Debate: Should the global trade of rhino horn be legalised?

Aug 03 2016 19:00 - 20:15

The Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle St, W1S 4BS London




“This house believes that the global trade of rhino horn should be legalised”

Join John Hume, South Africa's largest private rhino breeder and a pioneering advocate for legalising horn trade, with Born Free Foundation President and CEO, Will Travers for a moderated debate by Ecologist and Author Dr. Craig Packer at the historic Royal Institute of Great Britain.


WILL TRAVERS OBE - President and CEO of Born Free Foundation, President of Born Free USA Will Travers has dedicated his life to wildlife issues, ever since he lived with his family in Kenya while his parents, Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers, made the film Born Free (1966). In 1984, he co-founded the charitable organisation which has become known as The Born Free Foundation ( Will is also President of Born Free USA (, a national animal advocacy non-profit 501©(3) organization, which aims to end the suffering of wild animals in captivity, rescue individual animals in need, protect wildlife – including highly endangered species – in their natural habitats, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

JOHN HUME John Hume is South Africa's largest private rhino breeder with almost 1,400 rhinos under his protection. After a successful business career in the property development field, John retired to the Lowveld region of South Africa in 1992 and began breeding rare and endangered wildlife species on his game ranch. He successfully bred Roan and Sabie antelope and many other game species on the ranch and had the largest TB-free buffalo breeding project in the country. He also had Black and White rhino and it was here that his passion and love for these gentle animals grew. In 2007, disaster struck for the first time, as three rhinos were poached on John's ranch. He immediately made the decision to dehorn all the rest of his rhinos, in an effort to protect them from poachers. However, the poaching figures in the country were soon soaring and late in 2011 and early 2012, another six rhinos were poached on the ranch. At this point he was already a vocal advocate for legalising the trade in rhino horn to save the species. This involved a decision to put his entire fortune into this endeavour. John firmly believes that if we reach a point where trade in horn is legal again, rhino lives will be more valuable than their deaths and poaching will decrease. John refers to himself as a pioneer in the field of large-scale captive rhino breeding and he has bred944 rhino calves. He is convinced that his current model is the way for us to save rhinos from extinction. His ambition is to breed 200 rhino calves per year.

CRAIG PACKER (Moderator) Craig Packer is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He first went to East Africa in 1972 as a field assistant to Jane Goodall and returned to Gombe in 1974-75 to conduct his PhD research on olive baboons. After a brief study of Japanese macaques in Hakusan National Park, he returned to Tanzania in 1978 to head the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Lion Projects. His book, “Into Africa,” won the John Burroughs Medal in 1995, and he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. Over the past dozen yrs, he has served as an official member of the Tanzanian Delegation to CITES, founded an NGO to measure the effectiveness of Foreign Aid projects in rural Africa, and advised the American and British governments on sport hunting. He has published over 150 scientific papers, and his new book, “Lions in the Balance: Man-eaters, manes and men with guns,” was published in Sept. 2015. He has recently shifted his research program to South Africa after being banned from Tanzania for exposing corruption in the hunting industry.

General Admission

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