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The political debate over what should be done about endangered species seems to be continuing without end. Calls are already emerging this year to place a multitude of species on the endangered list, including the emperor penguin, the Arizona toad, the African lion, as well as many others.
In a recent move that is likely to come as a surprise to many animal lovers around the world, the South African government is asking the international community to legalize the rhino horn trade as a means to save the animal and to fight poaching.
The justification for this is clear: by banning the sale of the horns and thus making them less available, the price for them has gone through the roof, creating incredible monetary incentives for poachers. Meanwhile, the rhino has been stripped of a major source of its value in legal markets, which has caused private owners of rhinos to question the profitability of providing heavily for the animal’s security.
Such perverse forces are at play regarding the entire endangered species list, as the very status “endangered” makes it near impossible to make any money from the animals.
It’s a sad fact that the survival of species is now becoming dependent on their monetary value.