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Pointless: A quantitative assessment of supply and demand in rhino horn and a case against trade

  • People for Nature and Peace

Abstract and Figures

The debate about whether legalized rhino horn trade might benefit rhino conservation has produced an abundance of academic and other publication, which include a large number of theory-based analyses. A quantitative appraisal of supply and demand has so far been lacking. This study provides the first quantitative assessment of the relationship between rhino horn supply and demand. Scrutinizing a variety of different supply and demand scenarios it illustrates the significant discrepancy between the reservoir of approximately 141 tonnes of horn carried by the world’s remaining rhinos and those in South Africa and the two main consumer markets in Vietnam and China (Milliken & Shaw 2012). Policy decisions about trade in rhino horn based on erroneous assumptions risk significant adverse consequences for wild rhinos, as well as adverse downstream effects on the biodiversity of their habitat (Joris et al. 2014, Ripple 2015). Our calculations support the notion that lifting the ban on commercial rhino horn trade is likely to facilitate the extinction of rhinos rather than support their survival. Illegal rhino horn trade is an international problem that requires a well-coordinated global response comprising a genuine commitment to strong legislation, uncompromising enforcement and creative demand reduction initiatives.
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A quantitative assessment of supply and
demand in rhino horn and a case against trade
Photo: Johan Swanepol
The only way to save a rhinoceros is to save the environment in which it lives, because
there's a mutual dependency between it and millions of other species of both animals
and plants.
Sir David Attenborough
Executive Summary
The world is witnessing an unprecedented upsurge in poaching and illegal wildlife
trade, which is undoing decades of conservation efforts. Some of the most profitable
species include iconic animals such as rhinos, elephants, tigers and even fish. The no-
tion that wildlife trafficking is worth 7-23 billion US dollars (UNEP-Interpol 2016) and
ranks amongst the four most lucrative illicit trade commodities has become cliché.
Rhinos have been especially hard hit by these developments. Last year, poachers killed
at least 1,342 rhinos in Africa, the highest number since records began in 2006 (Emslie
et al. 2016, Tab.1). Rhino populations everywhere are under siege from poachers, ille-
gal traffickers, national (Hübschle 2016 a, b) and international criminal networks
(CITES, 2013, Milliken & Shaw 2012), art collectors, status and pleasure seekers, medi-
cal patients and financial speculators intent on cashing in on their increasing rarity.
Most wildlife and enforcement experts believe that resolutely enforced international
and national trade bans and effective demand reduction initiatives offer the most
promising route towards reversing the current trend (e.g., Nadal and Agyao, Sellar 2016
a, b). Others vociferously advocate the legalization of trade in rhino horn as the only
viable option that can ensure a future for rhinos (DEA 2014, Eustace 2016, Warren
2015, Hume 2015).
The debate about whether legalized rhino horn trade might benefit rhino conservation
has produced an abundance of academic and other publication, which include a large
number of theory-based analyses. A quantitative appraisal of supply and demand has so
far been lacking. This study provides the first quantitative assessment of the relation-
ship between rhino horn supply and demand. By scrutinizing different supply and
A quantitative assessment of supply and demand in rhino horn and
a case against trade
1,342 African rhinos
died at the hand of poachers in
2015 - the highest number since
records began in 2006 and
nearly five percent of the
global population.
demand scenarios we illustrate the significant assymetry between the reservoir of
roughly 141 tonnes of horn, carried by the world’s remaining rhinos (and those in
South Africa) and the two main consumer markets in Vietnam and China (Milliken &
Shaw 2012).
Policy decisions about trade in rhino horn that are based on erroneous assumptions
risk significant adverse consequences for wild rhino populations, as well as detrimental
downstream effects on the biodiversity of their habitat (Joris et al. 2014, Ripple 2015).
It is therefore helpful to recognize that:
A single standard rhino horn prescription of 3, 9 or 50 grams administered to
3.9%, 1.3% and 0.2% of the current adult population of China and Vietnam respec-
tively, would require the horn mass of the entire global rhino population (29,324).
South Africa’s 6,014 privately owned white rhinos could service a mere 0.97%,
0.32% and 0.06% of Vietnamese and Chinese adult with a single prescription of 3,
9 or 50 grams. This figure is reduced to 0.77%, 0.26% and 0.05%, if rhino owners
who indicated an interest in participating in rhino horn trade alone are considered.
Rhino horn derived from regular dehorning of South Africa’s 6,014 privately
owned white rhino population would provide a single prescription of 3, 9 and 50
grams for 0.12%, 0.04% and 0.007% of adults in China and Vietnam, or 0.10, 0.03
and 0.006 percent for rhinos of owners willing to participate in legal trade.
These simple calculations support the notion that lifting the ban on commercial trade
in rhino horn is likely to facilitate the extinction of rhinos, rather than support their
survival. Illegal rhino horn trade is an international problem that requires a well-
coordinated global response comprising a genuine commitment to strong legislation,
uncompromising enforcement and creative demand reduction initiatives.
Portrait of an Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis). Photo: Wikimedia
All of South Africa’s
pivately owned white
rhinos put together only carry
enough horn to provide a single
dose of 3, 9 and 50 grams to
0.97%, 0.32% and 0.06% of
adults in Vietnam and China.
Rhino horn derived from annual
dehorning could at best service
0.12%, 0.04% and 0.007% of
adults in both markets with
the same prescriptions.
Rhinoceroses first evolved 50 million years ago and roamed across North America,
Europe, Africa, and Asia in great numbers (Prothero 1993). Modern rhinos have not
only shared the world with us for millennia but have captured Man’s imagination since
prehistoric times. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated 500,000 rhinos
still roamed across Africa and Asia (IRF 2016). By 1970 the global population had been
decimated to some 70,000 (Leader-Williams 2002). Today there are just over 29,000
(Knight 2016, Haryono et al. 2015, Nardelli 2014, IRF 2016) a 94% drop. Almost 70%
of the world’s and 80% of Africa’s rhinos live in South Africa (Emslie et al. 2016),
where, some 6,000 rhinos live on privately owned farms (Knight 2016, DEA 2014).
Many of farmed rhinos are regularly dehorned in anticipation of trade and depend on
supplementary food (Warren 2015). Black rhinos numbered several hundred thousands
and were the most abundant of all rhino species well into the 20th century (Emslie
2011). Today the population stands at 5,250 (Knight 2016).
The Chauvet cave paintings in France represent some of the oldest in the world and date back to between
32,000 - 36,000 years. A UNESCO world heritage site since 1994, these beautiful prehistoric paintings depict
a variety of wild animal species, including rhinos. Photo: Wikimedia
What is Rhino Horn?
