Thursday, March 07, 2013

Enter the dragon

Another futile attempt to highlight the possibility that trade bans can sometimes fuel, rather than prevent, the trade in an endangered species. I keep writing about this, lots of people find it upsetting and get cross with me. And the fact is: I'd like to be proven wrong but I have a sinking feeling that I am not.

Conservation

Trade protection 

Mar 5th 2013, 16:54 by N.L. | CHICAGO AND J.P. | LONDON 

THIS month the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will turn 40. From March 3rd to 14th delegates from 178 countries are gathering in Bangkok to review the treaty, which regulates the sale of wildlife and allows for a global ban in the trade of a species when it is threatened with over-exploitation. One of the subjects on the agenda is whether such bans work.

Trade bans are controversial. They can be effective in stabilising population numbers. This happened with the African grey parrot, for instance. But evidence abounds that sometimes they may do more harm than good. On March 1st Duan Biggs, from the University of Queensland, in Australia, and colleagues wrote in Science that legalising trade in rhino horn may be essential to ensure survival of the species. Last year Kirsten Conrad argued in Tropical Conservation Science that a trade ban, combined with a confluence of other forces, may create a “perfect storm” to accelerate the demise of the elephant, rhino and tiger. [More...]