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Found 5 results

  1. Efforts to curb the deadly trade in rhino horn appear to be gaining traction, with a poll finding that demand for the animal part in Vietnam has dropped by more than a third over the past year. After a year-long public information campaign in Vietnam, only 2.6% of people in the Asian country now continue to buy and use rhino horn, a decrease of 38%. Importantly, there has been a 25% decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn, which is made of the same material as fingernails and hair, has medicinal value. However, 38% of Vietnamese still think it can treat diseases such as cancer and rheumatism. read the full article in The Guardian here
  2. I'm confused... There has been a lot of publicity given to the crushing of 1 ton of ivory in New York this week. In The Guardian coverage they said Surely by crushing ivory you are reducing the supply and therefore, without doing anything to reduce the demand, you are forcing those who desire ivory to go out and find more to replace what was destroyed. The only way they will get more ivory is to poach more elephants. Doesn't that defeat the purpose of crushing the ivory in the first place?
  3. I saw this alarming article in The Times today >>Ivory sales in China are skyrocketing, conservationists warned yesterday, as investors bet that prices will continue to rise as the African elephant is poached to extinction. Huge demand for ivory in China has seen retail prices in Beijing increase by a factor of 13.5 since 2002, according to research by the charity Save the Elephants. In Shanghai, the price rose eightfold over the same period. << Unfortunately, as I do not subscribe to The Times online I could not view the full article. here's the link - http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/environment/wildlife/article4292532.ece China is the biggest market for ivory and far from cutting back on their demand because of international pressure they are grabbing all they can in anticipation of elephants becoming extinct. The way I see it, is that this anticipation of extinction will lead to an increase in poaching not a decrease as traders and collectors try to grab as much as they can in the knowledge that it is just going to keep going up in value.
  4. In the ‘Rhino racketeering’ chapter of his book ‘The UN’s Lone Ranger: Combating International Wildlife Crime’, author JOHN SELLAR describes the incredible increases in rhino poaching in South Africa during the late 2000s, accompanied by other criminality around the world where hunting trophy horns and antique horn-based items were being stolen from museums, taxidermists and auction houses. These crimes were thought initially to be prompted by a belief that crushed rhino horn could treat cancers. What’s next, though? I thought this extract from John Sellar's book might be of interest as the debate on legalising the trade in rhino horn is one which has proved lively on Safaritalk. This is taken from South Africa's Daily Maverick. >>> It was inevitable that someone, at some point, would suggest that the answer to all these problems would be simply to legalise trade in rhinoceros horn. Such proposals began to be voiced in around 2008. Proponents argue that since rhinos can be de-horned, owners should be allowed to do so, and to sell the horn to consumers. It appears that the government of South Africa is considering this approach. One wonders whether there is any link between the major crisis presently facing South Africa and its offer to host the next CITES Conference of the Parties, scheduled for 2016. Several questions have come into my mind when considering the legal trade option: Will there be enough horns to meet the current demand, which presumably may continue to increase, especially if prohibitions on consumption were to be lifted? Could demand be met if the nature of the demand alters, moving, for example, from crushed horn, which requires small amounts to be taken from a whole horn, to a desire to possess whole horns as status symbols? Presumably, if legalised, prices for horn will lower. If so, will the trade be financially viable? While South Africa might, in terms of the Convention, argue that it could regulate exports in a sustainable manner, which are to be the importing countries? It takes two to tango and, at present, no country in Asia allows legal domestic trade in rhinoceros horn. Unlike the situation with elephant ivory, there are no assessed, authorised or regulated domestic markets elsewhere in the world to which traders in South Africa could sell trimmed horn. By early 2013, no Asian country and no nation elsewhere in the world had announced its interest in resuming legal trade in rhinoceros horn. If I were a criminal in Asia, might I not wish to undercut trade from Africa and kill rhinos in my own area instead? Given how close some rhinoceros populations in Asia are to the extinction tipping point, this would require very careful consideration. However, what resonates with me most is that there seems something almost immoral in legalising this trade. Its purpose, if the efficacy of rhino horn as a medicine is as questionable as it currently appears, would be to sell a non-peer-reviewed treatment to victims of one of the world’s most debilitating and fatal diseases, a treatment that would do them no good whatsoever. The fact that