No one should be surprised about the South African governments legislation to allow a domestic trade in rhino horn. It has been very clear from the beginning that trade in rhino horn is what they support and want.
What is troubling is how easy they got it, with little resistance from large conservation, international agencies or governments. While there has been a lot of ‘noise’ there hasn’t been much substance to the arguments put forward. Most discussions have been ideological and, while there is nothing wrong with that, they are not enough. I am sure that they feel that there has been a lot of behind-the-scenes diplomacy, but it seems they were played.
As someone who has been observing systems and cultures for a couple of decades, what I see is a conservation system that has become stable and sustainable but not useful in solving present day wildlife trafficking problems. The problems have evolved over the last two decades, the skills have not. Are we seeing another Kodak Moment? [Read more…]