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A Letter to John Hume, SA biggest Rhino Breeder
Why don't you do the following:
Request a meeting with the Minister of
Environment and Head of Department of Environment and Tourism.
At the meeting you request permission for a
one off auction to sell all your rhino horn and rhino horn from
other private individuals.
Point out that the precedent was set in the
eighties when South Africa's National Parks had ivory auctions
in which Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese buyers participated in
the purchase of ivory from culled elephants in Kruger National
The money from those auctions, went back into
the protection and conservation of elephants in South Africa.
Rhino horn, ivory and leopard skins confiscated from poachers by
Zambian national parks
Picture: John Bassi
If they do not grant you permission for the
auction then you create a global event.
When Richard Leakey got President Moi to burn
the ivory in Nairobi, he attracted world attention. You may not
have agreed with Leakey's actions in destroying the resource,
but he forced the global fraternity to focus attention on the
In your case, you go ahead with the auction,
informing the South African Government of your intentions. If
you would like me to stand beside you, I will do so.
You invite 100 private individuals who have
rhino horn from dead or dehorned rhino to join you in the
You hire the biggest and most efficient
Public Relations Company you can find and you create a global
event of films, speakers, activists and the auction. Rather like
Ian Player's wilderness congress some years ago.
If you were on your own, the Government could
arrest you. I doubt if the Government could arrest 100 high
profile, private individuals trading openly in rhino horn and
advertising the auction globally.
If the Government agrees to the auction, then
you have one step in the door for the legal trade of rhino
Good luck and Tread Lightly on the Earth.
How sad that Mr Varty chooses this option for our wildlife
knowing full well that the once off sale of Ivory to Japan and
China has fuelled this Elephant poaching crises that we have
today. Tragic that this is what he wants for our rhino. Trade
will not stop poaching or illegal horns, proper protection and a
willing Government will. Instead of opting for true conservation
Mr Varty has opted for human greed.
I’ve enjoyed your antics (BTW: I say ‘antics’ in
the nicest possible way) for a good number of years starting
with the stuff you made with Elmon in the early years. The
letter you penned to John Hume, posted widely on FB, leaves
me a little puzzled. Controversy for the sake of controversy
is fine but we live with the consequences. I suppose more
correctly our children live with the dreck we leave behind.
Are you really of the opinion that rhino horn sales be made
legal? If so why?
Dear Tiger Canyons:
I hope that you did send this
letter to Mr. Hume, as the current poaching of rhino’s
is nothing but extermination, as is the case with
I disagree with this strategy.
Whilst the sale of an already procured resource,
accessed either by de-horning or the confiscation of
poached items, may seem attractive and logical due
to its value, that value is derived and supported by
demand, a demand which will be further encouraged by
This is one of the most disappointing aspects of
funding the protection of wild species, that the
most valuable resource driving extinction can and
should not be used to support conservation
I agree that we need to develop large funds to
support conservation efforts in all areas of the
world and for all endangered species and habitat;
some of the more endangered have little intrinsic
value available to drive support efforts and perhaps
it is here where the fundraising strategy which I
hope to discuss with you soon could be most
Unfortunately many in this world see nothing of
value unless it can produce a profit. Wouldn’t it be
great to turn this around in favour of natural
resource management rather than bank balance
I hope we can talk soon
To: John Varty
You obviously supports the
legal sale of Rhino horn and elephant ivory much
to my surprise. I have to strongly disagree
with you. There is not and never will be enough
rhino horn and elephant ivory to satisfy the
market for these products. One-off sales have
not worked in the past to stop the poaching.
They only feed the desire for more of the
product. The huge influx of Chinese workers
into Africa have been instrumental in the
increase of poaching. The growing middle class
in China has increased the markets for ivory and
The only way to stop the poaching is to
educate the Asian people. I watched a
documentary just recently where many Chinese
were interviewed and asked if they knew that
elephants are being killed to get the ivory the
people are buying. Most of them said they
didn’t realize that and appeared shocked. The
world has to put pressure on the Asian
governments – mainly China – to find a way to
stop the desire for these products through mass
education on TV, in schools etc. plus serious
punishment for those who are caught importing
What good will your plan do when they have
sold all the horn, ivory and skins in the
inventory? The poachers will go out and get
more because now the market has been stimulated
even more so they have many more buyers.