Rhino horn consists of keratin, a protein that also makes up human toenails, finger-
nails and hair. CT scans and cross-sections of rhino horn show a dense central region
that is reinforced by a combination of calcium and the pigment melanin. These two
components at the centre of the horn increase its resistance to physical wear and dam-
age as a result of UV exposure. The softer outer layer wears away more quickly during
normal use. The difference in consistency between the outer and inner layers creates
the horn’s characteristic long and pointed shape. The horns grow solely from the base
and are attached to the skin covering the animals’ frontal and nasal bones (Nowell
White rhino mother and calf. Photo: Hen
Rhino horns confiscated in the United States.
Photo: USFWS
The big rhino crash
At the beginning of the 20th
century an estimated 500,000
rhinos roamed across Africa
and Asia. Today there are just
over 29,000.
Rhino Horn Use
The use of rhino horn as an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicines dates back
several thousand years and later spread to Vietnam, Japan and Korea (Nowell 2012). It
is used either as a single ingredient or as part of compound prescriptions and prepared
as a decoction or as a powder. Li Shih Chen’s 1597 Materia Medica lists rhino horn as a
treatment for a long list of ailments, including “devil possession, keep away evil spirits
and miasmas, gelsemium poisoning, hallucinations, bewitching nightmares, intermit-
tent twitches with delirium, loss of vision, calming the liver, fear, anxiety, arthritis,
loss of voice, typhoid, headache, fever.“
A study into the effectiveness of rhino horn and its alternatives conducted at the Chi-
nese University of Hong Kong by Paul But and colleagues (1990) found that while rhino
horn and high doses of water buffalo horn produced mild fever-reducing and antitoxic
effects, a combination of herbs without any type of horn had the same effects (Nowell
2012). “Consensus now appears to be that even if rhino horn is mildly anti-pyretic to
lower fever symptoms, the benefits do not outweigh those of cheap over-the-counter
medicines readily available in any pharmacy”, says Rookmaaker from the Rhino Re-
source Centre (2011).
Recommended doses for rhino horn in traditional Asian and allied medicines vary
widely from daily or repeat doses of 0.5 -1g (Do et al. 2006) to 180 g (Liu et al. 2004)
(Appendix I). Hübschle (2016a) describes an example of a two-week treatment. The
considerable variation in dosage is partially explained by whether rhino horn is admin-
istered as a single ingredient or as part of compound prescription and how these are
In the mid-2000s the rumour that rhino horn offers a cure for cancer began to sweep
across Vietnam, from where it has spread to China and other parts of East Asia (Milli-
ken 2012). There is no evidence of rhino horn as an effective cure for cancer from clini-
cal research in Traditional Chinese Medicine or elsewhere, nor is it documented or
approved as such in traditional medicine manuals. Yet, the use of rhino horn as a can-
cer treatment has become one of the primary drivers behind the dramatic surge in
rhino poaching. Vietnam has a cancer-related mortality rate of 73 percent, one of the
highest in the world (Huang 2011, 2014, Amel 2014). With around 150,000 new cancer
cases diagnosed each year and poor access to treatment, people are desperate for a cure
for themselves or their relatives and are willing to pay a premium (Patton 2011). The
effects on demand for rhino horn were devastating.
Most medicinal consumers of rhino horn buy small quantities of horn as powder or
roughly cut pieces (Amman 2015a, Patton and Amman 2016). This type of use trans-
cends Vietnam’s urban centres and extends to traditional rural communities, which
represent a huge potential market that might spring to life if trade is legalized (Patton
& Amman 2016). Amman (2015a, b) also identified a new market for rhino horn arte-
facts and jewellery, such as bracelets, beads, newly manufactured libation cups, bowls
and rings etc. in the north of Vietnam. These items are sought after by Chinese visitors,
which according to Vigne & Martin now constitute the main market for rhino horn in
Vietnam. Rhino horn supplies a growing market in Chinese and allied medicines, as a
party drug, status symbol, jewellery, ornament or hard-nosed investment. Top end
buyers now purchase entire horns for medicinal use, to display as “face objects” that
confer status, as gifts or investments (Emslie et al. 2016, Hübschle a), or as party drugs
to relieve hangovers.
Rhino horn jewellery, drinking cups, decora-
tions, slabs and segments of horns for sale in
Vietnam. Photo: Environmental Justice Com-
Rhino horn on a special grinding plate in Vi-
etnam. Photo: Thang Nguyen
Poachers’ guns, hunters’ guns
Poaching constitutes the primary threat to the survival of the world’s rhinos, which
have no natural enemies besides humans. Since the current crisis erupted in 2008, at
least 5,940 African rhinos have lost their lives at the hand of poachers, and almost 200
rhinos were killed in India between 2006 to 2015 (Emslie et al. 2016). While the num-
ber of rhinos killed by poachers in South Africa appears to have dropped marginally
from 1,215 in 2014 to 1,175 in 2015 (Knight 2016), poaching figures for the whole of
Africa have been rising for six successive years, reaching a high of at least 1,342 indi-
viduals in 2015 the equivalent of 5% of Africa’s entire population (Emslie et a l. 2016)
(Fig. 1). A growing Chinese presence in Africa since the early 2000s has shifted the
frontline of demand perilously close to wild populations (Larson 2010, Vigne & Martin
2008, French 2014). Rhinos are being killed inside the most heavily guarded areas,
including South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park, where both black and white
rhino populations may now be in decline as a result (Ferreira et al. 2015, AfRSG, Emslie
et al. 2016).
Between October 2012 and December 2015 an estimated 8,691 rhino horns entered the
illegal market (2,674 horns/year) (Emslie et al. 2012). Over 90 percent stem from illegal-
ly killed rhinos. This represents almost 22 tonnes of rhino horn and relates to the
highest death toll in over two decades - twice that reported in 2012 (Emslie et al. 2012).
The Western subspecies of the Black rhino and the Vietnamese subspecies of the Javan
rhino rhino have recently become extinct as a result of poaching. Northern White
rhino numbers are down to three individuals, with the sole surviving male too old to
breed. Unless this overwhelming surge of illegal killing can be stopped, the remaining
rhino species are set to follow them, one animal at a time.
Figure 1. Reported rhino poaching mortalities in Africa: 2006-2015
Rhino poaching in Africa has escalated dramatically since 2008. Data from Emslie 2016.
Africa’s second largest land mammal finds itself in the teeth of a global conservation
battle, where range states in Africa and Asia are engulfed by a mounting wave of vio-
lence that exacts high numbers of human and animal casualties. It is ironic that the
use of traditional healing remedies and growing prosperity amongst those who prize it,
should be at the root of such carnage.
Not rhino proof
For some rhino owners „it is far
easier and safer to sell illegal
hunts and avoid compliance
with the law by operating in a
clandestine manner
South African Department
of Environmental Affairs, 2014.
