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Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind the Elephant and Rhinoceros Poaching Crisis [Kindle Edition]

Ronald Orenstein , Iain Douglas-Hamilton
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Meticulous research, chilling facts.... an important and much needed book.
-- Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute

If it is understanding you seek, turn these pages.
-- Virginia McKenna, OBE, Founder, The Born Free Foundation

If you care about elephants and rhinos, and the poaching onslaught that threatens their extinction in the wild, this is the book for you.
-- Ian Redmond, OBE, Ambassador, UN Great Apes Survival Program

As recently as ten years ago, out of every ten African elephants that died, four fell at the hands of poachers. The figure today is eight. Over sixty percent of Africa's Forest Elephants have been killed by poachers since the turn of the century. Rhinoceroses are being slaughtered throughout their ranges. The Vietnamese One-horned
Rhinoceros and the Western Black rhino have become extinct in the last decade, and the Northern White Rhinoceros, the largest of them all, barely survives in captivity.

This alarming book tells a crime story that takes place thousands of miles away, in countries that few of us may visit. But like the trade in illegal drugs, the traffic in elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn has far-reaching implications not only for these endangered animals, but also for the human victims of a world-wide surge in organized crime, corruption and violence.

Since the worldwide ban on commercial ivory trade was passed in 1989, after a decade that saw half of Africa's elephants slaughtered by poachers, Ronald Orenstein has been at the heart of the fight. Today a new ivory crisis has arisen, fuelled by internal wars in Africa and a growing market in the Far East. Seizures of smuggled ivory have shot up in the past few years. Bands of
militia have crossed from one side of Africa to the other, slaughtering elephants with automatic weapons. A market surge in Vietnam and elsewhere has led to a growing criminal onslaught against the world's rhinoceroses. The situation, for both elephants and rhinos, is dire.

Product Description


'Meticulous research, chilling facts... an important and much needed book' Dr Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of The Jane Goodhall Institute.

About the Author

Ronald Orenstein is a zoologist, lawyer and wildlife conservationist who has written extensively on a wide range of natural history issues. His most recent book is Turtles, Tortoises and Terrapins. He is a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton is one of the world's foremost authorities on the African elephant. He pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behavior in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park at age 23. He founded Save the Elephants in 1993 and was awarded the illustrious Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3570 KB
  • Print Length: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Firefly Books (25 July 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #161,547 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IVORY, HORN AND BLOOD 3 Dec. 2013
By Dr S. S. Nagi TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was first published in 2013, has 193 pages, 19 chapters, 28 colour photos but no maps. The book is dedicated to RONALD ORENSTEIN's father 'CHARLES'. The foreword is by Iain Douglas Hamilton OBE. For many reasons, elephants and rhinos are been slaughtered. This book takes one through history and explanation as to how we got into this situation and suggests some of the ways to get out of it. There are some extreme cruelty stories in this book along with bloody pictures. People are afraid to speak out and the meetings are usually held far away from where the killing fields are. This book deals with live elephants and rhinos, ivory and horn trade, corruption, theft and organised crime, poverty and crisis in the elephant and rhino numbers.
Today, elephant ivory and rhino (Nose horn) horn have become currencies of war. There has been widespread and catastrophic decline of 63% of forest elephants. The Sumatran doubled horn rhino is one of the most endangered large mammals on earth today. The demand of ivory among the new Chinese wealthy is destroying the world's elephants. Chinese believe that the elephant tusks(xiang-ya) or teeth grow again like human teeth! There is no practical way to get ivory from a wild elephant and leave the animal alive. It is now believed that rhino horn as an aphrodisiac, is only a story. Myths of using rhino horn to detect poison and ward away evil spirits still exist. The main market for rhino horn is Yemen, where it is used as a handle for dagger (Jambiya). However, there is now a new market for this in Vietnam.
Large scale poaching of elephants and rhino is a commercial enterprise today. The other issue is PRICE and PROFITS and corruption in high places. The rhino horn trade was banned in 1975 and the elephant ivory trade in 1989.
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4.0 out of 5 stars First-rate overview 17 Dec. 2013
By J.M.S.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The author demonstrates his deep knowledge of the subject in a highly readable manner. He provides a great insight into the seldom well-understood political and diplomatic decision-making processes that determine how trade in endangered species is regulated. Whilst setting out his own views on the rights and wrongs of some of the historical decisions, and some that may soon have to be taken, he does so in an objective manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read book! 20 Nov. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a must read book for anyone concerned with escalating elephant and rhino poaching. At times depressing, it goes into great depth and explains why opening the trade ban on selling horn and ivory is the worst possible course of action, and unless we act now and start educating and changing the desire for the multitude of reason's that people want to acquire horn and ivory, these species will become extinct. Completely up to date as only published earlier this year (2013). There is hope if we act now!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, very informative 16 Jan. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great book,very informative.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Impassioned Plea For Action To Preserve The Remaining Elephant and Rhino Species 26 Nov. 2013
By Alan L. Chase - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Ronald Orenstein has written a book that pleads with readers to understand the complexities of the poaching of elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia. "Ivory, Horn and Blood: Behind The Elephant and Rhino Poaching Crisis" is a comprehensive analysis of the current crisis, and a balanced discussion of the many options being considered to save the remaining populations of rhinos and elephants in both Africa and Asia.

