White rhino (courtesy allaboutwildlife.com)

Anyone remember the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009? Uncle Sam spent $831 billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to “stimulate” the U.S. economy. If you ask “progressives” why it didn’t work they’ll give you a simple answer: “It wasn’t enough.” You can see the exact same philosophy at work when it comes to gun control: it’s not working it’s because we need more! Make it harder to buy a gun! Limit ammunition magazines to seven rounds! Ban black rifles! Same again for poaching. More laws! More enforcement! And so . . . Poaching Crisis Prompts Immediate Protection of Southern White Rhino under ESA [Endangered Species Act] the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service presser proclaims. Yes, the feds are closing the White Rhino loophole . . .

By extending ESA protection to the white rhino—the last remaining unprotected species of rhinoceros—the Service closes a loophole that has been exploited by unscrupulous poachers and traffickers seeking to cash in on global demand for rhino horn.

The action, which was announced yesterday by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the White House Forum to Combat Wildlife Trafficking, will protect the southern white rhinoceros as a threatened species under the ESA’s “similarity of appearance” provisions and will aid international law enforcement efforts to fight poaching and crack down on trafficking in rhino horn. The Service will accept public comment for 30 days on this interim final rule, although ESA protections will begin immediately.

Notice the confidence expressed by Sally’s writers: the ruling “will protect the southern white rhinoceros.” Just like the ESA has protected all the other rhinos, by the Interior Secretary’s own admission:

Rhino poaching has reached unprecedented levels, with South Africa alone recording 668 rhinos poached in 2012 and 446 rhinos killed in the first six months of 2013. This unprecedented killing spree is fueled by an increasing demand for rhino horn, which is ground up and consumed in folk remedies in the unfounded belief that it can cure disease. In fact, the primary component of rhino horn is keratin—the same substance found in fingernails—and scientific testing has repeatedly demonstrated that it has no medicinal value. Rhino horn is also used to produce ceremonial libation cups and other carvings.

Not to mention the unfounded belief that laws against poaching, or trading or consuming the products of poaching, will stop poaching. Yeah right. Kinda like how the federal laws against silencers (suppressors) stopped poaching. Once again, what’s needed here is legal hunting.

Let me be clear: I don’t want to shoot a rhinoceros (unless the rhino poses a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm and imminence is imminent). I’ve seen them in the wild and they are, as Kirsten Weiss would say, très cool. But there’s only way to protect the species: make their protection more profitable than their destruction. License rhino hunts for mega-bucks, spread the money around and those involved will find a way to protect the rhino.

OMG! Profit! If there’s one thing that Progressives hate it’s profit! And yet they called the stimulus package the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” Investment my ass. Gun control my ass. ESA my ass. See how that works?

49 Responses to Save the White Rhino. Shoot the White Rhino!

  1. You’re probably right about the rhino, but what we REALLY need is education for these muttonheads that believe in the medicinal properties of rhino horn, or bear bile, or tiger bollocks, or roasted human fetuses, and so on and so on.

    • Good luck with that! A culture that beheads homosexuals, treats women like property, and uses children as suicide bombers is beyond education. I’m not trying to downplay the tragedy of extinction of this species but in the overall scheme of things, using rhino horns for their ceremonial daggers is one of the least of their offenses. As for the Chinese, they could be forced to change by their totalitarian government – maybe but probably not, so I agree with RF, make the endangered species a profit center for these African countries.

        • I love the story of the British General posted in India who stopped the burning of wives when their husbands died. He said something like, “You have a tradition of burning wives. Very well. We have a tradition of hanging murderers.” Same thing should happen to those who poach rinos. Problem is…the people who are guarding them are often poaching as well.

      • great idea, but i also have an idea; drive down the price of rhino horn by flooding the market with it! huh? you say?

        rhino farms. in Texas. no, really, rhino farms in Texas; similar (enough) climate, less corruption, and better infrastructure. and in a controlled environment the horn can be harvested without harm to the rhino.

