Identification Of Policies For A Sustainable Legal Trade In Rhinoceros
December 2014, Volume 12-6

Enrico di Minin, Jussi Laitila, Federico Montesino-Pouzols, Nigel Leader-Williams, Rob Slotow, Peter S. Goodman, Anthony J. Conway, Atte Moilanen. Identification of Policies for a Sustainable Legal Trade in Rhinoceros Horn Based on Population Projection and Socioeconomic Models. Conservation Biology, 2014;


Between 1990 and 2007, 15 southern white (Ceratotherium simum simum) and black (Diceros bicornis) rhinoceroses on average were killed illegally every year in South Africa. Since 2007 illegal killing of southern white rhinoceros for their horn has escalated to >950 individuals/year in 2013. We conducted an ecological–economic analysis to determine whether a legal trade in southern white rhinoceros horn could facilitate rhinoceros protection. Generalized linear models were used to examine the socioeconomic drivers of poaching, based on data collected from 1990 to 2013, and to project the total number of rhinoceroses likely to be illegally killed from 2014 to 2023. Rhinoceros population dynamics were then modeled under 8 different policy scenarios that could be implemented to control poaching. We also estimated the economic costs and benefits of each scenario under enhanced enforcement only and a legal trade in rhinoceros horn and used a decision support framework to rank the scenarios with the objective of maintaining the rhinoceros population above its current size while generating profit for local stakeholders. The southern white rhinoceros population was predicted to go extinct in the wild