THE DILEMMA OF HORNS
The economics of rhino horns
Private rhino owners believe that by legally selling the animals’ horns they will bring prices down. This, they argue, will cripple poaching by reducing its financial rewards. Many conservationists disagree
The online rhino horn auction that ended last Friday, believed to be the first of its kind, has some conservationists worried it will create a surge in demand that will result in further degradation of rhino populations in Africa. John Hume, who has more than 1,500 rhinos at his wildlife ranch in North West, put 264 rhino horns up for sale from his stockpile. These horns had been humanely removed from his rhino, a tactic adopted to protect them from poachers. For the auction to go ahead, Hume had to win a series of court battles earlier this year to overturn the eight-year-old moratorium on the domestic sale of rhino horns. Seemingly it was not as fruitful as Hume would have wanted. In a statement his attorney indicated that the auction had yielded fewer bidders and fewer sales than anticipated, but added that the "legal domestic trade has now been re-established and the road has been paved for future sales." Jones said that despite the efforts of the SA government and other African...
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