Almost 8,700 rhino horns
entered the illegal market
between October 2012 and
December 2015
Rhino mortality
Rhinos enrich the soil, spread plant seeds and create areas populated with grass species
consumed by smaller grazers such as zebra, wildebeest and impala. Their progressive
loss in itself is tragic, but the corresponding damage of their removal is also likely to
affect savannah ecosystems as a whole (Joris et al. 2014, Ripple 2015).
Figure 2. Rhino horn seizures for China, Vietnam, Mozambique and South Africa as percentages
of the global total for 2010-2015. Data from Emslie 2016.
Faraway consumers in Asia are not alone in contributing to the rhino’s demise. Un-
scrupulous individuals from within South Africa’s rhino conservation and enforcement
communities are increasingly implicated in rhino horn trafficking (Annonymus 2015,
Milliken & Shaw 2012, Rademayer 2012, Roane 2014, Bloch 2015, Rademayer 2015,
Hübschle 2016a,b, Rademayer 2016). Lack of transparency, poor recordkeeping and
reporting on private rhino horn stockpiles in South Africa’s powerful private wildlife
industry facilitate illegal transactions and fuel demand. Traders have also exploited a
legal loophole in the laws governning legal rhino trophy hunts to bypass the interna-
tional trade ban under the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Spe-
cies (CITES), whereby the export of rhino hunting trophies is legal, while exporting
rhino horn is not.
An internet search for “rhino poaching” brings up in excess of 70,000 media articles on
the subject. Rhino poaching has attracted widespread international attention due of its
unprecedented scale and because of the exceptional level of violence it involves.
Modern rhino horn traffickers recruit professional poaching gangs and marksmen with
military backgrounds that are equipped with silenced firearms, high calibre rifles or
semi-automatic weapons, and sophisticated night vision equipment. Small helicopters
that are able to fly below air traffic control radar are sometimes employed to quickly
move in and out of protected areas. In some cases, unprincipled wildlife veterinarians
have leaked locations of unprotected rhinos or illegally provided M99 an immobilis-
ing drug without anaesthetic properties to bring the rhinos down. Marksmen shoot
the rhinos with darts containing M99 before the horn is hacked off with machetes or
chainsaws - often while the animal is still alive. Rhinos injured in this way die of blood
South Africa
1070 kg
1109 kg
860 kg
798 kg
Casualties of illegal trade. Photo: Hein
loss or shock after having suffered the most painful and brutal mutilations. A South
African enforcement official who has seen over six years of active service explains:
“Poachers do not care what animal they butcher to get to the horn. If they find a bull, so be it. If
they find a cow, that will also work. Unfortunately, cows are very rarely alone and are normally
accompanied by a calf or two. If he was to return to help his mother and the opportunity is there,
they will not hesitate to kill or maim the calf. If the round does not kill, stun or at least incapacitate
the rhino, they will not get what they want. If the animal is still alive but only stunned, they will
hack it over the back with a panga [machete] to break the spine and render the rhino immobile, so
they can proceed to hack off the horn. Then there is the psychological impact these poaching scenes
have on the men - and women - who fight this onslaught on our heritage. It is heart-breaking, when
you see grown men crying, overwhelmed by pity and despair, next to the bloodied body of a rhino.”
Rhino killed by poachers in Zimbabwe. Photo: Rhino Resource Centre
Criminal Networks
Besides posing a significant biodiversity threat, wildlife trafficking has also been asso-
ciated with transnational security issues in recent years. Organized crime syndicates,
armed groups, including terrorists, warlords and insurgent entities are involved in
various aspects of international wildlife trade. According to the United Nations, Chi-
nese, Japanese, Italian, and Russian organized crime syndicates are “heavily involved in
illegal wildlife trade” (ECOSOC, 2005, Sun Wyler & Sheik, 2013). Consumption of rhino
horn too bankrolls illegal activities. Rhino crime related arrests have been made in the
US, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, China, Thailand, Vietnam, India,
Nepal, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In collusion with
wildlife or enforcement industry insiders (see Hübschle 2016 a,b) these criminal net-
works target wild rhinos as well as museums and similar facilities where rhino horns
are stored (Emslie 2016).
Rhino horn confiscated from poachers in
South Africa. Photo: Allison Thomson
White rhino mother and calf.
Photos: Conservation Action Trust
Rhino Economics
South Africa opposed a ban on international trade in rhino horn when it was first pro-
posed in the mid 1970s and has maintained its opposition ever since. The Kingdom of
Swaziland, which hosts 76 white and 20 black rhinos, tabled a proposal to legalize the
international trade in white rhino horn at the CoP17 by amending the current annota-
tion on the Appendix II listing of Swaziland’s white rhinos to permit a “limited and
regulated trade” in white rhino horn stockpiles collected from natural deaths or recov-
ered from poachers, as well as horn to be harvested from a limited number of white
rhino in the future (CITES 2016).
Professor Alejandro Nadal from the Centre for Economic Studies at El Colegio de Mexi-
co serves as Chair of the Theme on the Environment, Macroeconomics, Trade and In-
vestment (TEMTI) with the IUCN‘s Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social
Policy (CEESP-IUCN). Since completing a review of 25 years’ worth of literature relating
to the wildlife trade, (Nadal A. & Aguayo 2014), Nadal has turned into a fervent critic of
the economic arguments put forward by supporters of wildlife trade.
Heavily armed antipoaching helicopter dog unit in South Africa. This level of security is unrealistic for most
rhino range states. Photo: Simon G
In what Nadal and Aguayo refer to as “the basic pro-trade narrative”, trade bans create
scarcity, drive up prices and result in the formation of illegal markets to meet demand.
Legal markets, on the other hand, would promise a stable supply, low prices, eliminate
the incentive for poaching and out-compete illegal operators. But Nadal charges that
governments, economists and conservationists who believe poaching can be stopped by
selling rhino horn and ivory legally lack a basic understanding of macroeconomics. He
goes on to criticise pro-trade studies for failing to take account of the sophistication of
international wildlife trafficking cartels, which deal with different species and work
with multiple lines of production, such as illegal logging, narcotics, firearms, and hu-
man trafficking, to spread their risk. In a single product market such as rhino horn or
ivory trade, they would therefore withstand a price war for longer than legal traders,
he argues (Nadal A. & Aguayo 2014, Nadal 2015 a,b). The absence of basic information
about the structure and dynamics of illegal wildlife markets and the criminal organisa-
tions involved in it, says Nadal, makes it impossible to accurately assess or predict the
potential impact of legal trade. Most pro-trade “claims are restricted to a very small
and most likely irrelevant set of possible market configurations,” he explains, and
The Economist‘s perspective
Most pro-trade “claims are restricted to a
very small and most likely irrelevant set of
possible market configurations,” and
constitute a “brutal simplification of real-
world economics (and) a serious assault on
Prof Alejandro Nadal
constitute a “brutal simplification of real-world economics (and) a serious assault on
logic. (Nadal A. & Aguayo 2014).