Advertising is a powerful tool. Public
service announcements and education worked in
the U.S. to stop littering in the 60’s and
substantially reduced drunk driving. The same
mass programs could work to stop the Asians
from buying horns and ivory.
I am an admirer of the work you do in Africa
but I believe you are wrong to promote one-off
sales of ivory and horn.
This morning (26 Sep), on the morning program
Spektrum of RSG they had a talk with some guy from
WWF advertising how many white rhino's we still have
in South Africa and that we have nothing to worry
about all this poaching as the rhino is now where
I sms'ed them, but like normal they simply ignore
Maybe you can help? Just to bring it to their
attention as to not putting this type of information
out there as this will surely promote more poaching!
Hi John. I assume that this is tongue in
cheek. I cannot believe that you would be for
the legalization of the rhino horn trade. We
have both been in the wild life industry all our
lives and have followed the trends. Encouraging
trade in wild life products with the East has
never had any effect other than to feed their
insatiable demand thus exponentially increasing
the promotion of the illegal trades. Cheers Mike
Why on earth
would you like
to promote the
It will surely
further need and
greed for the
Surely we want
to stamp out the
killing of all
idea. Why is it
always that the
most obvious and
to a problem is
can only shake
their head and
hope for the
John you are not
I am a
Good idea for rhino horn. Keep up the great work!
A very good idea John. Perhaps someone could capture one of the rhino horn
users, castrate him and turn his wimp member - because that is what it is if he
has to ingest rhino horn to get it up (excuse the crudity) into powder and feed
it to him. Unbelievable that grown men believe that the horn will help their sex
life. How absolutely primitive. And last night they had more slaughtered rhino
on the news. This time they were darted. Don't tell that the game rangers
weren't involved. And these beautiful creatures - one of them was pregnant - lie
silent and still - robbed of the many years of life which they should have had,
and monstrous men can now get a hard-on. Excuse the crudity again but how else
can one express.
So please do whatever you can to stop the decimation of this beautiful
animal. I'm going to Hluhluwe next week and will enjoy seeing the rhino
again. On my last visit in November 2011, they were either in mudbaths or
walking around with a caked mud armour.
Best of luck with your endeavour.
Hello John Varty, you seem to be on a crusade.First the P.M. of India
and now John for the Rhinos.
In 60's,when I was a medical practiotioner in Moshi.Tanzania,we used to
have W/ end pinics in Tsavo.
There were herds of elephants in100's.and Black Rhinos allover.
In 2004,we went to visit that Tsavo.After 100 miles in at Mazima Springs
,we saw 6 giraffes.
How about getting all the rhino horn traders together and then shooting
them? Who the hell are you people, you naturalists that would let a tiger
cub die. Get out of Africa
Thank you for caring about the survival of my rhinos,
I assure you that it means a lot to me. I am petrified that when the
poachers have finished the rhinos in the National Parks they will move
to my dehorned rhinos and slowly wipe them out.
Notwithstanding this and agreeing with everything you
say I find myself without the courage to go your route. I believe that
the Government would have no option but to arrest me long before the
auction and probably confiscate my horns which would tie us up in the
courts for longer than I hope legalisation will take. I assure you that
I am doing everything that I can to get the trade in rhino horn
legalised. I would also like to assure you that if I did not own a
single rhino I would still be absolutely convinced that legalisation and
joining hands with our communities in rhino farming ventures is the only
way to save our rhinos from extinction.
My only wish is that the rest of the world could
understand that the more you destroy horns or stop horns from getting to
the consumers the more orders will go to the poachers and the longer we
take to get our stock piles to the consumers the more orders will go to
Thank you again for your ideas on rescuing our rhinos
and remember that the more rhinos we lose the more valuable each rhino
that is rescued or bred becomes to the eventual survival of the species.
So keep thinking.
Tread lightly on the
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