, by this, why can't that be done again?

 

Yes, I don;t really see a difference, from an ecosystem perspective between a cow bred for meat and/or milk products and a rhino bred for horn. Different species, but in both cases the owner is called a farmer, and the practice called farming, hence they're both livestock, just different species.

And it's an ethical question, or should be an ethical question, if wildlife from national parks can be auctioned off with the goal to raise money. I suspect that actually violates the IUCN rules about national parks.

Edited by ForWildlife
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't wish to jump back into this debate again just at the moment, but I was interested to read the following article about John Hume and rhinos in the UK's Telegraph magazine last weekend.

 

Can farming rhinos for their horns save the species?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.