The Peace Parks Foundation in South Africa has paid back one-and-a-half million Euros to a Dutch Lottery, admitting that their project to protect rhinos from poaching by poisoning the horns doesn’t work. Scientists had been pointing out all along that there was no evidence to support the ‘poison solution’. The ‘Postcodeloterij’ had made more than 14 million Euros available to Peace Parks for a number of anti-poaching projects in February this year.
“They finally admit that they knew all along that what they were saying was untrue”, says scientist Bram Buscher of the Erasmus University in the Netherlands, who, in tandem with researchers in South Africa and elsewhere, investigated the claim that poisoning rhino horn would make rhino horn products toxic and that, as a result, the market for such products would disappear. Doubt about the chemical process known as ‘horn infusion’ has been based on the fact that toxins, once injected, can’t spread through the impregnable rhino horn. It has also been argued that poachers would not care if some parts of the products they would sell to a credulous public were toxic.
The Postcodeloterij, which was apparently aware of the doubts at the time of the donation, nevertheless channelled the money to the Peace Parks Foundation.