WWF statement on rhinos at CITES

Posted on 12 March 2013  | 
Carlos Drews, head of WWF’s delegation at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) issued the following statement today in response to decisions from world governments to offer better protection for rhinos:

“Governments today made a clear choice at CITES to offer more protection to rhinos by agreeing on timelines that will help two of the worst offenders in the rhino horn trade, Viet Nam and Mozambique, clean up their act. 

"This is a big step forward for the protection of rhinos, a prehistoric animal that are being butchered for their horns at alarming rates to feed demand primarily in Viet Nam.

"A record 668 South African rhinos were killed by poachers last year, and close to 150 have died so far in 2013 - we're already moving at a pace that could see even more rhinos killed for their horns than last year.

“The challenge now is to ensure that Viet Nam and Mozambique make progress on their CITES commitments within the agreed time frame to avoid trade sanctions in the summer of 2014.”

Viet Nam is the main destination for rhino horn and is now required to implement a strategy to reduce demand in the country and ensure horn traffickers are prosecuted and strongly punished. 

Today’s success also means that Mozambique, a major transit country for rhino horn, must strengthen legislation and enforcement to reduce trade flows exiting the African continent. It is currently only a misdemeanour to smuggle rhino horns through Mozambique. The country shares a border with South Africa’s Kruger National Park, home to most of the world’s rhinos and also the epicentre of illegal killing. 

Rhino poaching has hit record highs and is currently exacerbated by increasingly sophisticated criminal networks. There is also a marked increase in consumption in Vietnam, fuelled by claims that rhino horn cures cancer and hangovers.

For further information:
Ian Morrison, ian.morrison@wwfus.org, (US) +1 202 372 6373, (Bangkok) +66 904 143 853
Chris Chaplin, cchaplin@wwf.sg, +65 9826 3802

About WWF
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.  WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.

www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources
Southern white rhinoceros adult and calf. The white rhino is listed by the IUCN and all other conservation groups as endangered. Many game wardens and researchers routinely risk their lives to help protect this species from poachers. New and innovative management programs are being developed to help save this magnificent creature. Just over 4000 white rhinos exist in the wild today. Southern Africa and East Africa.
© Martin Harvey / WWF-Canon Enlarge
Images of a female rhino who 4 months ago survived a brutal dehorning by poachers who used a chainsaw to remove her horns and a large section of bone in this area of her skull, Natal, South Africa, November 9, 2010. The poachers surveyed the area by helicopter, mapped out the movements of the Rhino and the Guards and then darted the animal and hacked of the horn with a chainsaw. In an act of callous brutality they left the animal alive when they left with the horns. This Rhino was consequently found the next day wandering around in unimaginable pain. She also had a young 4 week old calf who was seperated in the incident and subsequently died of starvation and dehydration. The female adult miraculously survived the dehorning and with some vetrinary supervision has gone on to join up with a male bull who accompanies her and helps her to survive.
© © Brent Stirton / Getty Images / WWF-UK Enlarge
Sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties 3 - 14 March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand
© CITES Enlarge

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required