Picture, if you will, the bizarre spectacle of a prostitute photographed while posing on the carcass of a recently shot rhino. Picture the man, who shot both the poor beast and the photo of the ‘ho’, serving hard time in a South African ‘nick’. While the world’s rhino populations have suffered catastrophic losses from poaching for Yemeni dagger handles and the Traditional Chinese Medicinal equivalent of a fever reducing pill, there are game ranchers who say that they would like to sell rhino horn to pay for the protection of the rhinos that they safeguard and breed.
See this story and photo in The Japan Times article “World Faces Rhino Horn Dilemma”
This raises various important questions.
1. The analogous relaxation of trade in ivory has proved to be disastrous for elephants, how could it turn out any different for rhino horn and rhinos?
2. Could farmed horn fund efforts to ‘kill’ the black market trade? How would such legal products be kept distinct and separate from the illegal ones?
3. Could anti-counterfeiting technology combined with coordinated controls raise the value and status of legally produced horn artifacts to a point where horn trade saves more rhinos than it kills?
4. Is it even realistic to suppose it is possible to have a controlled trade in the markets that value these products?