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Mon Dec 22 14:45:05 SAST 2014

Save the rhino by killing the demand: iLIVE

Justathought, Centurion | 24 January, 2013 00:09

Image by: Reuben Goldberg

Considering the rhino deaths that have already occurred this year, and the ones that will inevitably follow, it is time we replaced outrage with viable methods to limit or end poaching.

Though legalising the trade in rhino horn seems pragmatic, it has many pitfalls. Rhino horn would remain a lucrative product in high demand. There would be no real reason for poachers to move shop. Meanwhile, legal traders would have to dart and dehorn virtually every rhino on a routine basis.

So what alternatives are there?

One strategy might be to flood the markets in Asia with fake rhino horn.

Another method would be to drive down the market demand. Why traumatise your Facebook friends with images of butchered rhino?

Such images should instead be shown to purchasers of rhino horn.

A massive advertising campaign in Vietnam and China might even be supported by traditional doctors in the region who have officially decried the use of rhino horn.

If Asian movie stars and pop stars appeared in adverts lambasting poaching, rhino horn might lose its popularity as a status symbol, especially among the youth.

In truth, rhino horn is a fad, but I hope the fad dies before all the rhinos do.

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