Most discussions about the legal, commercial use of rhino horn fail to differentiate
between ecological and economic sustainability. The latter could provide a rationale for
stockpiling of horn while leading to the annihilation of wild rhino populations. Nadal
warns that demand for ivory, rhino horn, and other wildlife products could deveop a
“runaway market” for which legalization of trade acts as a catalyst (Nadal 2015b).
Confiscated rhino horn and ivory about to be destroyed in Kenya in 2016. Photo courtesy of Mwangi-Kirubi
There is a plethora of real life examples of legal trade in wildlife resulting in undesira-
ble outcomes that are far removed from the “sustainable use idea” that generated
them. One of these is the vicuña, a South American camelid with exceptionally fine
and soft wool used in high end garments. Wildlife trade supporters ferquently refer to
international trade in vicuña wool as a positive example of sustainable wildlife use
(Jacobson 2012, DEA 2014). But the facts paint a very different picture, as several dec-
ades after the trade experiment began, illegal killing still poses the primary threat to
the species (IUCN SSC GECS 2015) (Parker & Ying 2009). Vicuña expert Christian
Bonacic initially supported both the concept of sustainable use and its application to
vicuñas. But he changed his mind, because legal trade in vicuña wool has led to an
increase in poaching and illegal trafficking of wool (Nowak 2015). Bonacic draws paral-
lels between the current rhino horn debate and vicuña conservation, which give rise to
concerns that legal rhino horn trade may facilitate extinction. “When you drive a
magnificent animal away from its ecological relationships, you're taking away the
whole meaning of wildlife conservation” (Nowak 2015).
Farming is not conserva-
When you drive a magnificent
animal away from its ecological
relationships, you're taking away
the whole meaning of wildlife
Dr Christian Bonacic
A strong consumer preference for products sourced from the wild is another reason
why wildlife farming is not the conservation panacea many want it to be. Dutton and
colleagues (2011) identified a strong preference for wild products amongst Chinese bear
bile consumers. So much so that “the introduction of farmed bear bile has either had
little impact on demand for wild bear bile or in some circumstances increased it.” A
similar argument was posed in relation to farmed tigers as a means to persuade con-
sumers to transfer their custom away from products obtained through poaching.
Gratwicke et al. (2008) surveyed 1880 residents in six Chinese cites to learn about de-
mand for products made from wild tigers. Of the 43% of respondents who admitted to
having consumed tiger products, 71% expressed a preference for wild over farm-
sourced products. The preference for wild sourced tiger products amongst consumers
(Gratwicke et al. 2008) and the fact that farms are in the hands of a small number of
producers are two factors that stand in the way of reducing poaching of wild tigers
through farming (Kirkpatrick, R. C. & Emerton 2010). The authors conclude that “tiger
farming is more likely to increase aggregate demand for tiger products and stimulate
higher levels of poaching.”
Assessing the Relationship between Supply
and Demand
Whether a sustainable supply of rhino horn can meet and keep up with Asian consum-
er demand is pivotal to the success or failure of legalized trade in horn (DEA 2014). Pro-
trade advocates, which primarily include private rhino owners and some government
agencies in southern Africa, have hailed legalized international trade in horn as the
elusive answer to rhino conservation for decades. They confidently assert that rhino
horn derived from South Africa’s rhino population on its own can satisfy demand in
Asia. Many go as far as claiming that a steady flow of rhino horn derived from regular
dehorning operations from South Africa‘s privately owned white rhinos will be
suffiecuent to “flood the market.“
We attempted to gauge the supply limits of current rhino horn reservoirs from wild
populations by examining different supply and demand scenarios. We estimated horn
mass (Pienaar et al. 1991, Bibhab Talukdar pers. comm.) of global and South African
rhino populations (Emslie et al. 2016) (Tab.1) and apportioned the results to potential
adult markets in Vietnam and China1 (The World Bank 2015) via a range of horn quan-
tities that are commonly administered in traditional Asian medicine prescriptions (1
50 g, Appendix I). We repeated these calculations for larger quantities of horn (100
1000 g) to account for recently emerged non-traditional consumer markets (Amman
2015b, Patton & Amman Amman 2016).
1 For the purpose of this study ‘adult population’ is defined as citizens older than 15 years of age
because this was the only available demographic breakdown available for both countries. Source:
World Bank Development Database
Wild beats farmed for
traditional medicine
Consumers of bear bile, turtles,
tigers and rhino horn have ex-
pressed a clear preference for
products originating from the
wild rather than from farms.
Global rhino populations and their estimated horn mass
Table 1. Global population abundance of African and Asian rhino species and their
associated horn weight estimates in gram. Sources: a) Population figures: White rhino
(Ceratotherium simum) and Black rhino (Diceros bicornis): Knight 2016, IUCN African
Rhino Specialist Group. Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), Sumatran rhino
(Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Indian rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis): Emslie et al. 2016). b)
Average horn weights: White and Black rhinos: Pienaar et al. 1991, Javan, Sumatran
and Greater on-horned rhino: Bibhab Talukdar Chair, IUCN Asian Rhino Specialist
Group, pers. comm. 2014.
Rhino Species
Horn Weight [g]
Population Size
Horn mass [g]
White rhino
Black rhino
Indian rhino
Javan rhino
Sumatran rhino
Global total
The global population of 29,324 rhinos carries an estimated 140,963.24 kg of horn.
South Africa’s rhino populations and their estimated horn mass
Table 2 South Africa’s population abundance of White and Black rhinos and their
associated horn mass in gram. Sources: Population figures: White rhino (Ceratotherium
simum) and Black rhino (Diceros bicornis): Knight 2016, IUCN African Rhino Specialist
Group. Average horn weights: White and Black rhinos: Pienaar et al. 1991.
Population Size
Individual Horn
Mass [kg]
Horn mass [kg]
White Rhinos
Black Rhinos
South Africa’s 18,413 white and 1,893 black rhinos carry approximately 108,268.44
kg and 5,026.91 kg of horn respectively. The combined total for both species is
113,294.35 kg.
Global rhino horn mass
The global rhino population
carries close to 141 tons of horn.
Conservative estimates
A single standard prescription for
rhino horn in tradional Asiam
medicine ranges from 1.5 180 g.
Our estimates are based on lower
end dosages of 1 -50g.
Maximum estimated market reach of rhino horn mass amongst
adults in China and Vietnam
Table 3. The relationship between global and South African rhino horn availability and
demand related to the number of Chinese and Vietnaese adults that could be provided
with traditional Asian medicine prescriptions containing rhino horn in a variety of
dosages or treatment durations.