rhinoceros horn may, on occasions, have something of a positive, placebo-like impact on a cancer sufferer is surely no justification for making it available to others. I am also troubled by the unspoken undertones in these discussions, involving one part of the world supplying another, which, to my mind, might be seen as straying perilously close to discrimination or, at worst, racism. Is an end in sight? Regrettably, I see none. Although appreciation of the seriousness, organisation and sophistication of crimes affecting rhinoceroses is now much more widespread, rhinos continue to be killed. The numbers poached seem set, as I write this in 2013, to outstrip the totals of previous years. One hopes that the days are long gone when an intercepted smuggler, carrying five rhino horns between Africa and Asia, was allowed to proceed on his way, customs officers having confiscated the contraband. And yet that occurred as recently as 2008. The follow-up to interceptions or the exchange of information between agencies, nationally and internationally, appears at times as dismally inadequate for rhinos as it has sometimes been for elephants, tigers and so many other endangered species. I remain concerned at the potential for fraud within the antique world. There is clearly a legitimate trade in antique rhino horn products, especially Chinese libation cups. Although some of these products and old trophies, sold through English auction houses, for example, were undoubtedly intended for clandestine purposes, the prices paid for others were far too high for them to be crushed down into powder for medicinal use. This, in itself, is what makes me anxious. As I mentioned before, organised crime has many tentacles and they stretch far and wide. Their aim is to seek out every crevice or corner where another situation can be exploited for profit. Experience has shown us that items carved from fresh elephant ivory have been disguised and passed off as antiques and subsequently sold at high price. Personally, I believe it is only a matter of time before the counterfeiting of antique rhino horn items is uncovered. The very significant increase in both the value of, and interest in, Chinese objets d’art offers criminal exploitation opportunities. It was, however, when I learned that a single rhinoceros horn libation cup had sold at auction in the United States in 2010 for over 900,000 dollars that I became utterly convinced: it can only be a matter of time before fraud is detected. (NOTE: In May 2014, the author’s concerns were shown to be well-founded when a Chinese national was sentenced to 70 months’ imprisonment in the United States for acquiring horns for just such a purpose.) During the period since my retirement from CITES, I have read that crushed rhino horn is now being taken in parts of the southeast and far east of Asia as a treatment for a hangover. Some horns are apparently also being acquired as a status symbol for their owner, just as some buyers seek a tiger skin for display in their homes or offices. As I prepare to move away from species-specific issues, I am conscious of another concern which has long troubled me. The consumption of wildlife has, over the whole of man’s existence, taken myriad forms, with many different demands and motivators. Some of these have almost been like fashions, emerging for a period and then drifting away. Who could possibly have predicted that rhino horn would one day be thought of as a cure for cancer? Importantly, who can predict what bizarre or unexpected demand might suddenly appear next? It is this history of use and abuse which convinces me that we must halt our current species-specific approach. We must stop thinking of wildlife crime but think, instead, simply of crime. If we do not, then we will constantly be running to catch up, as we have done in relation to elephants, rhinos and tigers, whenever some new illicit demand presents itself and begins to drive yet one more species from the conservation-concern category into one of extinction-endangerment. The UN’s Lone Ranger: Combating International Wildlife Crime is published by Whittles Publishing. John M. Sellar OBE was an officer of the Scottish Police Service for 24 years before moving to the United Nations. He served there for fourteen years, retiring in 2011 from the post of Chief of Enforcement with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). He now operates internationally as an Anti-Smuggling, Fraud and Organized Crime consultant. The UN’s Lone Ranger is available from Kalahari.com
  5. Scaly anteaters are now the most illegally-traded mammal in the world, with all eight species listed as threatened I've never been that excited by pangolins, but after reading @@madaboutcheetah's current TR I started thinking I should get a bit more excited. Then this morning I saw this article and thought I might have to move them nearer to the top of my list. And damn! if it isn't the Chinese and Vietnamese being blamed again. >>Pangolins are being "eaten to extinction" due to a demand for their meat at banquets in China and Vietnam and their scales for use in Chinese medicine, conservationists have warned. In an update last week to the authoritative Red List of endangered animals, all eight species of the scaly anteaters were upgraded to threatened status.<< To read the full article click here

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