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Newsletter 60
02/10/12

The John Hume Approach


The Northern White Rhino....Extinct!!!

Hello Friends 

When the scientist James Lovelock first alerted the world to the fact that the planet was one self regulating eco system,  he changed forever our responsibility as a species on Planet Earth. The extinction of each and every species is now all of our responsibility.

The world recently lost the Northern White Rhino. The loss is an indictment against each and everyone of us. All our knowledge, technology, money and scientific inventions were unable to save this magnificent creature. In short the northern white rhino was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the hands of the wrong people.

I see a great similarity between the Northern White Rhino and the tiger. 

In reading John Hume's letter, there was an option which I greatly regret I didn't see. If we had been able to catch the last remaining Northern White Rhinos and give them to John Hume, he would have saved them for us and we would have then today. 

When Mavusa Msimang takes his crucial decision in October on whether to convince CITES to lift the ban on the trade in rhino horn or not, he should look to the methods and success of John Hume and adopt his philosophy of responsible and free trade in rhino horn.

Tanya Jacobsen's proposal that one auction is held every year for five years, makes perfect sense to me.

Tread Lightly on the Earth

JV

Hello JV, 

Please will you post the following letter on your website. Thanks again for your support, it is  encouraging that someone such as yourself who has the practical understanding of the situation, can see through the current DEAD END (literally for the rhinos) approach being followed  by CITES, our government and thousands of well meaning “Save the Rhino” charities and organisations. 

As a PASSIONATE Rhino breeder I thought I would give an explanation below of some of the practical challenges that I face in breeding Rhinos so that your readers may gain a better understanding.

I make NO excuses IT IS MY PASSION AND LIFE'S WORK TO SAVE THE RHINO FROM EXTINCTION. 

My goal is to be breeding within five years  200 rhinos per year (I already breed well over 100 per year). My birth  records over the past 20 years of rhino breeding tells me that  these will be split approximately in a ratio of 110 males and 90 females.   For the 90 females who obviously have a purpose breeding future Rhino generations I will need nine breeding bulls for Stud purposes. Therefore I will have 101 males left EVERY YEAR “without meaningful employment” if I can coin a phrase!!   

The question is what can I do with these rhino? For two reasons I have no appetite for selling these to be slaughtered by the “Pseudo hunting” market even if you could get permits to do so.  (This remains one of the few legal options to generate revenue as a rhino breeder)

1.  I could never stand to see them killed having known them personally and spent literally day and night planning, worrying, protecting and funding them from the time of their birth. 

2.  The “Pseudo market” would slaughter them for 8 or 10 kilos of horn whereas I (or my successors) will get at least 60 kg of horn from them during their natural life of approximately 40 years.  WHAT A WASTE OF A RENEWABLE NATURAL RESOURCE. 

So now I must DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to keep them alive!!  I have the following difficulties.  While the 90 females are being fed and growing until the day they can  breed more rhinos  please follow my explanation below on the fate of the 101 males.   

I need to buy a new farm every year, fence it and prepare it for 101 rhinos.  This will cost me currently about R12 million and then to manage, protect and feed them another R2 million per year.  So I need R14 million increasing by R14 million  EVERY SINGLE YEAR WITHOUT EVER GETTING ONE SINGLE RAND AS A RETURN ON THIS INVESTMENT AND WITHOUT GIVING MY RHINOS A CHANCE TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE SURVIVAL OF THEIR SPECIES.  Add to this inflation and you will see the impossibility of this model being any use at all to our rhino survival without a change to be able to use a renewable natural resource. The protection costs are increasing exponentially monthly as highlighted by you and amongst many, many other costs,  we will soon need helicopters and armed crews on my farms on 24 hour standby! 

