Having travelled extensively in africa over many years and met many people from conservationists, hunters, game reserve owners, ecologists to other travellers, it appears, of course, that there is no single answer to the Rhino poaching crisis. What ‘is’ currently a fact is that because a Rhino must be killed by a poacher in order to take the horn, that Rhino is currently worth more dead than it is alive and that needs to change, but how? Understanding that conservation is no longer simply the fluffy conversation it used to be, authorities need to get real and legalize the international trade in Rhino horn and begin to control the situation. At this time poachers are having a field day as they are the only source of supply to meet the ever increasing demand for horn.
If there is only a focus on the demand end of the equation then Rhinos could disappear in the next 10 years as you cannot change a culture in that time. Therefore there must be a serious focus on the supply of Rhino horn. A Rhino horn consists of numerous, matted hair like filaments made from keratin, the same as our hair and fingernails. Like our hair and fingernails when cut, it ‘will’ grow back. So it is possible that a farmed Rhino could be potentially worth 3, 4 or 5 horns in it’s lifetime and as a result, worth more alive than dead…
No matter how much we want to see Rhinos roaming free in the wild, we will see the complete disappearance of these animals from Africa if this and other action is not taken.