Sebastian Fortino is an editor, journalist, and writer of fiction, and is passionate about words & disseminating knowledge to the community!
Powder for Sale
The illegal poaching and sale of rhino horn, which is used as a folk remedy and aphrodisiac, has been on the rise on the African continent for the past several years, as it can fetch well over $60,000 a kilogram. In order to curtail the poaching and slaughter of the rhinoceros, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, and Namibia have decided to legalize the sale of rhino horn powder in pharmacies and clinics in the region. While it is hoped this will reduce the poaching, conservationists fear it could cause backlash.
Francis Nhema, Zimbabwe’s environment and tourism minister, said that they hope that this move will “reduce profitability of the illegal trade,” as well as save the lives of the poachers and animals.
“We agreed that we will demystify the rhino issue by selling horn powder in clinics as well as pharmacies in all the Kaza [Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area] member states. We hope this will shift the attention of the poachers,” Nhema said.
It seems to us that having stricter poaching laws and ACTUALLY enforcing them will also work, without having to legalize the sale of the horn powder. And for that matter, there is no word on how legalizing the sale of the horn in Southern Africa will reduce the demands for the horn in Asia. But, we digress.
Conservationists believe the poachers will still hunt the rhino despite the fact that the rhino horn powder can be obtained legally.
“Poachers will simply decide to push volumes with lower prices for the horn as they try to beat the middleman. Besides, there is nothing that can beat the original raw material, and the underground dealers will always prefer the horn as raw as it comes,” said Johnny Rodrigues of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force.
Still, some people feel that legalizing the sale is the only way forward as it will reduce the price people can get for the horns.
It is believed that nearly 90 percent of the world’s endangered rhinos live in South Africa, and due to the increase in demand for their horns, it is being predicted that nearly 600 more of the endangered black and white rhinos will be poached and slaughtered by 2013.
Read More at Irish Times.