        • No harm to the Rhino, perhaps, but it seems to me it would take a lot of balls to walk up to a Rhino and start sawing off the horn. Not quite as easy as roping/throwing/branding. /sarc

    • As much as there are still those who may think it has medicinal properties, the bigger trade is in the @$$holeness of it all. Basically the “Look at me, I have a rhino horn bracelet, earrings, dagger handle” or “How rich are we, we will put ground rhino horn into our soup” that is the new market, the super rich untouchables. Unfortunately up untill the next big thing is discovered, peacock toungue pie, panda foreskin fried boiled in dolphin tears, this will go on.

  2. Progressives really believe every crime occurs because of an “exploited loophole”. Close every loophole and there will be no crime. Unless…..a criminal does the unthinkable and just ignores the law?

    • Nevermind the unwavering ability of ingenious people to think of “loopholes” the lawmakers could never on their best day imagine.

    • I’ve said it before… To totalitarians and progressives (which are nearly the same thing), freedom is nothing but a loophole that hasn’t been closed yet.

  3. When will these idiots learn that only when there is a profit provided to African governments will they have the incentive to actually protect the animals? This has been proven time and again with every big game species. Charge tourists $100 a piece to photograph the rhinos? Not enough revenue generated to keep wardens armed and alert full time. (or immune to bribery). BUT, charge $5,000 per rhino license to hunt, and you can pay five wardens a generous (for Africa) annual salary to be well trained, equipped and alert. Result: rhino population recovers as poaching is prevented.

  4. Classic feel good bullshit. That law will do NOTHING to help the rhinos because the US is not the problem. The demand for the horn is driven from Asia and no law passed in the US will do one thing about that. Frankly, it is embarrassing as an American that our government believes in their own omnipotence that much.

  5. True the point on profit motive – the same approach saved the American Alligator, but there it still works in concert with legal protections for endangered species. The threat of legal action for poaching, combined with the legal game preserves (or in the case of the American Alligator, gator farms to produce meat and hides) seems to demonstrably work for species that aren’t facing other threat factors (loss of habitat, disease, etc) and having already been pushed too close to the brink to recover.

  6. Grown rhino horn is used primarily for erectile dysfunction (limp di**k)
    I’d rather send funds for the whole of Asia for Viagra to solve the real problem. Charging $,$$$ also good idea and cutting off hands if caught poaching.

  7. Is this just some sort of ‘punishment’ for the Dallas Safari Club having the audacity to auction off a rhino hunt? The timing seems too coincident to be, well, coincidental, so to speak…

  8. “Let me be clear: I don’t want to shoot a rhinoceros (unless the rhino poses a credible, imminent threat of death or grievous bodily harm and imminence is imminent).”

    Here’s a crazy idea: stay the hell away from rhinos and you won’t find yourself in a position where you have to shoot one of those magnificent creatures.

    • Some are in private hands. Not too many, but a few. The way the USA works with the CITES regulations makes interstate commerce damn near impossible, but there’s a couple on private ranches (I think).

      • Yes, there are ranches in Texas and Florida, maybe other places, that breed white and black rhinos, plus there are zoos doing the same on a smaller scale. Texas ranches saved the scimitar-horned oryx from extinction, and allowing hunting of surplus animals helped pay for that.

    • Not anymore, they were hunted to extinction by “the First Americans” along with the Saber Tooth tiger and woolly, woolly mammoth.

  9. So the US Government is adding an animal to the list of federally protected species, when there aren’t any available for hunting in the United States? Sounds like a little extra paperwork for nothing.

    • Not when those laws can be used to prosecute rich white men who go on to hunt them in Africa. I wonder which party rich white men who like to hunt would stereotypically vote for?

  10. Has anyone ever tried introducing counterfeit products onto the gray/black market related to animal products. Could some apothecary (or there customers) really be able to tell the difference between ground up cow hoof and rhino horn? Could we not invent some bogus remedies where the animal products involved do not involve endangered species or even killing? Bear fur for arthritis. Ground up salmon eyes for respiratory ailments? Whatever happened to opiate-ladden “snake oil” that is good for whatever ails ya? Most of these “remedies” are for male “virility” anyway so I am thinking worldwide viagra distribution could save at least a few animals. Tryin to think outside the box here 🙂

    • Opiates really do work as advertised, by relieving the user of the worry of whatever it is they used to suffer from, but forgot.