Coupled to this we are witnessing our Government losing the war in our National Parks and yet CITES and the government refuses to let us use a renewable natural resource to rescue our rhinos. Official figures have shown Rhino poaching growing exponentially since 2008 yet even these figures may be hiding the true extent of the problem.  To the best of my knowledge no complete count (as used to be done) of the number of Rhinos in the Kruger National Park has been done for several years  and  as suggested  in a recent article in Africa Geographic magazine there is a possibility that numbers are much much lower than the officially estimated numbers (9-10 thousand). One suggestion was given that (horrifyingly) these numbers could be as low as 3000!!!! My own experience is that poaching is not always easy to detect even though I have much smaller farms and I do not have on my farms Lion and Hyena as in the KNP to quickly “disguise” the crime.  If these figures are even remotely true then we need to realise that Albert Einstein’s quote below on Insanity is eerily prescient:- 

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  

If ONLY we could persuade governments & CITES to have the COURAGE to STOP DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN UNTIL THERE ARE NO MORE RHINO LEFT. We could get with some COURAGE and OUT THE BOX THINKING from these ever increasing males (which live for 40 years)  the financial AMMUNITION (coupled with our stockpiles) to turn the tide in our Rhino war.   

Having explained the difficulties of breeding rhinos to your readers they will understand that I stand virtually no chance of persuading other farmers to become rhino breeders.  Private Enterprise could do it, rhinos have the weapon to do it but the powers that be continue to refuse the use of a renewable resource to rescue our rhino from extinction.   

If the world does not allow private enterprise to breed rhino we will lose the rhino war. The results of the present course are plain to see in the results of the last ten years. 

Thank you for allowing me to air my views. 
John Hume. 
PASSIONATE Rhino breeder.  South Africa 

PS:  I agree that we should do what we can to reduce the demand in the East but there are 3 billion potential users of rhino horn, so if you spend 3 billion USD per annum you will be spending 1 USD per person.  Education on this could realistically only achieve a long term result WE DO NOT HAVE TIME AS THE RHINOS WILL BE EXTINCT. So don’t hold your breath for a quick huge success. 

PPS:  New Zealand produces a huge amount of Deer velvet (horns) per year and it all goes to the medicine market in the East and yet they do not have any poaching!!!! Why should they have as the horn all goes to the East anyway!!!  If the current syndicates buying from the poachers knew that all of our horn was going to be offered to them, they will be more likely to listen when we ask them to stop dealing with the poachers and rather buy from our auctions as the poachers are unnecessarily killing the rhinos that are going to be producing horns for the East. 

PPPS: A critically endangered animal the Vicunas WERE rescued from the brink of extinction by sustainable utilisation & SELF-SERVING STEWARDSHIP , we could do the same for our rhinos. 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2074156,00.html


Hello 

A series of auctions (perhaps one a year for the next five years) of rhino horn, using the current stockpiles of horn makes perfect sense to us for the following reasons: 

1. We are currently losing almost 2 rhinos a day (in the past week, this figure has shot up to 4 rhino a day) while SA and other range states have many tons of horn in stockpiles. Every syndicate member that is arrested with rhino horn and every confiscated horn that gets added to these stockpiles spells death to yet another rhino. For every horn we are able to sell, we may just be saving the life of a rhino and this point must be emphasized to the authorities and the public.   

2. One of the massive hurdles in the trade/no trade debate is the lack of accurate market figures. Many people who are opposed to trade claim that we will never be able to satisfy the demand for horn but this is something that we can never estimate until we have accurate and realistic market figures. These auctions, assuming they are carefully planned and managed with clear objectives and monitoring techniques in place, will give us the economic facts we need in terms of market structure. 

3. These auctions will generate a desperately needed income injection for rhino management and protection, especially for our national parks, which are currently hardest hit by poachers. 

4. If, after 5 years, poaching figures have not come down and the legal sales of horn have not eased the immense pressure that is currently on our rhino populations, we can simply stop the auctions and start focusing on a new strategy to save our rhinos. We, as South Africa, would have lost nothing at all, as the horns in stockpiles are currently worthless when in fact, they should be the currency for invaluable information-gathering and accurate data and research. 

We look forward to your comments and encourage you to send our correspondence on to others. 

With regards,
Tanya Jacobsen

 

Tread lightly on the Earth

info@jvbigcats.co.za
Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


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