Founder: John Varty

Tiger Canyons
Tiger Experiment
Invest in Tigers
Tiger Canyons tigers

Tiger Anatomy


JV Image Library
JV's Music

JV's Films


Tiger Conservation

Tiger Subspecies

Tiger Newsletters

Tiger Photo Gallery

Contact us



Select newsletter in right column


Newsletter 75

Rhino Horn Trade - Response

Fiona Parkinson
Naive to think that this would work, perhaps ? People are skeptical and superstitious by nature. They will always suspect that the cloned horn is not as good as the real thing, which would push up demand for real horn even further. The cloned product would naturally be cheaper, and behavioral economics has proven that a hefty price tag increases an item's desirability - it's just how the human psyche is wired. It's called The Scarcity Principle

JV response:
My information is that a cloned rhino is identical to an original rhino horn, one cannot tell the difference. You are talking about the production of tens of thousands of rhino horns to be sold on controlled auctions.

Cam Steele
"I urge you to take the rhino horn market away from the criminal element and put it in a controlled market force environment in South Africa" How on earth are you going to take it away from the criminal element? These people do not walk around in a uniform that says I am a criminal Rhino horn dealer or I am a slaughterer of one of the worlds greatest creatures. These guys run from villagers, to freight forwarders, to customs people, to military personnel, to politicians, to business folk, militia gangs and warlords, drug gangs, human traffickers, arms dealers and even corrupt wildlife workers and Veterinarians and so on... The "wild Rhino" doesn't cost the poacher a thing to feed or maintain. Its just a matter of surveillance, a few dollars in graft payments here and there and then in for the kill. There is a risk, but they don't care, more get away than are caught or shot. Those that are caught are often set free on bail and when sentenced the sentences are often weak and some walk free altogether. Fake Ivory [ie: Ivory Mycarta] has been around for many years and has not saved the Elephant from the slaughter! While you have a legitimate market for a cloned product, you are introducing more and more consumers every day. Many will always want the real deal and will pay for it. Just like is happening with Ivory !That is the nature of humans - Why have a replica when I can get the real deal and to hell with the costs and risks! Then the business people whom privately own Rhinos say - hey, lets farm our Rhinos and sell the horn and the tragic cycle never ends as the world fills with more and more consumers every day and we turn yet another animal into a dollar producer for us. China has disgraceful barbaric Tiger Farms to supply Tiger body parts. The Government has not shut these down and their operation has not stopped the Tiger slaughter which is now at Epic levels! There are Legitimately run and equally disgraceful Bear farms spread across Asia. This is not saving the wild Bears from the slaughter! "Controlled markets" are always exploited by those who have one focus - money! No consumer base - No market!!! its a basic rule of business - legal or illegal! The Chinese are the biggest culprit in this slaughter, just as they are in the Elephant and Tiger slaughters. They nearly lost their Giant Panda to extinction. However they saved them and did it incredibly quickly in natures circle. They banned all trade in the Panda. They provided Government protection and trading in Panda - live, dead or body parts was met with the death penalty!!! It worked and Panda's are with us..... We have mining companies making billions of dollars in profits out of the lands, often the Rhinos historical range. We have tourist en mass heading thru our airports around the globe , we have armies sitting idle around the world... Why aren't we thinking outside the box? Why arent we taking Chinas initiative in saving their Panda and utilizing the same principles in saving the worlds animals that they are sending to extinction? Why are we not taxing the mining companies to fund conservation and protection? Why aren't we seeing a departure/arrival tax on entering African and Asian countries to help funding wildlife protection. Hell, bring the Tax to Australia too, I will pay it! We increase these taxes to fund global security, why not the animals world? We have armies of the world being utilized thru the UN to save people. Yet we have No similar organization, absolutely nothing for the wild world and they are facing extinction, not us.... Why are we freely trading with China and Vietnam and no boycotting them [I do it in my every day life], to make them bring an end to the consumption and illegal trade? Why is it we can't look outside the box???

JV response
Cam Steele makes some valid points. I like people paying tax when entering the country which can be used to fight the poaching. The problem is will the money ever reach the anti poaching.

