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March 12, 2013

HSI and The HSUS Urge CITES Parties to Implement Protections for Rhinos

Humane Society International/United Kingdom Executive Director and Veterinarian Mark Jones released the following statement during the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species on provisions put forth to help protect rhinos from poaching. The surge in rhino poaching has seen close to 2,000 rhinos killed for their horns in South Africa alone since 2007 and shows no sign of abating.

“CITES parties have delivered a message to criminals active in the rhino horn trade that poaching will not be tolerated. The measures put forth should help to reduce the pressures on these ancient and magnificent creatures, whose numbers are projected to start declining within three years if poaching does not abate. Humane Society International urges all parties to CITES, especially rhino range countries and those through which illegal horn travels or in which it is consumed, to work to implement these measures.”

The Conference of the Parties agreed to measures that ask CITES parties to: improve international collaboration in law enforcement; use technology to expose the criminal networks involved in poaching to increase the likelihood of successful prosecutions; introduce tighter controls on the movement of rhino horn across international borders; and develop public education programs to reduce demand for rhino horn. Also, authorities in CITES member countries where commercial trade in rhino horn takes place should work to increase trade controls.

Mozambique and Vietnam were identified as key countries of concern, since many poachers operate along Mozambique’s border with South Africa, and the vast majority of rhino horn exported to markets in East and Southeast Asia ends up in Vietnam.

Over the last few years, many hundreds of rhino horns -- derived from rhinos legally shot by Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese so-called ‘trophy hunters’ taking advantage of weak controls over trophy hunting in South Africa -- are believed to have entered Asia’s thriving illegal markets.

For rhino facts and CITES proposals, please visit hsi.org/citesrhinos.

U.S. Media Contact: Rebecca Basu, +1 (240-753-4875), rbasu@humanesociety.org

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