The book is written in a rather pedantic manner. I suspect that this is a deliberate choice on the part of the author to avoid undue sensationalism and emotionalism. The result, however, is a book that is rather dry and plodding. He writes primarily from the perspective of the plethora of government and NGO bureaucracies that have sprung up to address various aspects of the ivory and rhino horn trade. Particular attention is paid to the controversial CITES - Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

It is clear from this book that CITES is like Winston Churchill's notorious definition of democracy: "Democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried." CITES, with all of its flaws, is probably the best option available now for curbing the trade in ivory and rhino horns and thereby preserving what may be left of our herds of elephants and crashes of rhinos.

The bottom line in reading this book is that the best actions that any individual reader can take in helping to ensure the perpetuation of these magnificent creatures is to refrain from buying ivory and rhino horn products, to encourage others to refrain from making such purchases, and to contribute to NGOs like the World Wildlife Fund and similar organizations.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Continuing Slaughter 14 Oct. 2013
By Spudman - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This isn't an easy book to read. Yes, there are numerous acronyms and too many names, and groups, and numbers to juggle in one's head, but that's not wherein lies the difficulty. What's difficult is to bear witness vicariously to the vicious slaughter of rhinos and elephants despite the futile efforts of the well-meaning to protect them. In 2012 twenty-five to thirty thousand elephants were killed for their ivory. In parts of the world species of rhino and/or elephant have become extinct or endangered. Why? Mostly for money, and in the case of the rhinoceros for ancient and present medicinal beliefs. Contrary to popular belief, not many still believe in the aphrodisiacal properties of rhinoceros horn, but desperate cancer victims look for rhinoceros horn to be their salvation.

The author and conservation groups ponder solutions. Ponder legalization, criminalization, punishments, protection for the animals. Unfortunately some groups eschew laws, and have no respect for human or animal life. Al Shabaab, a Somali terrorist group that conducted 2013's Westgate mall attack in Kenya, is said to get up to 40% of its income from the poaching of ivory. These Islamists think nothing of slaughtering elephants and people to support their jihad.
They'll sometimes kill the calves first. When the adults come to the aid of their young, they are shot down and then unceremoniously hacked with machetes for the removal of their tusks.

The killing of rhinos for their tusks is not less horrible. They're trapped in pits studded with bamboo stakes, shot with semi automatic weapons, electrocuted, or strangled. Horns are sawed or chopped off the animals, some of whom are still alive while being brutalized.

The book has good pacing and the author holds the reader's interest using foreshadowing and alternating chapters between elephants and rhinoceroses. Some readers can get bogged down by the litany of facts and figures, but the conscientious reader will be rewarded and educated. For example, I hadn't known that Viet Nam and Laos were such prominent players in this sad saga.

Those who care about the plights of elephant and rhino and want reliable information from someone who "walks the walk" will want to read "Ivory, Horn and Blood".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 17 Sept. 2013
By Ericka Ceballos, President CATCA Environmental and Wildlife Society - Published on
Ron's book offers a rare approach to understand the very complex and political web of deception, murder and international corruption that hides behind the illegal international trade in elephant ivory and horn trade.

Each chapter is very intense and it contains a rich source of information with very interesting detailed data, that will keep the reader glued to the book while helping the reader understand the extend of the current crisis that are facing the elephant and rhinos in Africa and Asia.

It will also help the readers to understand how CITES (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) works, its complexity, and their main role of in this trade.

Most of the people aren't familiar with CITES or with the daily butchery of the elephants and rhinos in Africa and Asia, but even people like me who closely work with this Convention and for the African elephant conservation and protection, I found in this book some amazing, shocking and quite disturbing facts. I have learned a lot of important information that I wasn't aware before reading this book.

