Saving the Rhino by farming it

Rhino are endangered, and they are being killed in increasing numbers for their horns. Kevin Charles Redman suggests that we farm them instead and thus save them.

This has also been proposed for saving NZ native birds…putting them on the menu and thus saving them in the process.


Like the dodo, the dinosaur, and the pig-footed bandicoot (maybe), thewestern black rhinoceros?is now a thing of the past, hunted to extinction for its horn. And small wonder. Despite being banned in 1977, the rhino horn trade is flourishing. Twenty years ago, a kilo of horn went for $4,700. Today, it sells for $65,000, making it more valuable than either gold or cocaine. Poaching is on the rise, and by some accounts, the number of endangered (but not yet extinct) white rhino killed doubles each year. By 2035, African wildlands could be devoid of the animal.?

More expensive than cocaine or gold…the Rhino’s horn is killing it…but it could save it:

But horn harvesting need not be an all-or-nothing proposition.

?Rhino horn is composed entirely of keratin and regrows when cut,? writes Biggs. ?Sedating a rhino to shave its horn can be done for as little as $20.? A white rhino produces about a kilo of horn per year, and the current global demand could be met by ?farming? as few as 5,000 animals on a private, well-guarded preserve. (Natural rhino death ?would also provide hundreds of horns annually,? even as the herd continues to grow at a rate near 10 percent.) The millions of dollars generated by the legal enterprise could be used to fund further conservation efforts, such as wildland preservation, sustainable rural development, and field research.

Biggs points to the legalized crocodile skin trade, monitored by Cites, as a success story of endangered animal farming. Some 1.4 million crocodile skins were bought and sold last year, according to?a recent UN report, supplied by Citesregistered farms around the world, including in the United States, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela.