The scale of poaching of endangered species in Africa and Asia is probably higher now than it has been for a generation or more. Three of the five remaining species of rhino are critically endangered. Trade in tiger bone and skin or elephant ivory for medicine is rife. So what is the best way of tackling the problem? Could it be to licence the trade that is now illegal? VoR's Tim Ecott hosts a discussion.
The rhinoceros is a formidable creature, characterised by its large size, thick skin, and one or two prominent keratin horns. Yet its populations are under threat worldwide: in fact, three of the five remaining species of rhino are critically endangered.
So would you feel comfortable if governments approved the international trade in rhino horn - or even tiger bone and skin or elephant ivory - for use in traditional medicines and other products?
What if it could actually give these species a fighting chance at survival?
This was the subject of this year’s Earthwatch Big Debate at the Royal Geographical Society, London on October 17.
Ahead of the debate, VoR's Tim Ecott met Kirsten Conrad, a Singapore-based conservation policy analyst who has been working on the conservation of wild cats in Asia since 1999.
She is a member of the IUCN CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and has published on the subject of trade bans in the journal Tropical Conservation Science and the Routledge Handbook on East Asia and the Environment.
Also joining him in the studio was Dr. Katarzyna Nowak, a postdoctoral research fellow at Durham University, UK, and the University of the Free State, Qwaqwa, South Africa. More....