Amount of rhino horn used in gram
1 g
3 g
9 g
50 g
100 g
1 kg
Market reach amongst adults in China and Vietnam
Global rhino population
South African black and white rhino popula-
South African white rhino population in
private ownership
South African white rhino population in
participating private ownership
Annual horn regrowth of white rhinos in
private ownership in South Africa
Annual horn regrowth of white rhinos in
private ownership/owners interested in
Global rhino population: The consumption of a single prescription of 1 3 gram
of rhino horn by 11.58 3.86% of adults in Vietnam and China would use up all
the horn of all the world’s rhinos. Taken over the recommended three days, this
figure drops to 3.86 1.29% of adults. Rhino horn ingested by 0.23% of adults in
China and Vietnam for 10 14 days or shorter periods in slightly higher doses
amounting to a total of 50 g per prescription would have the same obliterating ef-
South Africa’s rhino population: The ingestion of a single prescription of 1 3
gram of rhino horn by 9.31 3.10% of adults in Vietnam and China would require
the horn of South Africa’s entire rhino population. Taken over the recommended
three days this figure drops to 3.1 1.03% of adults. Rhino horn ingested by 0.19%
of adults in China and Vietnam for 10 14 days or shorter periods in slightly
higher doses amounting to a total of 50 g per prescription would have the same ef-
White rhinos in private ownership in South Africa: The consumption of a single
prescription of 1 3 gram of rhino horn by 2.90 0.97% of adults in Vietnam and
China would require the horn of South Africa’s entire privately owned white rhino
population. Taken over the recommended three days this figure drops to 0.97 -
0.32% of adults. Rhino horn ingested by 0.06% of adults in China and Vietnam for
10 14 days or shorter periods in slightly higher doses amounting to a total of 50 g
per prescription would have the same effect.
Tipping the scales
The use of a single 3 gram rhino
horn prescription by 3.9 percent
of adults in China and Vietnam
would require the horn mass of
all the world’s rhinos.
White rhinos owned by South African farmers interested in participating in
legalized international trade (80%, Knight 2016): The consumption of a single
prescription of 1 3 gram of rhino horn by 2.32 0.77% of adults in Vietnam and
China would require the horn of South Africa’s entire privately owned white rhino
population. Taken over the recommended three days this figure drops to 0.77 -
0.26% of adults. Rhino horn ingested by 0.05% of adults in China and Vietnam for
10 14 days or shorter periods in slightly higher doses amounting to a total of 50 g
per prescription would have the same effect.
Estimated annual horn growth of South Africa’s privately owned
white rhinos
Table 4. Number of White Rhinos (Ceratotherium simum) in private ownership in South
Africa (N-6014, sex ratio 1:1.512) and estimated annual horn regrowth in kilogram
(600g/year for females and 1000 g/year for males). Data from Knight 2016.
Annual Horn
Regrowth [kg]
Annual horn regrowth
White Rhino Females
White Rhino Males
Dehorning of South Africa’s white rhino population: Horn obtained through
regular collection of regrowth from South Africa’s privately owned white rhino
population (600 g for females, 1 kg for males, Knight 2016, Hanks in Crone 2015)
could supply an estimated 0.36 0.12% of adults in Vietnam and China with a sin-
gle prescription of 1 3 gram. Taken over the recommended three days this figure
is reduced to 0.12 - 0.04% of adults. Rhino horn consumed in slightly higher doses
or taken for 10 -14 days, amounting to a total of 50 g per prescription, could sup-
ply 0.007% of adults in China and Vietnam.
Dehorning of white rhinos owned by South African farmers interested in par-
ticipating in legalized international trade (80%, Knight 2016): Horn obtained
through regular collection of regrowth from South Africa’s privately owned white
rhino population (600 g for females, 1 kg for males, Knight 2016) could supply an
estimated 0.29 0.10% of adults in Vietnam and China with a single prescription
of 1 3 gram. Taken over the recommended three days this figure is reduced to
0.03 - 0.006% of adults. Rhino horn consumed in slightly higher doses or taken for
10 -14 days amounting to a total of 50 g per prescription would supply 0.003% of
adults in China and Vietnam.
Bulk purchasers of 1 kg of rhino horn for traditional or non-traditional medicinal
purposes, as investments, gifts or to demonstrate status by 0.012% of adults in
China and Vietnam would consume the horn of all of the world rhinos. This figure
is reduced to 0.009% for South Africa’s rhino population, 0.003% of privately
owned rhinos in South Africa, 0.002% for rhino owners who indicated interest in
participating in legal trade, and 0.0003 - 0.0004% for horn originating from annual
dehorning operations for all private facilities and those who expressed interest in
participating in legal trade respectively.
Sumatran rhino mothers and calf resting to-
gether. Photo: International Rhino Foundation
Photo: Pexel
White rhino calf Photo: Wikimedia
We used a conservative dosage of 1-3 g of rhino horn for our calculations, either as a
single or a three-day treatment (Appendix I). The latter is a common minimum treat-
ment period in traditional Chinese medicine (Lan pers. comm.). We also used the high
end of values for horn weight, regrowth and rhino population size. Our estimates of
horn yield and potential market reach therefore represent a conservative best case
scenario. Our results on the quantitative relationship between rhino horn supply and
its potential market reach in China and Vietnam are therefore all the more alarming.
Our estimate of horn mass derived from annual dehorning operation on private land
(3,538 kg) exceeds the estimate of the South African Department of Environmental
Affair’s (approx. 2,500 kg) (DEA 2014). This difference is due to a larger proportion of
rhino owners that have indicated that they would participate in legal trade since DEA’s
assessment in 2014 (50% in 2014 vs. 80%, Knight 2016). The omission of rhino horn
from natural mortalities and break offs in our calculations had no significant effect on
the mismatch between the most optimistic estimates of horn supply and demand indi-
cated by this study.
Nearly a third (6.014) of South Africa’s 20,306 rhinos live on privately owned land or on so called farms.
