Rhino photographed by Oscar Nkala. Credit AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY
Cites against legalising rhino horn trade
Gabarone – The German conservation group NABU International Foundation for Nature has warned that policy decisions based on erroneous assumptions about the rhino horn trade could result in “significant adverse consequences” for the conservation of wild rhino.In a new report titled “Pointless: A quantitative assessment of supply and demand in rhino horn and a case against trade,” NABU International head of endangered species conservation Dr Barbara Maas said after studying various rhino horn supply and demand scenarios they concluded that if the horn trade were legalised demand from the Chinese and Vietnamese markets alone would wipe out the global rhino population in a few years, as it far outstripped possible supplies from 141 tonnes of horn carried by the world’s remaining rhino.“The debate about whether legalised rhino horn trade might benefit rhino conservation has produced an abundance of academic and other publications, which include a large number of theory-based analyses. A quantitative appraisal of supply and demand has so far been lacking. This study provides the first quantitative assessment of the relationship between rhino horn supply and demand.“Scrutinising a variety of different supply and demand scenarios it illustrates the significant discrepancy between the reservoir of approximately 141 tonnes of horn carried by the world’s remaining rhino and those in South Africa and the two main consumer markets in Vietnam and China… Policy decisions about trade in rhino horn, if based on erroneous assumptions, risk significant adverse consequences for wild rhino, as well as adverse downstream effects on the bio-diversity of their habitat,” Maas said in the report summary.The foundation noted that rhino across the world were under siege from poachers, illegal traffickers, national and international criminal networks, art collectors, status and pleasure seekers, medical patients, and financial speculators intent on cashing in on their increasing rarity. According to NABU International estimates, at least 1342 rhino were killed by poachers in Africa in 2015, marking the highest annual fatality record since 2006.
According to the report, a single standard rhino horn prescription of three grams, nine grams, and 50 grams administered to 3.8 percent, 1.3 percent, and 0.2 percent respectively of the current adult populations of China and Vietnam would consume the horn mass of the entire surviving global rhino population of 29,324 if the rhino horn trade were to be legalised.
Further, the report found that South Africa’s 6014 privately-owned white rhino could service a mere 0.97 percent, 0.32 percent, and 0.06 percent of the Vietnamese and Chinese adult population with a single prescription of three grams, nine grams, and 50 grams of rhino horn respectively. Horns derived from regular de-horning of South Africa’s 6014 privately owned white rhino would provide only a single average prescription for adults in China and Vietnam.
“These simple calculations support the notion that lifting the ban on commercial rhino horn trade is likely to facilitate the extinction of rhino rather than support their survival. Illegal rhino horn trade is an international problem that requires a well-coordinated global response comprising a genuine commitment to strong legislation, uncompromising enforcement, and creative demand reduction initiatives,” the foundation concluded.
African News Agency
Swaziland’s rhino horn sale bid seen doomed at U.N. meeting on wildlife trade
Sat Sep 24, 2016 | 10:23am EDT
Swaziland faces a struggle to get permission to sell 330 kg rhino horn for about $10 million from a U.N. conference on the global wildlife trade which began in Johannesburg on Saturday but hopes to stoke a debate about regulated trade.
The African Kingdom of Swaziland, a poor, landlocked African country that is home to elephants, rhinos and other big animals, wants to use the money earned to pay for the conservation of its wildlife, a key tourism earner.
However, the global sale of rhino horn has been banned since the late 1970s and Swaziland’s proposal requires the support of two thirds of member states of the United Nations’ Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
“I don’t think we have a hope in hell. But we’ve at least opened the debate,” Ted Reilly, the chief executive of Swaziland’s Big Game Parks, told Reuters.
The CITES meeting comes against the backdrop of a surge in elephant and rhino poaching in Africa, lending a sense of urgency to this round of wildlife diplomacy.
Rhino horn is highly coveted in fast-growing Asian economies such as Vietnam, where it has been used for centuries in traditional medicines. But that demand is driving an illegal trade that has seen thousands of rhinos poached the past decade.
Opponents of opening up the trade argue it could lead to more poaching by criminals.
Supporters of a regulated trade say it could stem poaching by bringing legal supplies directly to the source of demand while raising funds to protect the animal. Rhino horn can be harvested without killing the animal as it grows back.
CITES is a global agreement among governments that regulates trade in wild flora and fauna or products derived from them with an aim to ensuring their survival. Over 180 countries are signatories.
Other initiatives which will stir controversy include proposals by Namibia and Zimbabwe to lift a global ban on ivory sales so they can sell stockpiles to raise conservation funds.
The conference, which runs until Oct. 5, will also consider proposals to provide more protection to ray and shark species.
“Sharks are in global crisis and there is a complete lack of management framework internationally and domestically around the world to protect them,” said Luke Warwick, project director for global shark conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Added protection is also being sought for several species of pangolin, small, scaly animals found in Africa and Asia whose scales and meat are prized for their supposed medicinal value.
(Editing by James Macharia and Alison Williams)
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Tags: China, CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, demand from the Chinese and Vietnamese markets, Dr Barbara Maas, endangered species, environmental, fisheries, fishing, giant clams, global rhino population, global shark conservation, Johannesburg, pangolin, pangolins, Pew Charitable Trusts, poaching, regulations, rhino, Rhino horn, rhino poaching, Safeguards, sharks, South Africa, South China Sea, Swaziland, Swaziland's Big Game Parks, traditional medicines, U.N., Vietnam, wildlife trafficking