Arrogance of the privileged

2015-12-23 06:00

PRINCE Harry, on his second visit to South Africa in a few months, would have us believe that a stint working with a couple of vets in Namibia, a tour of KZN game parks, being embedded in an anti-poaching patrol skirmish in Kruger Park and visiting a rhino sanctuary for a cuddle with rhino orphans, qualifies him to assert, with immutable ­confidence, that legalisation of the rhino-horn trade will “accelerate the path to extinction” for the threatened species (News24 - 2 December).

Had the prince bothered to take note of the statements made by the late Dr Ian Player in a filmed interview (Rhino in Crisis - A Blueprint for Survival) done shortly before his death in November last year, where he emphasises in an impassioned plea to Cites the need to allow South Africa to trade in legally acquired horn in order to prevent the inexorable drift towards extinction characterised in the poaching statistics in these past nine years, he could have saved himself considerable embarrassment.

But celebrity status and the arrogance that surrounds privileged wisdom rose to the surface and we have instead a member of royalty prescribing, with regal authority, that proof of his claim lies in the bizarre fact that the battle, through law enforcement, can be won, and it is to be found in the pitiful account of a rhino cow, its horn hacked off by ­poachers and nursed to recovery, giving birth to a calf.

Really.

What in heaven’s name has that got to do with saving rhino from poachers in the wild in the first place?

Playing touch rugby and engaging in fund-raising polo matches - without falling off his horse - might be more appropriate for the prince than floundering in knee-jerked sermonising over subjects as complex as rhino conservation.


DAVID COOK

Former Natal Parks Board Deputy Director

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