Many of these facilities keep rhinos in modified landscapes, at unnaturally high densities, heavily skewed
sex ratios (about 1:1.5) (Warren 2015, Knight 2016, DEA 2014), dependend on supplementary food and
segregated from other species (Warren 2015). This practice contrasts unfavourably with biodiversity con-
servation. Photo: Ann & Steve Toon
Several market surveys offer indications of the scale of current and latent rhino horn
consumption amongst different demographics in Vietnam. These studies provide use-
ful points of reference for the findings of this study. A survey of 800 educated, urban,
traditional medicine users in Vietnam with an average monthly income of US$292
revealed that 59% (475) had either purchased or used rhino horn, or expressed an in-
terest in doing so in the future (Hanley et al. 2016). Sixteen percent (130) of partici-
pants had either used or purchased rhino horn in the past five years. Consumer choice
was significantly influenced by income, with wealthier participants more likely to have
purchased rhino horn in the past. The survey also revealed a notable preference for
wild sourced horn and the willingness to pay more for horn from poached rhinos (Han-
ley 2016). An earlier survey by TRAFFIC (2013) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City found
that 5% of the study group had purchased or consumed rhino horn or were doing so
now, and that 16% of those who were not using horn at the time, were intending to do
so in the future. Of the 720 individuals questioned only 35% declared that they were
Farming or conserva-
Nearly a third of South Africa’s
rhinos live on privately owned
land or on so called farms. Many
of these facilities keep rhinos in
modified landscapes, at unnatu-
rally high densities, heavily
skewed sex ratios, dependend on
supplementary food and segre-
gated from other species. This
practice contrasts unfavourably
with biodiversity conservation.
TCM shop in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong
Kong. Photo: Wikimedia
unwilling to purchase nor consume rhino horn. Due to different demographics, TRAF-
FIC’s and Hanley’s estimates for active rhino horn consumers of 5% and 16% are not
directly comparable. However, the observed difference might poit towards a rise in
demand, particularly amongst young, urban professionals.
A possible demand of 16% to 59% (Hanley 2016) and 5% also with a sizeable latent
market (TRAFFIC 2013), exceed the capacity of the world’s wild rhino populations to
accommodate even a one off prescription of rhino horn. The obvious disparity between
demand and the possible supply of horn from South Africa and from the country’s
privately owned rhinos further illustrates that sustainable legal international trade in
rhino horn is highly improbable.
The link between consumption and affluence identified by Hanley (2016) provides fur-
ther support for the notion that the size of Vietnam’s market is likely to expand. Vi-
etnam’s per capita income has grown from around US $100 in 1986 to US $2,100 by the
end of 2015 (The World Bank 2016). Its per capita GDP growth has been among the
fastest in the world in recent years, averaging 6.4% a year in the 2000s. As affluence
grows, demand for rhino horn and other wildlife products is likely to surge, unless
effective demand reduction initiatives are undertaken. Rhino horn trade enthusiast
Michael Eustace (2016) shares the belief in potential market expansion. “All the
poached horn sold from Africa is consumed by about 1-million people in the Far East
but there could be 500-million people that would buy horn at lower prices.” In contrast
to his peers, trade advocate John Hanks cautions that legalized rhino horn trade won’t
put a stop to poaching, nor could it operate as planned in the face of corruption or
without significantly enhanced field security (Crone 2016, see also Christy 2016). In
addition, all illegal activities would have to cease. It is unlikely that either, not to men-
tion all of these conditions will be met anytime soon.
The potential impact of Asian traditional medicine markets on wild species was
demonstrated in the 1990s, when well-intentioned conservation groups encouraged the
use of saiga antelope as a substitute for rhino horn. By 2003, rampant poaching for use
in TCM had decimated over one million Saiga to fewer than 30,000 individuals. Saiga
antelope were included in the IUCN Red List Endangered Species in 2002, and TCM
practitioners are now actively discouraged from using its horn. Instead, the horns of
water buffalo and cows are commonly promoted as alternatives to rhino horn.
Pro-trade proponents have suggested that „if things go wrong and poaching escalates“
further as a result of lifting the ban, rhino horn trade could either be “closed down or
restructured” after three or four years. Such plans are both unhelpful and impractical,
firstly because they risk setting off an illegal buying and poaching rush to exploit a
potentially limited window of opportunity as soon as trade is permitted. Secondly,
experience from rising exports of rhino horn as hunting trophies from so called “pseu-
do hunts” in South Africa illustrates that it can take seven years (2003-2009) before
such problems are recognised and addressed.
Northern white rhino once ranged across Uganda, South Sudan, the Central African
Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Around 2,000 survived in the wild
in 1960. Now they are down to the last three survivors. Forty-three-year-old Sudan is
the last male of his kind. He lives in Kenya in the company of armed rangers who
guard him around the clock. Sudan is probably the most famous and most photo-
graphed rhino on earth - an example of how we pay attention to what’s rare and how
we are touched by loss and lost opportunities.
Sudan is the last male Nothern White Rhino in the world. He lives in Kenya and is protected by armed
rangers around the clock. Photo: Amy Vitale
Saving rhinos will involve a host of urgent initiatives in both range states and consum-
er countries. Addressing issues of social justice and marginalization amongst disen-
franchised communities near protected areas is one of the priorities. But besides
providing vital ecosystem services, protected areas also generate an estimated US$ 600
billion a year in direct in-country expenditure and US $250 billion a year in consumer
surplus (Balmford et al. 2015). Yet just US $8 billion are spent on them in return. Rein-
vesting some of these funds to maintain protected areas and support the local commu-
Rhino horns, rhino feet and traditional medi-
cines confiscated in the United States.
Photo: USFWS
Not enough
All the poached horn sold from Africa is
consumed by about 1-million people in the
Far East but there could be 500-million
people that would buy horn at lower
Michael Eustace
nities who live in their vicinity will go some way towards solving the problem. But
resolving poverty in South Africa cannot be contingent on international trade in rhino
horn or ivory for that matter. To suggest that it is, is at best misguided and at worst a
cynical attempt to distract from the underlying causes of inequality that persist in
South Africa (Hübschle 2016 a). The promise of quick and easy cash to lift disadvan-
taged communities out of poverty through rhino horn trade is likely to successfully
rally the desired pro-trade support amongst those communities and rouse anger
against those who oppose it. But taking this route is a dangerous game because, as the
experience in Zimbabwe has shown, once these unrealistic expectations are thwarted,
the resulting anger and frustration is likely to turn once again against protected areas
and wildlife.
Regulating legal trade without substantial quantities of illegally obtained horn leaking
onto the market is not within our grasp due to significant and persistent governance
issues in range states and consumer countries (see Amman 2013a, Annonymous 2015,
Hübschle 2016 a,b). The Sixteenth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP16) of
CITES (Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna
and Flora) required member countries implicated in the rhino horn trade, to “develop
and implement long-term demand reduction strategies or programmes and immediate
actions aimed at reducing the illegal movement and consumption of rhino horn prod-
ucts” (COP 16; Decision 16.85). Since then thousands of rhinos have died for their horn.
Change is possible. But we have to really want it and commit to it. Demand reduction
initiatives for shark fin soup in China have been extremely successful in a comparative-
ly short time and are said to have cut consumption by an estimated 70% (Wu 2015).
