Peter Gwin, in the March 2012 issue of National Geographic, discusses the medical, economic, and environmental issues surrounding the collection and use of rhino horn in his piece “Rhino Wars.” Numerous cultures have ancient traditions with foundations in the medical use of horn, however modern research is now looking to see if there is justifiable proof to those claims. Black markets trade in millions of dollars in illegal
trafficking, and many nature preserves are now funding conservation and operations
with responsible harvesting. Environmental groups warn of the dwindling numbers and social interaction of rhino groups from poaching, as well as live harvesting and leaving the individual to grow the horn back.
Do the ends justify the means? If the market is immune to efforts to eliminate demand, and there is beginning to be legitimate research grounded in rhino horn, is live-harvesting as eco-friendly as it should and could be? Is using those funds to support conservation efforts enough to put black markets out of business? Find it in the library and check it out!