  11. What needs to happen here the harvest of the valuable parts of these animals on farms and preserves. You can harvest the end of elephant and rhino tusk/horn without hurting the animal…its like clipping your fingernails. This would not only “protect” the animals (though I understand there can still be poaching), as they would be on private/protected land and the demand, thus price of the horn will go down, making this business less profitable for these bums. UNFORTUNATELY, it is illegal to sell “banned goods” thanks to the ESA, no matter how much they would relive the poaching pressure on said animals…clueless politicians doing their standard mindless actions.

    • I tried to make a similar point here a bit ago in a comment on the legally mandated destruction of ivory, and got shot down for my trouble. Why in the world compel the crushing and burning of this beautiful material even when it is scavenged from animals that died a natural death? It would seem logical that allowing the sale of rare natural products that are NOT the result of poaching would both lower the illicit demand and help fund conservation efforts.

      • Yes, great point. All I can say is that it’s another case of DC trying to legitimize their existence. When will they understand that banning is NOT the solution to all their problems.

    • It’s possible to get variances under ESL. For instance, locals with tribal association are permitted to own hawk or eagle feathers and northerners to hunt orcas.

      A variance for governments or other official bodies ethically harvesting and marketing ESL animal products should be eminently doable.

  12. “Anyone remember the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009? Uncle Sam spent $831 billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to “stimulate” the U.S. economy.”

    I’ll give you a reason why it didn’t work. The harder I work, the more taxes I pay. At the end of the year – rather than push myself into a higher tax bracket and effectively work for nothing as that month’s wages pay tax – I might as well not work at all… and not spend any money (the opposite of stimulation). In fact, if I don’t work at all I can file for unemployment and start getting paid. Why should I work at all, why should I spend any money, when I can just do everything myself and not work hard. If the GOV wants stimulation, they can fire themselves, cut their own pensions, and go get a real job that actually provides a positive profit product or service.

    As much as I didn’t like Romney – in the debate he repeatedly said, “Government doesn’t make jobs… Government doesn’t make jobs.” He was right. Government takes money, and borrows money – they don’t make money.

  13. A lot of ranches in Texas have African animals on their property and the majority let hunters go on safari at a fraction of the cost it does in Africa.

    • Yeah but not a lot do pachyderms. It’s a ton of hoofstock.
      And honestly, a lot of those ranches seem pretty crappy. There’s a few exceptions but “hunting” in a 200 acre lot surrounded by high fence…bleh. When you’re talking the Buckhallows Ranch or similar ones with miles of unfenced stuff, now THAT’s awesome.

  14. A Rhino was killed the week before I got to go to South Africa.
    Lying there, minus the horn.
    To see it up close was really heart breaking. And as it was shot many days before discovery, the meat couldn’t even be harvested.
    The up side is that poachers are shot on sight in Botswana.
    Life, even human life, doesn’t mean much down there.

    • Actually, Botswana is one of the few relatively decent places in Africa, though it’s by no means the only one.

      They’re pretty good to humans and other critters, but they also have no compunctions about dealing properly with criminals.

      Steal food and you’ll get community service – and a stipend for eating.

      Kill or rape people, burn buildings for fun and profit or poach for other than food, and they’ll treat you as you deserve.

      I for one approve.

  15. Just saying…. none of these “protected species” in either Asia or Africa were endangered prior to the europeans arriving. I don’t think the people who created the problem should be trusted to solve it, especially since those that are trying to solve have already gotten all of the ivory they wanted and are merely cutting off the supply for everyone else.

    • Got it, all those Europeans in the Arab states and China are responsible for driving Mr. Rhinoceros to extinction. I for one don’t have all the Rhino “ivory” I need though.

  16. ESL differs from civilian disarmament in one major respect: it works.

    Those places depend on all our giveaways, and to an extent on our good will and that of Europe.

    Messing with endangered critters, or by inaction permitting them to come to harm, opens the way to the withholding of aid and various kinds of sanctions.

    In order to preserve millions in American feel-good money, they’ll spend a few thousand doing their jobs — however callous and anthropocentric their private thoughts on the natural world and its preservation.

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