Letter: Wildlife conservation in Africa: on the horns of a dilemma

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Sir: I agree with Paul Bradshaw's views (Letters, 14 April) on the controlled sale of ivory, and believe that a similar argument can be applied to the rhino, whose extinction looms ever closer.

Last year I spent three months in Namibia on a Raleigh International expedition. Since Namibia's independence three years ago, the conservation budget has been slashed, as the government concentrates funds on the welfare of its people. Funds are desperately needed to maintain the vital work carried out in the country to protect rhino and elephants. Rhino horn - removed by game wardens from the animals without causing harm, in an attempt to save the rhino from poachers - stockpiles in warehouses, banned from being sold. Could not this horn be put to better use if it was sold and the income used to protect the animal it has come from?

Perhaps a hallmarking system could be initiated, whereby ivory or horn obtained legally from culled or 'cropped' animals is marked so that a buyer knows he is legally obtaining the goods, and in doing so is helping the survival of that species.

Yours faithfully,


London, W2