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Rhino poaching, property rights and the economics of trading horns

Graham Watson

15th November 2017

You might not think that rhino poaching is an economic issue. I do.

It's a classic example of what happens to a common access resources, in the absence of property rights. One of the proposed solutions is for existing rhino breeders to accept that a market for rhino horn exists and that one of the best ways of tackling poaching is by providing rhino horn via formal channels, and then using the proceeds to fund conservation. 

Economics is influential, and offers solutions to many issues - and this is splendid example. Indeed, there have already been attempts to adopt innovative solutions to other forms of poaching, particularly elephants.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to Tutor2U, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.


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