Stringing together reports on concerns for wildlife that appeared on the world page of this newspaper in the last month or so, makes for interesting reading.
Thursday saw the start of the London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade, where more than 40 countries, including China, signed the London Declaration, agreeing to measures against it.
At this high-level conference, the price of rhino horn is being bandied about as costlier than gold or cocaine. And conferees are being asked by the International Fund for Animal Welfare to decide on destruction of all seized wildlife products, and other anti-trafficking measures.
In Washington DC on Tuesday, the White House banned ivory and rhino horn trade in the US, prohibiting imports of both. Next step: asking other countries to do the same – which it could not do until it had taken its own.
On January 23, Hong Kong officials announced they would over two years destroy a huge stockpile of confiscated ivory. Authorities there have seized 32.5 tons of it in the past decade.
On January 6, Chinese officials fed more than six tons of ivory into a crusher, saying they aimed to discourage illegal trade in it, to protect wildlife and raise public awareness.
So the repugnance is slowly spreading, with big and small measures in various parts of the world against what Britain’s Prince William called “this despicable trade”.
Consciousness is growing – even if it is, so far, in countries less implicated. But every voice against the massacre of wildlife, on this continent especially, is welcome. US reach, for instance, though often much resented, is formidable. Its war on terror is a current example. If the superpower gets behind a campaign, it can make a difference.
At the present slaughter rate, however, global rejection of the illegal wildlife trade will require turbo-charging to save our rhino herd. In 2007, 13 rhinos were poached in South Africa. In 2012 it was 668, last year 1 004. Last month 86 were killed. Time is short.