Rhino horn and ivory should not be confused. Rhino horn is a renewable resource, while ivory is not. Many African countries have elephants whereas South Africa have the rhino numbers. 

The rhino war will be won or lost in South Africa.  Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique lost the rhino war a long time ago.

Melodie Kingma
Are you CRAZY - never heard such nonsense in my life!! There will never be a controlled market force - we cannot even control our seafood industry let alone rhino horn - what are these people smoking? This government cannot even control the finances collected in the country - hello ........ but besides WHY market it when it is a fake obsession, a status symbol and we may just as well harvest all citizens' toe and fingernails and sell it to them ......NO NO NO TO TRADE NEVER!!!

JV response
Isn't alcohol a controlled market force whereas cocaine is not?

J Merrick
Cloning rhino horn is just double speak for farming rhinos.  Is that your answer also for elephants, tigers and all the other animal species under threat by humans?  We just farm them and slaughter them like cattle to satisfy the voodoo beliefs of humans? I think not!  

JV response
If cloning works, you don't slaughter anything. You use molecular science.

Mike Gunn.  
John. Again I will never support your call for trade. You have surely stopped looking at the big picture if you can imagine that this could work!! You let me know how you see it saving our rhino and if I cannot counter everything you suggest, you will have a convert.

JV Response
Hello Mike, I agree with you. I regard South Africa now as a 3rd world country when it comes to conservation. All ivory should be banned everywhere. 

However rhino horn and ivory should not be confused. The rhino war will be won or lost in South Africa. The other African countries lost the rhino war a long time ago. 

Therefore if the private enterprise of South Africa can produce tens of thousands of cloned rhino horn then why not, it might work. 

Ethically I'm with you. As human beings we have reached the position where we are cutting off the rhino's horn to save the rhino. We are morally and spiritually bankrupt and there are now 7 billion, soon to be 10 billion human beings on this planet.. 

However I don't know how many rhino you own. What does is cost you to protect the rhino? 

When I wake up every morning, I have to figure out a way of how to fight the war. How to protect the rhino, tigers leopards, lions and everything else that has value. I ask the question again, where does the money come from. 

Jocelin Kagan
PLEASE put this letter out to the world through one of the major signature sites: NRDC, The petition site, Colleen H., Care 2 Action there are several of them. One recently took the SA Government to court for taking down posters at the airports showing lions being slaughtered for their bones … another crisis looming for us. Namibia, Zambia and Botswana have the bigger picture. They see their wildlife as a major tourist attraction and are onto poachers - shoot on sight, and whatever it takes to preserve their national treasures. I support you in what you are doing and believe you need wider exposure.

Renold Mafuyeka
I agree Mr. Varty on your  proposal with the minister, the war against poaching is getting out of hand daily. The markets will reduce poaching. The minister should act quickly to save jobs and rangers lives. Thanks

JV response
If we wait for CITES 2016 this could be 3000 rhino gone at the present rate.

Debbie Lewarne
Dear John, I am a supporter of Tiger Canyon and your wonderful work at Londolozi, but I must disagree with your stand on Rhino horn trade. I believe that this will continue the myth that Rhino horn is medicinal, which we all know is not true. Rhinos should NOT be subjected to the trauma of regular dehorning. Why not dye the horn which makes it unusable, and it only has to be done once? Further I believe the the trade in Rhino horn will only benefit the farmers who are "farming" our Wildlife for monetary gain. Bears are milked for their Bile for medicinal reasons and now South Africa is milking Rhinos for their Horn. Please reconsider your stance on this critical issue. I believe the government could halt Rhino poaching, if they really had the will to do so? Your sincerely

JV response
Good points, but where does the money come from to fight the rhino war.

Regulated rhino horn trade could help curb poaching - Molewa


Pretoria – Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says the establishment of a well-regulated international trade in rhino horn could help to curb rhino poaching, if implemented in conjunction with all the other interventions to root out the practice.

