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  • Richard Conniff

  • Reviews for Richard Conniff’s Books

    Every Creeping Thing: True Tales of Faintly Repulsive Wildlife: “Conniff is a splendid writer–fresh, clear, uncondescending, and with never a false step; one can’t resist quoting him.” (NY Times Book Review)

    The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth by Richard Conniff is “a swashbuckling romp” that “brilliantly evokes that just-before Darwin era” (BBC Focus) and “an enduring story bursting at the seams with intriguing, fantastical and disturbing anecdotes” (New Scientist). “This beautifully written book has the verve of an adventure story” (Wall St. Journal)

    Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time by Richard Conniff  is “Hilariously informative…This book will remind you why you always wanted to be a naturalist.” (Outside magazine) “Field naturalist Conniff’s animal adventures … are so amusing and full color that they burst right off the page …  a quick and intensely pleasurable read.” (Seed magazine) “Conniff’s poetic accounts of giraffes drifting past like sail boats, and his feeble attempts to educate Vervet monkeys on the wonders of tissue paper will leave your heart and sides aching.  An excellent read.” (BBC Focus magazine)

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Posts Tagged ‘legalization’

Legal Rhino Horn Trade? Both Sides Say Save Rhinos in Wild First

Posted by Richard Conniff on February 3, 2015

(Photo: courtesy of IUCN/ David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation)

(Photo: courtesy of IUCN/ David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation)

At a recent mediation session in Cape Town, activists for and against legalized trade in rhino horns met to find common ground on saving rhinos in the wild.  Both were mainly worried by the rising toll of animals being poached in South Africa, up to 1215 last year, from almost none in 2007.  Here’s an excerpt from the report in South Africa’s Daily Maverick:

All participants agreed that, in the light of likely voting patterns when CITES members next meet in Cape Town (in March 2016), it is unrealistic to expect any changes to the legislation for the trade in rhino products. Indeed, it appears that even if successfully motivated, legalisation in the trade of rhino products would not happen within the next decade, at which point, based on current poaching statistics, rhinos in the wild could well

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Posted in Business Behaviors, Conservation and Extinction | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Why A Legal Rhino Horn Trade Won’t Help

Posted by Richard Conniff on October 25, 2013

The killing of rhinos for their horns has become so widespread that some people are predicting rhinos will vanish from much of Africa in five years.  South Africa has already lost 700 rhinos this year, as of the end of September.  Game ranchers there, who have decades of experience breeding rhinos, have argued for a legalized trade in horn, as a way to end the illegal killing.

This analysis by the web site Annamiticus systematically kicks that idea in the ass.  It’s long and I don’t agree with all of it.  (For instance, it treats the idea that “commercial interests” are behind the idea as automatically a bad thing.  But commercial interests are also behind ecotourism and organic gardening.  Criminal interests, or poorly regulated commercial interests, on the other hand, are a serious issue.)

Still, it’s worth a look for anyone cares about the future of wildlife:

Do the arguments in favor of a legalized trade in rhino horn stand up to basic scrutiny?

Let’s take a look at the nine most common myths perpetuated by rhino horn trade advocates.

Myth #1. “A legal trade in rhino horn is the ‘rhino poaching’ solution.”

In 1996, a total of six rhinos were killed illegally in South Africa, down from ten the prior year. At the Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES in 1997, South Africa sought to expand its Southern white rhino trade from “international trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations and hunting trophies” to include rhinoceros “parts and derivatives”.
However — even at a time when illegal killing numbers were declining (the total was four in 1997, then one in 1998 and 1999) respectively — the Parties determined that South Africa lacked “adequate control mechanisms” for a legal trade.

Today, evidence suggests that South Africa’s “control mechanisms” have declined even further. Since 2003, unscrupulous members of South Africa’s private rhino community have been implicated in rhino horn trafficking. Even more troubling, is that very few of these game farmers, professional hunters and safari operators have been convicted. Pseudo-hunts continued unabated with the apparent knowledge of provincial authorities, while hundreds of rhino horns and trophies were exported to Vietnam and Laos with the approval of South Africa’s CITES authorities. Following negative international publicity about the Vietnamese pseudo-hunts and Julian Rademeyer’s ground-breaking book Killing for Profit, South African trafficking networks apparently attempted to use connections in the Czech Republic.

Mary Rice, executive director of Environmental Investigation Agency’s London office, explains that “commercial interests” are behind South Africa’s pro-trade rhino policies.

Powerful commercial interests in South Africa are seeking to cash in on their stockpiled horn at the expense of the conservation and survival of South Africa’s rhinos. Legalizing rhino horn trade will reward the criminal kingpins behind the poaching, pushing rhinos inside and outside of South Africa Read the rest of this entry »

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