Rhino horn trade

Bad news from The Economist regarding rhino horns:

On March 30th South Africa’s constitutional court overturned the ban on domestic trade. Now, if they have the right permit, people can trade rhino horn, but not export it. TRAFFIC’s Mr Milliken worries that this will lead to the worst of all worlds. Allowing some legal trade while the authorities are not properly enforcing the ban on illegal trade will muddy already murky waters. Once out of the country, legal and illegal horn will be all but indistinguishable. So users in Vietnam will have cheaper supplies; the illegal dealers still in control of the export trade will pocket the profits; and rhinos will keep falling to the poachers’ bullets.

Despite scientific evidence to the contrary, rhino horn is still popular in Southeast Asia (particularly Vietnam) as a medicinal substance.  It is ground up and used to “cure” everything from the common cold to infertility to cancer.

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(Photo taken at my zoo)

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