“We will have to work in partnership with stakeholders and experts to ensure a feasible model for trade is proposed at the next COP [to CITES] in South Africa, with due consideration of all the views expressed by interested and affected stakeholders in rhino conservation,” said Molewa during a briefing on Wednesday.

Cabinet has approved the development and submission of a proposal to the 17th Conference of Parties of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), scheduled to take place in 2016 in South Africa, to introduce regulated international trade in rhino horn.

Molewa said discussions on a possible legal trade, as part of South Africa’s long-term conservation strategy for rhinos, were initiated at the 16th COP to CITES.

The minister said South Africa had the means to make rhino horn available without impacting on the species, and the implementation of a regulated trade system would help to achieve that.

Speaking at the same briefing, the Deputy Director-General: Biodiversity and Conservation at the Department of Environmental Affairs, Fundisile Mketeni, said government rhino horn stockpiles stood at 16 437kg, while private sector stockpiles were 2 091kg.

While the proposal for the sale of rhino horn is yet to be finalised, Mketeni said the money made from rhino horn sale would be used for conservation, research and community participation. He said they were hoping to have a "once-off" sale of the horns.

“We need to go and clear the stock we have. We would like to sell the horns as a whole. It will depend on the trading partner because they know better [where] there is demand. What we seek to address now is the black market, which [has] demand because there is usage out there,” Mketeni said.

Park fence

Meanwhile, Molewa said South Africa was still working closely with neighbouring Mozambique on the issue of re-erecting the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park fence in a bid to stop poachers from entering the country.

When the park was officially declared in 2002, 20 metres of the fence separating the Kruger National Park (KNP) from the Limpopo National Park (LNP) in Mozambique was cut down.

Many rhino poachers are believed to enter South Africa from Mozambique in the area where the border fence between KNP and LNP was removed to allow the development of the multi-national the park.

KNP has borne the brunt of rhino poaching, and Mozambique is also experiencing a problem of elephant poaching.

Molewa said Mozambique has reported that they have funding available to begin moving communities who are still residing in the park.

“Our plan was to re-erect the fence when there [was no one living there]. The agreement was that those communities must be removed and Mozambique now has funding by international donors to remove these communities,” said Molewa.

She said there was commitment from both parties to re-erect the fence. – SAnews.gov.za

JV response
Good news, but we cant afford to wait until 2016 for a decision. We must change the system now

We campaigned for years to remove the veterinary fence between Sabi Sand and Kruger. Don't start rebuilding fences to combat poaching. We set the ecosystem free don't re-imprison it. This is old apartheid style thinking.

Born Free Foundation Blog
South Africa to propose rhino horn trade


South Africa has announced that it will officially push for rhino horn trade at the 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES (2016), using horn from rhinos that have died of natural causes. Here’s my take!

Even taken at its most optimistic… 3% natural mortality (whatever that is), from circa 20,000 rhino, equalling 600 horns with an average weight on 5kg per horn (3,000kg in total) and using the dosage weight proposed by Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes of 1.5 grammes per dose (meaning 3,000kg would equate to 2,000,000 doses), such a plan would, in all likelihood, barely touch the surface of demand (which, recall, is currently being serviced – unsuccessfully – by 668 poached rhino in 2012 and possibly as many as 900+ rhino in 2013). Therefore, in my view, poaching will continue and possibly increase since poachers will undercut whatever the legal price is set at (which is likely to be high to generate income and, supposedly, drive down demand – which it won’t).

Furthermore, creating a legal market has one other devastating impact. It will confirm in the minds of many purchasers that using rhino horn has medicinal validity – even when we know it does not. Minister Molewa, the Chair of the Private Rhino Owners Association of SA, the Chair of the Professional Hunters Association of SA, the Secretary General of CITES, the SA Ambassador to Thailand and Johnny de Lange MP (amongst others on the panel) were asked – by me in person, directly at a South Africa-hosted CITES side event on the 7th of March – (quoting The Mail and Guardian, 22nd March 2013) ‘to raise their hands if they believed rhino horn had medicinal benefits or could cure cancer. None of them did.’

