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John Hanks: The Fight Against Poaching is Futile; We Need to Legalise the Trade in Rhino Horn

Operation Lock and the War on Rhino PoachingJohn Hanks, zoologist and author of Operation Lock and the War on Rhino Poaching, is passionate about protecting rhinos and believes that the best way to do this is to legalise the trade in rhino horn.

In an article for DPA International, Kristin Palitza explains Hanks’ argument for his controversial opinion. Hanks points to the ineffectiveness the ban; the trade being made illegal has made no difference to the volume of trade in horn.

Hannks says, “We can’t win the battle by chasing poachers”. He illustrates that this approach is blind to reality, by telling the story of an impoverished Mozambican man named Albano Mapie:

Albano Mapie lives in a small village in southern Mozambique. He has been unemployed for years. Every day is a struggle for survival – until strangers offer him 1,500 dollars to kill a rhino in neighbouring Kruger National Park and saw off its horn.

A few days later, Mapie is dead. Rangers catch him red-handed and shoot him when he tries to escape.

When one poacher is caught, dozens of poverty-stricken others are ready to take his place, says South African zoologist John Hanks, using Mapie’s story to highlight the futility of the fight against poaching.

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