Australia’s Exotic Pet Trade Is Both Surprising And Rising

By |2024-02-25T15:00:27+11:00February 25th, 2024|Blog|

So how does Australia contribute to the global Exotic Pet Trade (EPT)? The scale of it is surprising, apparently rising and happens in legal and illegal ways. On top of this, it seems a level of naivety has in the past contributed to Australia’s involvement.  As such I will look at this in three categories – Australia’s 1. LEGAL 2. LEGALISH and 3. ILLEGAL contributions to the EPT. As discussed in my last blog, Petted To Death, many would assume that Australia’s commitment to CITES and our own comparatively strict environmental legislation through the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act) would mean that any LEGAL contribution to a global EPT would be as good as non-existent. [...]

The Long Read: The Traders, The Traffickers And The Torturers

By |2024-02-06T10:11:05+11:00February 5th, 2024|Blog|

The 2023 BBC investigation, The Monkey Haters, which exposed the torture of baby macaques for the online viewing pleasure of sadistic people worldwide, provides a window on a world which profits from a trade in wild species and its light-touch regulation. The legal wildlife trade has been called one of the most lucrative trades in the world, yet most trade has no regulation at all. Only for around 40,000 species is trade regulated, on paper at least. But with the CITES trade permit processes stuck in the 1970s, the reality is this trade is managed with the technological equivalent of the 3M Post-It Note launched in 1977 (CITES launched in 1975). CITES trade regulation can’t cope with a [...]

Could This Sound The Needed Death Knell On The Legal Horn Debate?

By |2024-01-12T10:18:58+11:00January 12th, 2024|Blog|

In the final days of 2023, a tip-off to the South African Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation resulted in a 16-hour raid on Derek Lewitton’s South African ranch. Twenty-six rhino carcasses were located during the raid and it was suggested by officers that there could be more, “From the helicopter the place looked like a slaughterhouse,” Provincial Commissioner of Police Major General Jan Scheepers told ABC News when describing the scene. “Everywhere you looked, rhinos were lying there dead”. South African authorities must be informed about the death of a rhino, even if it dies of natural causes. Rhino horn was also found at the property without the necessary government documentation. Lewitton’s website, Black Rock Rhino Conservation, says, [...]

Petted To Death – Australia’s Little Known Contribution To The Extinction Crisis

By |2023-12-13T13:06:35+11:00December 13th, 2023|Blog|

Surely Australia doesn’t really have any involvement in a trade of wildlife to the rest of the world for purposes of pet ownership, does it? Pet ownership couldn’t really be a significant driver of the biodiversity loss across the globe, could it? This is my first blog for Nature Needs More having become a director nearly one year ago. I have had a long interest in the wildlife trade centred around rhino conservation and the issues associated with the trade of rhino horn. My interest and knowledge on the wider issues of the wildlife trade, both legal and illegal, grew from there and, as a veterinarian, a natural extension of this was to delve into the subject of [...]

You Can’t Make a Silk Purse Out Of A Sow’s Ear

By |2023-12-05T10:30:33+11:00December 5th, 2023|Blog|

One of the key arguments used for not moving to a reverse-listing (positive-listing, white-listing) regulatory system for the trade in wild species is that CITES already has a mechanism for implementing the precautionary principle - the Non-Detriment Findings (NDFs). In theory, the convention directs signatory counties to only issue export permits for Appendix I and II listed species when the national Scientific Authority of the State of export has advised that such export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species. Yet, as with the CITES regulator more broadly, ample evidence has been provided over the years that NDFs are unfit-for-purpose. The concerns about the quality and trustworthiness of NDFs are completely justifiable, given the lack [...]

Corporate Overexploitation Hides Behind The Skirts Of Community Livelihoods

By |2023-11-15T10:50:34+11:00November 15th, 2023|Blog|

Having just returned from Washington DC and meetings with political representatives and advisors from both side of the aisle, what is evident is how little they know about the international commercial legal trade in wild species. The pattern of the meetings was them bringing up elephants and rhinos, hunting trophies and zoos and poverty alleviation. This isn’t unique to the USA, we have found the same situation in meetings with political and trade representatives from Australia to Europe, Asia to Latin America. But it begs the question, how have the government policy people in the global conservation organisations, who do have access to government, left political representatives so ignorant of the scale of this industrial commercial trade? They [...]

Introducing The BU$IN€$$ of Nature Report

By |2023-09-22T10:11:57+10:00September 22nd, 2023|Blog|

Businesses and their investors have had 50 years to prove they could curb their excess with voluntary governance systems. They have decisively failed. Even now, in the face of natural and heath disasters, the success of new iterations of voluntary self-governance is being exaggerated. It is time to call them what they are, Phantom Solutions. We need to get real. The delusion of the need for constant growth, which is the desired state for investors, business and governments is accelerating the world to a tipping point from which we will not recover. We already live in a changed reality and even some of the key institutions who have driven us to this precipice are changing their tune; recently [...]

Reverse Listing – A Strategy Whose Time Has Come

By |2023-05-19T15:52:27+10:00May 19th, 2023|Blog|

It is time to accept that the current system of protecting species from over-exploitation by commercialising them is not working and hasn’t for some decades. The problem with regulating the legal trade in wild species and protecting species from extinction through trade is that the underlying basic assumption of the design of the CITES system, which was done in the mid-1960s, no longer applies. At the time, the perception of abundance and of low trade volumes led to the justification that the default could be ‘to trade’ in endangered and exotic species and only to apply restrictions when there is evidence of over exploitation because of the legal trade. Today the focus of conservation bodies is [...]

The Facts About Rhino Horn Demand Reduction Campaigns

By |2023-05-15T10:57:27+10:00May 14th, 2023|Blog|

A recent article in the Daily Maverick put all the same old pro-trade spin on opening the international trade in rhino horn. While there are plenty of counter arguments, again they have also been discussed for more than a decade, again-and-again. So, with this response, I will only clear up one of the misleading statements. The article implied that multi-millions of dollars has been spend over the last decade on rhino horn demand reduction campaigns and “the demand for rhino horn seems not to respond” to these activities. I have heard and read these statements many times in the media. Having volunteered my time to work on rhino horn demand reduction strategies, under the banner Breaking The Brand [...]

What Are John Hume’s Rhinos Really Worth?

By |2023-04-28T15:03:23+10:00April 27th, 2023|Blog|

Are 2,000 captive-bred, farmed rhinos of any value from either a commercial or conservation perspective? John Hume, the owner of the world’s largest private rhino herd, is auctioning off his rhino farm, the starting bid being US$10 million. The question is, what are Hume’s rhinos really worth? In recent weeks there have been quite a few emotional appeals from John Hume and his supporters to ‘see the value’ in what is being offered. I get that many people believe that this is John Hume’s life’s work, but the US$150 million the one-time billionaire reportedly spent on this enterprise is, in business terms, the project’s sunk cost. It is a business risk he chose to take, as he farmed [...]

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