Rhino horn demand booming in Asia
October 2009: Rhino populations worldwide are threatened by a sharp increase in demand for rhino horns, leading to a devastating upswing in poaching. According to new research by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, rhino poaching is poised to hit a 15-year-high.
According to a report made to the 58th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Standing Committee by TRAFFIC, the IUCN, and WWF, an estimated three rhinos were illegally killed each month in all of Africa from 2000-2005, out of a population of around 18,000. Twelve rhinos per month are now being poached in South Africa and Zimbabwe alone.
The situation is particularly dire in Zimbabwe, where more than a decade’s successful work bringing rhino populations back to healthy levels is now being threatened by poaching. The report states: “Illegal rhino horn trade to destinations in Asia is driving the killing, with growing evidence of involvement of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals in the illegal procurement and transport of rhino horn out of Africa.”
Around 10 rhinos in India and seven in Nepal have been poached since January and New Delhi has been asked by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) to strengthen rhino anti-poaching efforts in the Kaziranga National Park.