7. WOULD SMUGGLERS ACCEPT A REGULATED LEGAL MARKET FOR RHINO HORN?

If a legal trade in rhino horn was to be introduced, would the crime syndicates accept the new regime and adapt accordingly?

Photo credit: Mail & Guardian

NO TRADE

Traffickers are ruthless and the top syndicates operate across wildlife trafficking and other environmental crime sectors, as well as drugs, arms dealing, and human trafficking. They don’t have a habit of backing down in the face of competition. They might react passively by reducing their investment in a less profitable black market for horn or even dropping it altogether. More likely, they might respond aggressively by actually increasing their illegal supplies. This could be achieved by offering poachers a greater financial incentive to face the risks. If the crime rings accepted lower margins but pushed out a greater supply, they could maintain their overall profit levels.

PRO TRADE

Illegal traders in rhino horn are likely to accept a new regime of a legal market. Illegal trade would not be eliminated entirely, but it would reduce.
Crime syndicates would most likely respond by adjusting the quantity they supply. In other words, they would curb poaching activities and continue supplying a smaller amount of horn, thereby maintaining some profit.