HSI calls on Australia to help international rhino conservation efforts
Humane Society International (HSI) has today called on Australia to help international rhino conservation efforts and stem the trade in rhino horn products, to mark the first World Wildlife Day on Monday 3rd March 2014. This follows discussions at the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in March 2013, when more than 170 countries agreed that the urgent adoption and implementation of stricter domestic measures was required to stem the international trade in rhino horn products.
“In recent years the number of rhinos poached in South Africa has increased alarmingly, from 13 animals killed in 2007 to a high of 1,004 animals killed in 2013. With 86 rhinos already reported killed by poachers in the first month of this year, it is clear that the demand for rhino horn has increased uncontrollably,” said HSI’s Alexia Wellbelove. “In fact, it is predicted that by 2016-18 rhino deaths will outweigh births, likely resulting in their extinction. It is clear that we need to act now to help save rhinos.”
Demand for rhino horn in international trade has significantly increased in recent years, especially for use in traditional east Asian medicine where rumours have been spread recently suggesting it can be used in the treatment of cancer. There are also reports of the powdered horn being used as a hangover cure, and for other non-medicinal uses associated with status.
“Demand from international trade is not only driving illegal killing, especially in southern Africa, but due to its high value it has also driven the sourcing of rhino horn from private ownership, as antique specimens and hunting trophies are sourced to be traded and sold to get around current international trade rules,” said Ms Wellbelove.
“HSI is calling on the Australian Government this World Wildlife Day to urgently implement measures for a strict ban on the export and import of rhino horns to prevent rhino horn of any age or source from being traded. HSI believes that this would be a strong statement by Australia to the world of its commitment to conserve rhino populations, before it is too late,” concluded Ms Wellbelove.