Monday, August 22, 2011

265 Rhinos killed this year

We cannot continue to behave like victims while the Chinese profit from Africa's forests, coal, mineral wealth and now our wildlife heritage due to our lack of sustainable conscience and easily bought government officials, but appealing to the Chinese appetite for commerce may be an option.

We need to call for a moratorium on Chinese imports and an immediate boycott on all Chinese goods until the Chinese government makes some sort of moral stand to publicly renounce the medicinal value of rhino horn and criminalise possession of it in its own country. I believe USA, UK and Europe would support this, they are Safari's biggest fans. The UK is already making a stand.

We also need to put pressure on President Zuma to use his influence with the Chinese Government to address this. If the Big 5 is diminished to the Big 4, the entire tourism industry will suffer and Zuma's big hope for new jobs will disintegrate.

We may also need to consider how all the rhino sold into Chinese 'breeding' projects are being managed. If the poaching slows down its only because China have purchased a sufficient breeding population to harvest their own horn and once again claim the domain on an economy that we should have led.

Right now, we need foot soldiers. Making an appeal to CITES for a once off sale of South Africa's stock pile of rhino horn could help fund this army and considerably devalue its appeal as rare commodity. It would also discourage unscrupulous private rhino breeders from fetching a high price. The enemy is not only in Asia.

This kind of brutality makes it hard to avoid an emotional response that will invariably end with prejudice. The world has enough prejudice-driven hatred to contend with. We need to maintain that this is not a cultural issue but rather an economic one, fuelled by China's massive population and buying power.

Let's be sure the way we fight this is a precedent we will be proud to to retell in the history books.