Horn trade legalization

Topics: Ivory, Elephant, Rhinoceros Pages: 6 (1242 words) Published: April 17, 2014
Carine Kabunda
Econ 324
04/15/2014
Horn Trade Legalization The trade of animal horns should continue to be banned because that is a way of protecting endangered species. In this case, endangered species are animals that’s provides ivory such as Rhinoceros and elephant. First of all, let’s take a look at why this is such a controversial topic. Elephants are found in 37 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. They are source of bush meat but their ivory referred to as “White Gold” can provide a substantial reward for poachers. Poachers are illegal animal hunters, they kill and sell body parts of animal. “Skyrocketing poaching levels are driven by tremendous growth in the retail price of rhino horn, from around $4,700 per kilogram in 1993 to around $65,000 per kilogram in 2012. Rhino horn is now worth more, per unit weight, than gold, diamonds” (Rice2008). The raw ivory obtained by poachers is sold to wholesalers and craftsmen and is often shipped overseas before being carved into a variety of things such as piano keys, chopsticks, chess sets and jewelries. It has been reported that in June 2002, six tones of ivory was seized in Singapore. It remains the largest single seizure of ivory and the network behind this crime is yet to be prosecuted (Rice 2008, pg20). It is obvious that ivory is in high demand and poachers can make a significant amount of money off of it. To meet these high ivory market international demands, more elephants and rhinoceros have to be killed. The poaching of ivory in the 1970’s and 1980’s has led to a decline in elephant population. More than 1.3 million elephants roamed Africa in 1979. In 1989, there were approximately 600,000 elephants (Van Aarde and Jackson2006). In Kenya, un-carved Ivory was worth $2.50 a pound in 1969, $34 a pound in 1978, and more than $90 a pound in 1989 (Messer2000). Bull elephants with tusks weighing six or seven times more than those of females were the usual targets because they had bigger tusks, with bigger tusks came with bigger profits. This illegal trade in wildlife presents a threat to many rare species and thus to biodiversity and, for that reason, has increasingly attracted the attention of conservation agencies (Rice 2008). To protect these endangered species, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) was in need. CITES is “an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival”(CITES, what is cites? 2008). Some may argue that this program has been effective and others feel like it has made the situation worse. Opponents of the ban believe it has failed to reduce illegal trading in countries like South Africa and they also believe that it had failed to put an end to the high demand for ivory, horn, bone and skin for use as traditional medicine and ornaments in China, Vietnam and Thailand. Supporters of bans, argue that illicit trade can be dealt with by enforcement, increasing penalties, educating potential customers about the source of the wares they covet, and ensuring that keeping the animals alive becomes more profitable for local communities, through eco-tourism than slaying them is. The effectiveness of this ban had been different in different countries. In June of 1989 the United States and many European nations, imposed a moratorium on ivory imports to save the remaining populations. The African elephant was added to Appendix I (which bans international trade in the products of these species, the species must be threatened by extinction) that October. Many African nations such as: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa took reservations and many formed the South African Center for Ivory Marketing (SACIM)(Khannan 1996). As a result in the first few years, the upgrading was viewed as a success by western nations and...


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