A recently poached rhino carcass The Times/Getty Images

南非的犀牛悖论

约翰内斯堡——今年初,南非宪法法院推翻了一项2009年通过的冻结犀牛角贸易的禁令。动物保护组织因此遭受了毁灭性的打击,他们曾衷心欢迎这项被视为南非与1977年后生效的全球贸易禁令相看齐的举措。

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但随着法院的裁决逐渐被人们理解,商业饲养者和动物权利组织面临着一个关键的问题:建立合法的养殖犀牛角市场能否阻止每年导致约1,500头野生犀牛丧命的大面积偷猎?

对南非犀牛业而言,法院的裁决是一道分水岭。全世界最成功的犀牛繁育者约翰·休姆于今年8月举行了该国历史上首次在线犀牛角拍卖活动。他在拍卖网站上认为“人们对犀牛角的需求量很大,而且公开犀牛角贸易有可能满足这种需求,从而防止犀牛被偷猎。”

犀牛角贸易反对人士则认为合法贸易可能增加对犀牛角的需求量,唤起人们处于休眠状态的兴趣。需求增长可能超过商业供应,甚至引发更多非法的野生动物偷猎行为。批评者们也担心终止禁令将消除与拥有犀牛角相关的残留的污点,从而进一步促进需求。

像休姆这样的饲养者和贸易者承认需求“不会很快消失。”但他们认为因为犀牛角是一种可再生资源——它们在缓慢修剪时尽管长得很慢,但却能逐渐长回来——因此南非实际需要的是采取措施鼓励负责任的饲养和保护。“如果我们不采取措施满足需求,”休姆认为,“我们就无法挽救犀牛。”

我们尚不清楚法院裁决将对因药用价值而在整个亚洲都非常珍贵的这种资源需求产生何种影响。但有一点可以明确,那就是太过信任商业保护方法具有太多的危险因素。有证据表明虽然饲养犀牛可能在细分市场具有可行性,但它却无法阻止偷猎野生犀牛的行为。

通过饲养来保护野生动物的类似工作都没有取得成功。举例来讲,一项2010年在越南进行的研究表明商业养殖作为普遍受欢迎肉源的东南亚豪猪并没有显著减少人们偷猎野生豪猪的行为。象牙、熊胆和麝香的状况也是一样。对野生产品的需求往往远远超过商业饲养所能提供的现实产量。

商业养殖计划因为某些买家认为野生产品价值更高的看法而进一步陷入被动。正如约翰内斯堡大学科学家劳拉·藤森所指出的那样,“野生动物因其稀少和昂贵而被视为具有更高的价值。”

对犀牛而言情况尤其如此。偷猎者往往通过向买家展示犀牛角是从头骨上直接取下来的来证明其非法产品的真实性,而这种取角方式会直接导致犀牛死亡。只有最讲良心的买主才会确保他们所购买的犀牛角来自于持证的繁育商。

从历史上看,偷猎行为也几乎不受犀牛角零售价格波动的影响。要想靠价格机制来消除偷猎,必须要先最大限度地压缩需求。在需求实际增长且没有价格限制以鼓励人工繁育的情况下,供给侧干预措施不太可能有效保护野生犀牛。目前,犀牛角在亚洲部分地区售价已经高达$60,000/每公斤

繁育者坚信通过许可制度和检测技术可以辨识合法犀牛角,执法人员则可以防止非法的犀牛角贩运,而国内贸易可以减少对野生种群的压力。但这些说法取决于若干限制条件,而这些条件就目前而言仅仅是人们美好愿望的反映。

首先,只有当养殖牛角被视为野生牛角的替代品时商业养殖才可能取得成功。但像藤森那样的研究人员表明,这一目标在近期不太可能实现,因为非养殖产品普遍地位较高。


此外还需要加强执法工作以查明非法供应及打击洗钱链条。不幸的是,偷运野生动物制品的非法集团往往拥有政府官员的协助,因此逃避侦查是他们的强项。

最后,赞成养殖的说法假设商业养殖将最终以低于偷猎者的价格提供犀牛角产品。但圈养繁殖需要耗费巨额的资金。举例而言,加利福尼亚大学圣地亚哥分校的科学家们已经证明,白犀牛在圈养条件下极少繁育具有活力的后代。不仅如此,年轻成年犀牛的牛角每年仅生长大约六厘米,而且年龄越大生长速度越低。

商业养殖人士争辩说他们的养殖行为不同于“圈养”,而休姆的模式则旨在尽可能模仿犀牛的野生条件。但如果养殖方案真的想要取代野生捕猎,其他的饲养者也需要模仿这样的条件。这需要投入大笔资金,而且肯定有人希望投机取巧。

尽管养殖者迫不及待地想要保护自己的生计,但经济学家已经拆穿了犀牛角国内合法市场能够保护野生种群的神话。即使来自南非的养殖产品能够满足全球部分需求,但却无法改变醉心于野生产品的消费者需求,也无法改变那些对产品来源漠不关心的人。南非最有可能迅速建立起平行市场,非法犀牛角所赚来的钱被大量洗白。繁育者可能认为这种状况可以接受,但却完全不符合希望保护野生犀牛群体的诉求。

翻译:Xu Binbin

http://prosyn.org/SH9EytE/zh;

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