"Ivory, rhino and blood" explains in detail the intricate corruption and all the organized crime behind the poaching of these magnificent animals.

This is a very well researched book that will make you understand in a clear and easy wording, how multinational and political this tragic issue is.

I highly recommended this book for all the people working in animal conservation, for the people that are interested in elephant and rhino conservation or that are fighting against the ivory and rhino horn trade, or just for the people that want to understand and learn more about the reasons why those animals are been driving to extinction.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent introduction to the problems of the ivory and rhino-horn trade 9 Dec. 2013
By Silvester Percival - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Remember the TV documentary back in the 80s and early 90s showing elephants being shot down with machine guns from helicopters? Remember the sight of poachers hacking tusks off with cheap axes and machetes? Remember the stirring scenes of elephant carcasses littering the grasslands -- victims of a trade that sought to profit from ivory and animal parts?

These images, disseminated on TV and in photographs, have been common in the West for at least 30 years. Orenstein's book reminds us that, if anything, the poaching crisis has escalated, taking a huge toll of animal as well as human life right up to the present day. This is a well written, well informed, and well documented book on the elephant and rhino poaching crisis in Africa and Asia. The author, Ronald Orenstein, has a longstanding expertise on this subject. We learn in the Preface that he worked on the legal side of CITES (treaty on trade of endangered species) in the 1980s and has continued to actively engage and follow developments in the poaching and ivory trading crisis over the last several decades.

The book follows a clear structure divided into three parts: (1) What Happened? (2) What Went Wrong? (3) What Can Be Done? Throughout the book's 19 chapters, there is a back-and-forth discussion that jumps from elephants to rhinos and back again, but the challenges of poaching and illicit trade involving the two species complement each other, and the principles of conservation and solutions to be found are two currents flowing in the same stream. Saving rhinos and saving elephants are, in other words, two sides of the same coin and must be considered together. Part 1 of the book gives some biological background on both elephants and rhinos and discusses past issues involving their hunting and conservation. The following chapters then discuss the trade in ivory and horns, beginning with the supply side (in, say, Africa), including why poachers choose to poach, and ending with a discussion of the demand side, including why people buy horns and ivory (primarily in China and Vietnam, as of 2013).

Readers will find many interesting facts interspersed with Orenstein's trenchant analysis. He tells us, for instance, that ancient Egyptian and Roman demand for ivory was probably so great that it accounted for the extinction of elephants north of the Sahara. Others might find it interesting to learn that rhino horns regrow if removed correctly (like hair or fingernails), and that a recent strategy to deter poaching is to saw off the horn and thus remove the reason for killing them (a somewhat costly strategy, it turns out). The author also tells us that, contrary to popular belief, most Asians do NOT regard rhino horn as an aphrodisiac -- it was a myth of European origin, he claims. Rather, it is used for other medicinal reasons, to flaunt wealth or status, as a gift, or for other purposes.

Orenstein ends Part 1 of the book with a more detailed discussion of the recent history of conservation. He explains the history of CITES (the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which came into force in 1973 and has been amended numerous times since. The author identifies a key moment occurring in 1989. By that year, the elephant population in East Africa had declined by 80 percent or more, despite hunting bans on Kenya and Tanzania. At the same time, several countries, including Kenya, were earning large incomes from tourism and were thus keen to save the wildlife upon which the lucrative tourism industries depended. Kenya, Tanzania, Somalia, Gambia, Hungary, Austria, and the United States endorsed a new policy that outlawed what was left of the *legal* trade in ivory. The United States, EU, and others backed this ban with national policies. As Orenstein explains later, this had a profound effect on the poaching crisis, bringing great success that was later derailed by concessions to the "legal-trade" school of conservation.

One of the author’s main argument is that total bans on the trade of ivory and rhino horn are the most effective means of curtailing its trade. Before the 1989 ban, illegal ivory could be poached in Africa and sold as if it was legal. The buyer would never know the difference between legal and illegal products. Consumer demand would thus remain high on the assumption that ivory he was buying must be legal, which was rarely the case. What the ban accomplished, then, was to send the message that ALL ivory trade was illegal, ending the back-door route by which poached ivory had made its way to the market. “The initial success of the ban was considerable,” Orenstein concludes.