The crippling practice of foot binding came to an end in the middle part of the last
century and panda bears, once the target of relentless hunting, are finally making a
Photo: Andamanse
The size of the market for rhino horn in Vietnam and China and the sophisticated
global criminal cartels that supply it mean that there can be no such thing as “regulat-
ed and limited trade” when it comes to rhino horn. Nor will South Africa’s private
rhino owners or the country’s entire rhino population be able to “flood the market”
with “harvested” horn. Instead, legal trade in rhino horn would flood the whole of
Africa with mutilated rhino corpses. Our results have shown that there simply are not
enough rhinos left anywhere to satisfy demand. Legalising trade would vastly outstrip
supply, because illegal rhino horn would continue to be laundered into legal flows,
exacerbated by the likelihood of a continued market for rhino horn sourced from wild
populations due to expressed consumer preferences. Thus, lifting the ban will hasten
the demise of rhinos across all 14 range states.
Our time with rhinos could soon be running out. Alternatively, our relationship with
them may irreversibly degenerate into that between farmer and livestock. We there-
fore urge all South Africans, including local communities, to consider the likely impact
of legalized rhino horn trade on their own rhinos and on those that live beyond their
borders. We also appeal to the delegates of the 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES
and the citizens of rhino range states and consumer nations to unite on behalf of the
world’s beleaguered rhinos and send a strong message that rhino horn consumption
and trade have had their day.
Appendix I
Examples of doses for rhino horn in traditional Asian and allied medicines either as a
single ingredient or as part of compound prescriptions.
Literature Source
0.05 g/kg
Dependent on patient’s body weight
But et al. 1990, Tsai 1995, Liu et al. 2011
Daily dose. Vietnam
Do et al. 2006
Jennes F. & Flaws B. 2006
Daily dose
中医公益学堂 业内相关 中医书籍 图书 药材 药方剂
名医 医案心得 专栏 杂集
Anonymous 2016b, Chinese Herb Academy, Anonymous 2016a,
Jiao Shu-De 3003, Hempen C-H. 2009
Anonymous 2012
Anonymous 2016d
Asian rhino horn
Anonymous 2016c
Chinese Herb Academy, Anonymous 2016a
Liu et al. 2004, Joe Hing kwok 2013, Nowell 2012
Daily dose. Vietnam
Do et al. 2006
Daily for two weeks
Hübschle 2016a p 355
Jiao Shu-De 2003
Liu et al. 2004
Twice daily
Joiner 2001
Asian rhino horn
Anonymous 2016c
Liu et al. 2004
Cancer, 3 x daily
Joiner 2001
Hempen C-H. 2009
Gonzalez C.J. 2005
Veterinary use, 2 x daily
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中医公益学堂 业内相关 中医书籍 图书 药材 药方剂 名医 医案心得 专栏 : www. Accessed
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... (M. 't Sas-Rolfes, 2012; 't Sas-Rolfes, 2015; F. Aguayo, Nadal, Alejandro, 2014;Epsley, 2017;M Eustace, 2015;Fischer, 2004;Kotze, 2014aKotze, , 2014bMaas, 2016;Y. Taylor, 2014;Wiltshire, 2015) 2.4.1 Problems in Assessment ...
... Kotze therefore concluded that the demand for rhino horn was 'insatiable' (Kotze, 2014a). Maas used similar methods in her paper to come to the conclusion that the demand created by TCM could not be satisfied by legal methods (Maas, 2016). ...
... rhino horn(M Eustace, 2015;Kotze, 2014b;Maas, 2016;Wiltshire, 2015) they differed considerably. Taylor et al. presented a comprehensive assessment by several well regarded experts in the field (A. Taylor, Balfour, D., Brebner, D., K., Coetzee, R., Davies-Mostert, H., Lindsey, P., Shaw, J., 't Sas-Rolfe, M., 2017). ...
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Many issues regarding wildlife trade are fiercely debated; often the various stakeholder groups have entrenched opposing positions which makes building consensus around the best solution/s extremely difficult. This is exacerbated in that stakeholders often come from entirely different disciplines and philosophical that no common vocabulary or acceptable method of discussing the problem to reach a consensus exists. This study examines the use of a blend of two decision support methodologies, scenario formulation and a Delphi Study as part of a stakeholder analysis in building consensus in the debate on the legalisation of the international trade in rhino horn. The results gathered from the responses to two consecutive online questionnaires show the development of significant consensus over the process and performed far better in this regard than a traditional public debate. In addition, four decision scenarios – Fort Knox, Besieged, Arms Race and Golden Circle were crafted for wider use in public fora and a possible ‘Baptists and Bootlegger’ type of unwitting alliance between Animal Rights NGOs and Poachers, Middlemen and Criminal Syndicates was indicated.
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The illegal wildlife trade is emblematic of the underlying complexities that exist in bilateral relations. There is a discrepancy between diplomatic and unofficial spaces, and between supply and demand countries (as in the case of China and South Africa), which translates into a lack of common understanding in policy spaces and societies on the intrinsic value of wildlife. This contributes to larger debates about the relationship between economic development and conservation in Africa. Moreover, there are wider concerns about the asymmetrical nature of China–Africa relations, and uneven respect for local laws and values as China’s engagement increases on the continent. Underlying this are the South African public and others’ perceptions of China, despite its having responded concretely to the conservation of wildlife.
Technical Report
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The CITES Parties, through Resolution Conf 9.14 (Rev. CoP15), have mandated IUCN SSC’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG), Asian Rhino Specialist Group (AsRSG) and TRAFFIC to prepare a comprehensive report for the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP17) on the conservation status of African and Asian rhinoceros species, trade in specimens, stocks and stock management, illegal killing, enforcement issues, conservation actions and management strategies and measures by implicated States to end illegal use and consumption of rhino parts and derivatives. This report primarily deals with developments since CoP16.
