By Rhishja Cota-Larson
In July 2013, South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs released its “Rhino Issue Management” report, a 46-page attempt at making the case for trading in rhino horns. The document has since received an unflinchingly candid review by former Chief of Enforcement for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), John M. Sellar.
We are delighted that Mr. Sellar has kindly given us permission to reprint his thought-provoking commentary below.
Is there a Plan B for rhinos?
by John M. Sellar
I sincerely hope so, because the recently-published Plan A contains some significant mistakes, naivety and apparently wasn’t proof-read sufficiently.
I really had not intended returning to this matter again but, at the risk of being boring, I feel driven to comment on a document that South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has made public and which is being widely quoted by the media. The ‘ Rhino Issues Management (RIM) Report 2013′ makes for interesting reading and it attempts to pull together views collected during an intensive consultation exercise.
It contains some lengthy recommendations, addressing a range of issues. Its authors, and I don’t intend them any personal criticism as they’d been set a very difficult task, have tried to find ways in which the current rhino poaching crisis might be tackled, drawing conclusions from what they acknowledge were diverse opinions. However, if effective answers are to be identified, and ways-forward chosen, then decision-makers risk being misled by a report that reads well but is flawed.
Maybe what the public are seeing is some cut-down version of a much larger document but I struggle to find distinct explanations within the main text for several of the important recommendations. More....