Firefly Books, October 2013. Octavo, laminated boards, colour photographs.
Rhinoceroses are being slaughtered throughout their ranges. The Vietnamese one-horned rhinoceros is extinct, the western black rhino is now believed to be extinct, and the northern white rhinoceros, the largest of them all, survives – only precariously – in captivity. Since the worldwide ban on ivory trading was passed in 1989, author Ronald Orenstein has been at the heart of the fight. The ban came after a decade that saw half of Africa’s elephants slaughtered by poachers. After the ban, Africa’s elephants started to recover – but in 1997 the ban was partially relaxed, and in 2008 it was agreed that China could legally import ivory from four designated States in southern Africa. Today a new ivory crisis has arisen – this time, fuelled by internal wars in Africa and a growing market in the Far East. The situation, for both elephants and rhinos, is dire. This captivating book sketches out a crime story that, for most, is unseen and takes place thousands of miles away and in countries that few will visit. But like the trade in illegal drugs, the trade in elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns has far-reaching implications not only for two species of endangered animals but also for all of us who are ultimately touched by a world-wide underground economy whose pillars are organized crime, corruption and violence.