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CITES loses plot

07 June 2013, 18:30
I read with interest the concerns of Mr John M. Sellar about legalizing the selling of harvested rhino horn.

The point that Mr Sellar is missing is that no CITES ban has worked to date for either elephant poaching, neither rhino poaching and this becomes very clear when we look at the rate at which elephants are disappearing in Central, East and West Africa. CITES has thus failed.

From 2008 onward, rhino poaching has increased immensely and CITES is still clinging to an old, outdated believe that their international ban on trading in rhino horn or for that matter any animal products would have an effect. The opposite has become very clear and CITES has become a toothless organisation that has seemingly lost touch with a changing environment.

I also strongly believe that CITES is not above 'being bought' and please note the inverted commas. This we see with the permission they granted for further exploitation of blue fin tuna regardless of the fact that the majority of environmental scientists have warned that the species might not survive until the next CITES meeting.

The question is, how long it will take CITES to realize that it's policies are playing a decisive role in wildlife disappearing from Africa and what would it take to convince them that they do not have a role to play in Africa any longer? Shall we wait until all our rhinos have been poached and Central, East and West Africa have lost all their elephants?

Sellar also criticizes South Africa's plans to legalize the sales of legally obtained rhino horn, but does he have an alternative solution? The answer is no and he is making noises and suggestions that would only benefit rhino horn syndicates and definitely not the species.

Africa has enough people who work on ground level and understand the challenges of the continent. We have excellent (and very concerned) environmental scientists that must be heard.  There are solutions for many if not most of our wildlife and environmental challenges from within the continent. We don't need a computer model driven by someone in a suit in a multi-million dollar office block that has no understanding of what the challenges are on ground level.

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