Reading news reports recently, there appears to have been a step up in rhino poaching in South Africa in the last few months
Pro-trade groups are trying to attribute this to ‘poaching syndicates reacting to the threat of a potential legal trade in rhino horn’ (see red box). There is no evidence to back up this statement. This is pure conjecture to support their desire for a legal international trade; in the last few months the domestic trade in rhino horn has been legalised in South Africa, which I have commented on previously.
Equally you could say that this step change in rhino poaching levels in the last few months could be a result of ‘poaching syndicates preparing for the opportunity to launder illegally poached rhino horn into the recently agreed South African legal domestic marketplace’. Before I explore this in more detail, let’s look back at the history of rhino poaching from 1990 onward. [Read more…]