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Overview of the rhino crisis & ivory auctions vs rhino horn sales

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Image: By Quintus Strauss

Originally published on


We often meet people who have gathered perspectives on the rhino poaching situation primarily from press articles or friends and Facebook groups.

We would like to offer an overview of the rhino crisis from our own perspective, with facts and figures that clearly demonstrate how the ban on trade has failed, and continues to fail our rhinos. Please feel free to share this article with people who may have an interest in the rhino issue.

Rhino Crisis Overview

Many articles cite the limited and isolated sales of ivory as failures for elephant conservation and they use these to illustrate the dangers of a potential legal trade in rhino horn.

The table below was compiled to raise some facts about the ivory auctions and to highlight the difference between the two concepts.

Recent articles of interest:

Ivo Vegter’s smart and eloquent response to Melanie Verwoerd’s opinion piece on legalising rhino horn sales:
The big problem with opposing legal rhino horn sales

Rhino poaching incidents have been rampant over the past couple of months. With the vast majority of poaching incidents taking place in our national reserves, the importance of private reserves in rhino conservation and protection cannot be over-emphasized.
16 Rhino carcasses found at the Kruger

An interesting write-up from India, where national parks are also battling with a drastic increase in rhino poaching incidents:
Sell the horn, save the rhino

We are always interested in, and supportive of ethical sustainable utilisation models and this example of ‘the Three Amigos’ resonates with South Africa’s current rhino situation. An interesting blog article by Andrew Wyatt:
Extinction vs. Captive Conservation: The fate of the Three Amigos

© Quintus Strauss

Thank you to Quintus Strauss for this beautiful rhino photo and to our subscribers for their ongoing support, time and assistance in keeping the rhino horn sale debate alive, factual and balanced.

Kind regards,

The RhinoAlive Team

RhinoAlive is a group of concerned individuals, conservationists and rhino owners. We have collaborated with PROA (Private Rhino Owner’s Association) and WRSA (Wildlife Ranching South Africa) to further information on aspects of legalising international rhino horn trade.

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Conservation Influencers

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.

Franz Weber Foundation

From 1990 until 2015, Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) managed the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, which was, according to an in-depth investigation by Duke University, ‘established by forcing the local communities off their land and without taking into consideration their point of view’. That same study cited convincing evidence from reports published in 1990, confirming that competition for land use was already ‘creating conflict between the local communities and park managers’. In 2015 Togo refused to renew FFW’s contract because, the report says, ‘local communities were still excluded from the management of the natural resources of their land’ and FFW had ‘failed to fulfil its contract’. Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. Contrary to the wishes of the range states in Southern Africa, which manage most of the world’s wild elephant populations, the AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And the AEC uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair, which Southern African nations wish to legalise.