So what are they saying by legalising rhino-horn trade? Here is a product that every sensible scientist says has no significant impact and they are going to sell it at huge cost to a public that is ill-informed. I wouldn’t go to sleep at night if I thought I was selling something like that to a Vietnamese family who have scrimped and saved every cent to buy rhino horn for their dying grandmother, who then goes and dies.

SA seems determined to push for legal trade at CITES CoP17 in 2016. But they will need to get the support of 66% or more of the 178 CITES Parties. I can only hope and pray that common-sense and a degree of morality prevail, and that the proposal is soundly defeated. They need as many as 117 Parties to agree with their misguided proposal and we need to persuade those Parties to say NO!

There is nothing sensible, logical, ethical or acceptable about legalising rhino horn trade – from natural mortality or anywhere else.

Read a full account of my intervention at the South Africa-hosted CITES side event on the 7th of March here .

Blogging off
Will Travers

Tread lightly



Tread lightly on the Earth

Copyright 2007 @jvbigcats  All rights reserved


Newsletters 158
Open letter to Cyril Ramaphosa

Newsletter 157
SCI bans canned lion hunting

Newsletters 156
Tibo produces white cubs

Newsletters 155
The Indian Connection

Newsletters 154

Newsletter 153
Supermarket Shopper vs. Hunter Gatherer

Newsletter 152
JV's response to Elayna Kinley letter

Newsletters 151
Running on empty

Newsletter 150
The Survivor

Newsletters 149
In pursuit of Alan Root

Newsletters 148
Open letter re schools plus Panna cubs

Newsletters 147
It's Finished

Newsletters 146

Newsletter 145
King Corbett

Newsletter 144
Hunting versus Non Hunting

Newsletter 143
If it Pays, it Stays

Newsletters 142
Best Photographs at
Tiger Canyons

Newsletters 141
Lady Hunters

Newsletter 140
Londolozi and Love

Newsletter 139
Life is Not Fair

Newsletter 138
The Trump Card

Newsletter 137
Most Admired People on the Planet

Newsletters 136
Captive vs Wild

Newsletter 135
To trade  or not To Trade

Newsletter 134
A Defining Moment

Newsletter 133
I Have Lost A Friend

Newsletter 132
The World is Changing

Newsletter 131
Icon Cats

Newsletter 130
Sylvester the Lion

Newsletter 129
An Open Letter to Head United Nations

Newsletter 128
An Open Letter to Carte Blanche

Newsletter 127
Satellite Tracking

Newsletter 126
Lightning strikes 3 times

Newsletter 125
The Break Out

Newsletter 124
Bad Tigers

Newsletter 123
Tiger Boy's Journey

Newsletter 122
Give it a Name

Newsletter 121
Driven Hunts

Newsletter 120
Creative Conservation

Newsletter 119
Sariska from birth till death

Newsletter 118
Real Hunters

Newsletter 117
An Open Letter to the President: Operation Wild Lion

Newsletter 116
An Open Letter to Theo Bronkhorst

Newsletter 115
Cruel Nations

Newsletter 114
Subspecies or no subspecies

Newsletter 113
Tigers Moving Forward

Newsletter 112
Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Newsletter 111
Don't Shoot the Messenger

Newsletter 110
The Hunters

Newsletter 109
Gaia or God?

Newsletter 108
The Healing Power of Cats

Newsletter 107
Goddess Gaia

Newsletter 106
Ambassador Cats

Newsletter 105
Blondes have more fun

Gaining ground for tigers

Newsletter 103
Tibo's Dilemma

Newsletter 102
Wilderness Man

Newsletter 101
Sariska fathers cubs with white Tigress Tibo

Newsletter 100
Cheetah Survival

Newsletter 99
Extract from JV's speech on Corbett's Freedom Day

Newsletter 98
The Power of the Picture

Newsletter 97
Tiger Corbett's Release

Newsletter 96
Corbett's Journey

Newsletter 95
Bush School: Where are they now?

