Out of desperation to save our rhinos and preserve their existence on this planet, some dramatic ideas are being thrown about. Thinking outside the box, some are downright absurd, while others are thought provoking.
Rhinos Down Under
In the midst of rising tension and anxiety of continuous poaching, a South African business man has initiated a plan to translocate a limited number of rhinos from South Africa to Australia. The thought is they would be less vulnerable to poaching, and possibly be used in a breeding program: an insurance policy of sorts against extinction.
Although there has been a feasibility study and discussions with the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, it is in the very early stages. Approval, the right paperwork and most certainly the coordination of the translocation are a ways off.
There is rumor of a plan to genetically modify our rhino, rendering the babies hornless. Considering there used to be 30 species of rhinos on the planet, and one that truly was hornless (the Paraceratherium), it’s technically within the realm of possibility. But then again, the hornless ones didn’t make it, did they?
How close is science to truly pulling it off? And should they?
Cows, chickens and rhinos? Breeding rhinos on private farms is an idea that goes hand in hand with legalizing horn trade. Touted to be the best method of “conservation”, it would be a huge moneymaker for the private owners, and a way to create more jobs, via “farmhands”. Win-win according to legal trade advocates.
John Hume, South Africa’s largest private rhino owner owns over 600 rhinos. His farm produces 120 calves a year, and he currently makes his living by selling them to private reserves. But his private collection of horn is a multi-million dollar stockpile, awaiting the day he can legally cash it in.
Hume says “We need to encourage everyone in the country to breed rhino and the only way to do that is to legalise the trade.”
A country with vast rhino farms? Breeding rhino like cattle seems a difficult, expensive endeavor, not to mention risky. Who, besides a millionaire like Humes, could afford this?
Giving in? Despite pro-trade propaganda, history tells us this does not work.
Throughout the history of rhino poaching, during times when horn trade WAS legal, illegal poaching still flourished. This is a fact. So why repeat a previously failed scenario?
Whatever the reason, South Africa seems hellbent on making this a reality. A no-show at London’s recent wildlife summit, their signature never made it to the London Declaration (a joint commitment of 50 governments worldwide to do whatever necessary to aide in ending poaching).
What about the people of South Africa (as well as the rest of the world) hold South African government responsible? Weed out the corruption, strengthen the laws, convict the poachers…perhaps this idea is the craziest of all. It seems the logical answer, but the most impossible to achieve.