Rhinoceros populations in Africa are in peril largely due to the high value of their horns and the poaching that ensues. The strategy of legalizing the international trade of rhino horn is receiving increased support among both the people and government officials in Africa. Many in the international conservation community remain opposed to the idea. The legalization strategy is straightforward in theory: legalizing the trade of rhino horn will introduce a large quantity of horn to the market, the increased supply will lead to lower prices for rhino horn, and lower prices will reduce the overall poaching pressure these animals face. In this work, we propose a model for rhino populations that includes the interrelated dynamics of the price of rhino horn and poaching rates to establish thresholds of parameter values for which legalization can either increase or decrease rhino populations.
Doyle, Henry; Champagne, Kylie; Rajpal, Ditto; Seebeck, Grace; and Gerberry, David J.
"A Coupled Model of Population, Poaching, and Economic Dynamics to Assess Rhino Conservation Through Legal Trade,"
Spora: A Journal of Biomathematics: Vol. 10, 15–23.
Available at: https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/spora/vol10/iss1/4