Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Leonardo's Sailors - Seeking New Solutions to SA's Rhino Poaching Crisis

analysis

It was Leonardo da Vinci, the great Renaissance-era mathematician, architect and artist, who said: "He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards a ship without a rudder and compass, and never knows where he may cast." It is this same rash approach that is being used by the proponents of trade in rhino horn, argues Professor Alejandro Nadal, in his co-authored critique of pro-rhino horn trade literature.

Increasingly, scholars and conservationists are arguing that legalising trade will be a risky way of addressing South Africa's rhino poaching crisis. And within the last few days, a fresh argument has come to light, with the release of a comprehensive independent review on the economic modelling used to underpin wildlife trade policies.

Published by Professor Alejandro Nadal and Francisco Aguayo through Manchester University, the peer-reviewed report forms part of the working series of the Leverhulme Centre for the Study of Value. As was the case when Professor Nadal presented at the recently held London Conference and Aguayo at the OSCAP Conference in South Africa, their work is extremely critical of the current economics being used to support trade. "These models have been theoretically discredited beyond repair:...

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