Book Talk-Legalize rhino horn trade to reduce poaching

Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:10am EDT
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By Ed Stoddard

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Almost two rhinos are being poached each day in South Africa to meet surging Asian demand for their horns which are now worth more than their weight in gold.

With the death toll in 2012 to date at close to 300, South Africa looks certain to lose far more than the 448 rhinos it lost last year to poachers.

Against the backdrop of this carnage, Clive Walker, one of South Africa's most respected conservationists, and his son Anton, argue in the "The Rhino Keepers" that the global community should seriously consider lifting a ban on trade in rhino horn.

Like America's "War on Drugs", prohibiting the sale of rhino horn has not prevented people from trying to get their hands on the stuff, and they are willing to pay very high prices.

Clive Walker spoke to Reuters ahead of the recent launch of the book.

Q: What prompted you to write the book and take the approach you took?

A: "I wanted to approach the subject with an open, neutral mind because the issue is very sensitive, very controversial."

Q: The crisis is escalating. Do you think rhinos could go extinct in our lifetime?   Continued...

A White Rhino and her calf walk in the dusk light in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings