ESSAY: Infighting Over Whether to Trade in Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Jeopardizes Both Species

Photograph by Roby Gianni, courtesy of AWF

By Michael Schwartz

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Isaac Newton’s third law of motion is certainly an adequate illustration of the ongoing pugilism between pro-trade and anti-trade advocacy groups concerning the battle to protect remaining elephant and rhinoceros populations in Africa.

Having read more than my fair share of literature on both sides of the debate, it’s painfully clear that there are potential defects at each end of the spectrum—one of which is theoretical for the time being, while the other may be ushering in extinction through a tidal wave of good intentions.

To better understand the fallacies, it’s imperative to recognize the dual sincerity from pro- and anti-trade proponents to save Africa’s beloved megafauna. Neither group would defend its viewpoint so vehemently were it not for an unambiguous zeal to turn the tables on the barbaric act of illegally slaughtering elephants and rhino to satisfy tusk and horn appetites.

But the key word to focus on is illegal. That’s where the passion for protection takes on a dismal downward spiral—separating the unified objective among conservationists into splinter factions, with verbal altercations commonplace, and contradictory evidence vigorously highlighted to underpin opposing claims.

Facts—or Arguments—To Justify the Narrative?

Pro-traders want a legal, —> Read More Here


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