Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Donald A. McFarlane

Reader 2

Philip Luck

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

2022 Mason A Hernandez


According to the World Wildlife Fund (n.d.), poaching poses the biggest danger to rhino populations. Despite an international ban on the trade in rhino horn since 1977 from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), rhino poaching still remains a major problem that may drive rhinos to extinction in the near future. Some rhino owners believe that lifting the ban and allowing a legal trade in rhino horn will better help protect rhino populations. To assess the validity of a legal trade, I first look at the history and current situation of the trade in rhino horn. Using data from the CITES Trade Database, I investigate the amount of horns traded both as confiscations and hunting trophies since the 1977 ban. Next, I list ongoing mitigation approaches to poaching, such as dying and poisoning the horn, removing the horn, introducing synthetic horn into illegal markets, and the establishment of anti-poaching units. Third, I present the differing opinions of supporters and opponents of a legal trade in rhino horn to get a better understanding of the trade. Lastly, I articulate previous models of legal, international trade put forth by South Africa and offer potential solutions making the trade legal. Beyond increasing excludability, the legal trade would have to reduce overall trade and find a way to harvest horn in a sustainable manner.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.