Newsletter 94
Open letter to Jani Allen: Oscar Pistorius

Newsletter 93
John Varty interview with Sizie Modise

Newsletter 92
Marion's Big Cat Safari

Newsletter 91
Full energy flow

Newsletter 90
Investing in wild tigers

Newsletter 89
Where are the Champions?

Newsletter 88
Managing the Genes

Newsletter 87
Capture the Moment

Newsletter 86
The Princess Diana of Tigers - Julie:
 Sept 1999 - 5 Des 2013

Newsletter 85
The Communicators

Newsletter 84
A Letter to All Conservationists in SA 
Sparked by the whole Melissa Bachman Debacle
by Maxine Gaines

Newsletter 83
Tell me what happened

Newsletter 82
Profit is the Name of Your Game

Newsletter 81

Big Cat Cub Safari

Newsletter 80
In the Jaws of the Tiger

Newsletter 79
Open letter to Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 78
Open letter to Min of Defense, South Africa about rhino crisis

Newsletter 77
Digital Photography

Newsletter 76

Newsletter 75
Rhino Horn Trade - Response

Newsletter 74
Raw Power

Newsletter 73
The Evolution of the Tracker

Newsletter 72
An Open Letter to the Honourable Edna Molewa, Minister of Water Affairs and Environmental Affairs

Newsletter 71
Using flash or spotlight on cats at night

Newsletter 70
Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the best eyesight of them all?

Newsletter 69
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fastest of them all?

Newsletter 68
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best fighter of them all?

Newsletters 67
Wild Cheetah return to the Free State after 100 years

Newsletter 66
Seeking the genes

Newsletters 65
Corbett's Journey

Newsletters 64
In Search of a Mate

Newsletters 63
Rumble in the Jungle

Newsletters 62
Voronin Big Cat Safari Breaks All Records

Newsletters 61
A Journey to Nowhere

Newsletter 60
The John Hume Approach

Newsletter 59
Response to Rhino Horn Auction

Newsletters 58
A Letter to John Hume, SA biggest Rhino Breeder

Newsletters 57
Newsletters 56
Indian Government -
the wrong decision

Newsletter 55
What price must beauty pay?

Newsletter 54
Corbett's Freedom

Newsletter 53
Lethal injection or Freedom

Newsletters 52
The anatomy of an aggressive tiger

Newsletters 51
Majestic, breathtaking pictures

Newsletters 50
Tigress Calendar

Newsletters 49

Let your pictures do the talking

Newsletters 48

Rhino Wars

Newsletters 47
A Letter to the President

Newsletters 46
The Body Parts Scam

Newsletters 45
Tiger Subspecies

Newsletters 43
Your future and the Tiger

Newsletter 42
Talk to Me

Newsletter 41
Gaian Reminder

Newsletter 40
Ron's Journey

Newsletter 39

Newsletter 38
Beauty comes at a price

Newsletter 37

The Light Has Gone Out

Newsletter 36
The Beautiful Game

Newsletter 35
The Ethics of
Tiger Green Hunting

Newsletter 34
Tiger Hunt

Newsletter 33
The Year of the Tiger

Newsletter 32

Riding the Tiger

Newsletter 31

Runti's Journey

Newsletter 30

To intervene or not to intervene -
that is the question...

Newsletter 29

Lion - Tiger - Human Communication

Newsletter 28

Emotional humans, emotional cats

Newsletter 27

Julie gives birth to 5 tiger cubs

Newsletter 26

International Tiger Day

Newsletter 25

To all Photographers

Newsletter 24

A Shot in Anger

Newsletter 22

Newsletter 21

Newsletter 19

Tiger Birth
at Tiger Canyons

Newsletter 16

Tiger Courting

Newsletter 11

Privatizing the Tiger

Newsletter 9

Newsletter 8

Newsletter 7

Water Cats

Newsletter 6

Tiger Intelligence

Newsletter 5

Tiger language
Tiger Boma

Newsletter 3

Interspecies communication

Newsletter 2

Cub relocation


Death of a Legend

Newsletter 20

Newsletter 15

Painted Wolves

Newsletter 13

Response to Elephant Trust
by Daryl Balfour

Newsletter 12

Elephant Trust