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A multi-sectorial regime of protection including international treaties, conservation and security measures, demand reduction campaigns and quasi-military interventions has been established to protect rhinos. Despite these efforts, the poaching of rhinos and trafficking of rhino horn continue unabated. This dissertation asks why the illegal market in rhinoceros horn is so resilient in spite of the myriad measures employed to disrupt it. A theoretical approach grounded in the sociology of markets is applied to explain the structure and functioning of the illegal market. The project follows flows of rhino horn from the source in southern Africa to illegal markets in Southeast Asia. The multi-sited ethnography included participant observations, interviews and focus groups with 416 informants during fourteen months of fieldwork. The sample comprised of, amongst others, convicted and active rhino poachers, smugglers and kingpins, private rhino breeders and hunting outfitters, African and Asian law enforcement officials, as well as affected local communities and Asian consumers. Court files, CITES trade data, archival materials, newspaper reports and social media posts were also analysed to supplement findings and to verify and triangulate data from interviews, focus groups and observations. Central to the analysis is the concept of “contested illegality”, a legitimization mechanism employed by market participants along the different segments of the horn supply chain. These actors' implicit or explicit contestation of the state-sponsored label of illegality serves as a legitimising and enabling mechanism, facilitating participation in gray or illegal markets for rhino horn. The research identified fluid interfaces between legal, illegal and gray markets, with recurring actors who have access to transnational trade structures, and who also possess market and product knowledge, as well as information about the regulatory regime and its loopholes. It is against the background of colonial, apartheid and neoliberal exploitation and marginalization of local communities that a second argument is introduced: the path dependency of conservation paradigms. Underpinning rhino conservation and regulation are archaic and elitist conservation regimes that discount the potential for harmonious relationships between local communities and wildlife. The increasing militarization of anti-poaching measures and green land grabs are exacerbating the rhino problem by alienating communities further from conservation areas and wild animals. The third argument looks at how actors deal with coordination problems in transnational illegal markets. Resolving the coordination problems of cooperation, value and competition are considered essential to the operation of formal markets. It is argued that the problem of security provides an additional and crucial obstacle to actors transacting in markets. The systematic analysis of flows between the researched sites of production, distribution and consumption of rhino horn shows that the social embeddedness of actors facilitates the flourishing of illegal markets in ways that escape an effective enforcement of CITES regulations.
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The onslaught on the World's rhinoceroses continues despite numerous initiatives aimed at curbing it. When losses due to poaching exceed birth rates, declining rhino populations result. We used previously published estimates and growth rates for black rhinos (2008) and white rhinos (2010) together with known poaching trends at the time to predict population sizes and poaching rates in Kruger National Park, South Africa for 2013. Kruger is a stronghold for the south-eastern black rhino and southern white rhino. Counting rhinos on 878 blocks 3x3 km in size using helicopters, estimating availability bias and collating observer and detectability biases allowed estimates using the Jolly's estimator. The exponential escalation in number of rhinos poached per day appears to have slowed. The black rhino estimate of 414 individuals (95% confidence interval: 343-487) was lower than the predicted 835 individuals (95% CI: 754-956). The white rhino estimate of 8,968 individuals (95% CI: 8,394-9,564) overlapped with the predicted 9,417 individuals (95% CI: 7,698-11,183). Density- and rainfall-dependent responses in birth- and death rates of white rhinos provide opportunities to offset anticipated poaching effects through removals of rhinos from high density areas to increase birth and survival rates. Biological management of rhinos, however, need complimentary management of the poaching threat as present poaching trends predict detectable declines in white rhino abundances by 2018. Strategic responses such as anti-poaching that protect supply from illegal harvesting, reducing demand, and increasing supply commonly require crime network disruption as a first step complimented by providing options for alternative economies in areas abutting protected areas.
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Large wild herbivores are crucial to ecosystems and human societies. We highlight the 74 largest terrestrial herbi-vore species on Earth (body mass > – 100 kg), the threats they face, their important and often overlooked ecosystem effects, and the conservation efforts needed to save them and their predators from extinction. Large herbivores are generally facing dramatic population declines and range contractions, such that ~60% are threatened with extinction. Nearly all threatened species are in developing countries, where major threats include hunting, land-use change, and resource depression by livestock. Loss of large herbivores can have cascading effects on other species including large carnivores, scavengers, mesoherbivores, small mammals, and ecological processes involving vegetation , hydrology, nutrient cycling, and fire regimes. The rate of large herbivore decline suggests that ever-larger swaths of the world will soon lack many of the vital ecological services these animals provide, resulting in enormous ecological and social costs.
Phytotherapy is the most important therapeutic in Traditional Chinese Medicine and stands above acupuncture, dietetics, Qigong and Tui-Na. This book offers an easy approach to this complex field in Chinese medicine by describing 300 of the most important medical substances. Each remedy is attractively presented and illustrated. Written by two experts in the field, this successful book provides an easily accessible reference for both trainee and practicing acupuncturists and therapists.
Global trade in illegal wildlife is a growing illicit economy, estimated to be worth at least $5 billion and potentially in excess of $20 billion annually. Some of the most lucrative illicit wildlife commodities include tiger parts, caviar, elephant ivory, rhino horn, and exotic birds and reptiles. Demand for illegally obtained wildlife is ubiquitous, and some suspect that illicit demand is growing. International wildlife smuggling may be of interest to Congress as it presents several potential environmental and national security threats to the United States. Threats to the environment include the potential loss of biodiversity, introduction of invasive species into U.S. ecosystems, and transmission of disease through illegal wildlife trade, including through illegal bushmeat trade. National security threats include links between wildlife trafficking and organized crime and drug trafficking. Some terrorist groups may also be seeking to finance their activities through illegal wildlife trade, according to some experts. Wildlife source and transit countries may be especially prone to exploitation if known to have weak state capacity, poor law enforcement, corrupt governments, and porous borders. The U.S. government addresses illegal wildlife trade through several national and international venues. Congress has passed numerous laws that regulate and restrict certain types of wildlife imports and exports, including the Endangered Species Act of 1973, the Lacey Act and Lacey Act Amendments of 1981, and several species-specific conservation laws. These laws and others establish authorities and guidelines for wildlife trade inspection at ports of entry, and wildlife crime law enforcement and prosecution. Internationally, the United States is party to several wildlife conservation treaties, including the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which serves as the primary vehicle for regulating wildlife trade. Foreign training and assistance programs to combat illegal wildlife trade are also conducted by some federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of State, which leads an international initiative against wildlife trafficking. The role of Congress in evaluating U.S. policy to combat wildlife trafficking is broad. Potential issues for Congress include (1) determining funding levels for U.S. wildlife trade inspection and investigation; (2) evaluating the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid to combat wildlife trafficking; (3) developing ways to encourage privatesector involvement in regulating the wildlife trade; (4) using trade sanctions to penalize foreign countries with weak enforcement of wildlife laws; (5) incorporating wildlife trade provisions into free trade agreements; and (6) addressing the domestic and international demand for illegal wildlife through public awareness campaigns and non-governmental organization partnerships. This book focuses on the international trade in terrestrial fauna, largely excluding trade in illegal plants, including timber, and fish.
A monitoring project of the Javan rhino was conducted so as to understand the extent to which the growth of this population has succeeded. Monitoring was conducted by making use of camera traps, which were strategically placed by using a stratified sampling method based on the area of concentration of Javan rhino. The population size of Javan rhino in 2013 was a minimal 58 individuals consisting of 8 calves and 50 sub adults or adults with a sex ratio of 35 males: 23 females. The birth rate was recorded at 13.79% while the mortality rate was 3.45%. We also recorded 4 new calves in 2013. © 2015 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. All rights reserved.