So what went wrong? Orenstein argues that, before the CITES bans could achieve total success, alternative strategies gained influence. There was an old and established belief among many that banning a desirable commodity would only drive the trade underground, where it could not be controlled by responsible governments or international bodies. Prohibition and the drug war had failed for this reason, the opponents argued, and so would the CITES ban. Even The Economist magazine agreed that bans would simply drive the trade underground. The problem with this argument, Orenstein argues, is that ivory is not an illicit drug or an intoxicating beverage to be purchased on back alleys. Most buyers wanted legal ivory, purchased through legitimate outlets. Many of them were wealthy and upper class and wanted social prestige, not a quick drug high or a bottle of moonshine. Without the ban, illegal ivory would be sold as if it was legal. The success of CITES came precisely because it closed off the possibility of laundering lucrative illegal ivory as if it was legitimately obtained.

Nevertheless, pressure mounted to repeal CITES and to allow at least a limited trade in animal commodities. The opponents of CITES were well meaning but terribly misguided, Orenstein believes. They thought that, if ivory could be sold responsibility and legally, the money could be plowed back into saving other animals in parks and reserves. This idea is neat in principle and works in favor of many small game ranches and conservation interests. It also helped beleaguered governments holding large stocks of ivory that could not be sold under the terms of the treaty. But, as Orenstein insists (rightly in my opinion), opening the legal trade of ivory and rhino horn to several responsible parties makes it impossible to keep illegal poached ivory and rhino from being mixed in and laundered as if it was legal. Once the market was opened back up and buyers grew accustomed to seeing ivory and rhino horn in shops, it was impossible to keep the illegal goods from shops. Demand and prices skyrocketed. The result was a massive illegal slaughter carried out by heavily armed and organized militias that continue to roam the gamelands.

Orenstein’s book traces the struggle against poaching right up to the present day by reference to a large amount of literature and news material on the subject. He explains the surge in prices of these animal commodities, the efforts to curb poaching, the successes and missteps along the way, and the policies that can be adopted in the twenty-first century. His book is, in my opinion, an excellent survey of the subject, and it has the benefit of being written by a well-informed individual with a talent for writing and vast experience with his subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ FOR LOVERS OF ALL ANIMALS 20 Nov. 2013
By Schuyler T Wallace - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is an international disgrace out there; the wanton slaughter of thousands of elephants and rhinoceroses that gets worse every year. The lust for ivory and horns is one of man’s ugliest traits. Ronald Orenstein, in IVORY, HORN AND BLOOD, has written a book about this tragedy that is a difficult read but eye-opening in its scope.

In the book, Dr. Orenstein examines the slaughter of thousands of elephants and rhinos in a greedy fervor for their tusks and horns. In recent years, eight of every ten African elephants that died were victims of poachers, with rhinoceroses being thinned out in similar numbers. A couple of species of rhino have become extinct during the last decade and over that same period Africa’s elephant population has decreased alarmingly. Public clamor to fulfill a basically selfish desire is the underlying cause.

The details of all this gluttony are hard to accept. The supporting data that outlines the findings are difficult (and often dangerous) to collect. But the statistics provide glaring evidence that magnificent animals are disappearing from their natural habitat because bands of poachers using automatic weapons have initiated bloody slaughters. There are reports of hundreds of elephants being killed in a single attack.

Modern technology is being used to satisfy the increasing human desire for ivory and horn by raising kill numbers. Increased firepower, along with airplanes, helicopters, and wheeled vehicles have made the animals relatively easy to find, kill swiftly in large numbers, and allow rapid escape with heavy loads of illegal ivory or horn. The corruption and poverty in the violated African or Asian countries makes effective countermeasures nearly impossible to implement.

Dr. Orenstein explains all this with sound research, logical reasoning, and comprehensive statistics. Unfortunately, the subject is complicated. Forty five acronyms for procedures and organizations attempting to solve the problem are listed at the beginning of his book. Dr. Orenstein uses them extensively as he tries to illustrate the efforts being made to save the wildlife. Because of this, the narrative is hard to follow. But the color photos depicting horrific scenes of animal slaughter and deformity speak for themselves and (in my case) stir an inner anger.

The author alludes to three challenges for elephant conservation (hastening to include rhinos in his inference); poaching in the field, illegal trade, and excessive consumer demand. Each of these hurdles has major complications that must be addressed and overcome. Anti-poaching efforts that have been implemented have proven to slow the killing. Much more must be accomplished, not an easy task because of the diversity in economics, culture, and interest exhibited by the abundance of involved countries. Dealing with the commerce behind the illegal goods has similar problems as does changing public attitudes about the possession of artifacts and health products made from ivory and horn.

This is an important book and, despite the difficulty of grasping the immense effort being instituted, should be read to arouse public apathy. Some skimming because of the complexity may be unavoidable but the disturbing facts are undeniable and deserve your attention.

Schuyler T Wallace
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