Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by leopardlushes, 5 Oct 2010.
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Why is this so bad? I thought ivory was legal if humanely harvested, either through trimming or natural death. In this situation couldn't the zoo sell it themselves and make a profit, even making a fantastic new enclosure for the rhinos?
Durr! Because it legitimises and prepetuates the killing of endangered animals by keeping the market alive and prices up. Plus, illegally sourced horn could then be more easily passed off as legal product.
Well, who am I to argue with the legitimate argument of 'durr'? Umm... anyway, it's a well known fact that rarity keeps the prices up, if it was available through a legitimate source then it would be less desirable as a result. So how would legally available product do anything but harm to the illegal wildlife trade.
There is an academic in New Zealand who is arguing that, as decades of "education" have failed to deter people from using rhino and tiger products and as the wild populations of these species are continuing to plummet, why should we not approach the problem from the opposite angle and captive breed to supply the demand?
Worked for crocodiles.
Unfortunately even if legitimate product was released the supply would still be very scarce (how many legitimate horns a year would reach market) so whilst the price might fall it would still remain very high*. This would do nothing to discourage poaching from which illegal product would enter the supply chain posing as legal product via fake paperwork. And let's face it in some parts of the world a mere semblance of legaility would be enough.
*Additionally, there's a possibility that increased and legal supply would increase demand and keep prices high in any case.
Rhino horn is hair, not ivory. So I guess that's a 'double durr'.
There's a lot of controls in place for the legal harvesting and export of elephant ivory, and I presume something similar for rhino horn. It would be extremely difficult for a zoo in the UK to be able to legally sell the horn of a dead rhino.
Nice idea, but only in theory.
Whilst it's fairly straightforward to increase the supply of Crocodiles (short gestation, many youngsters per batch, can be kept in small enclosures) it's very difficult to increase the population of Rhinos (ong gestation, one youngster at a time, larger areas needed to farm).
Whilst Tiger gestation is significantly shorter (than Rhinos) and multiple births common they still need a fair amount of space. I'm still not certain, given these factors, it would be economically viable and, besides, how large a captive population would be required before an argument could be made to kill them prematurely (why wait 15-20 years until natural death, no-one wants a old Tigers skin). In any case I still think the market price would be so high that there'd still be incentive to poach animals and portray them as legitimately farmed.
And that's not even considering the inevitable outraged reaction of the public and media......
I don't have a source, but havn't they tried tiger farming somewhere for just this reason, yet it wasn't economical since it cost too much to keep it running?
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