Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Save the rhinos – CITES CoP17 action call

Posted: 26 August 2016. Updated: 5 October 2016


UPDATE: CITES CoP17 voted against the proposal to allow the trade of horn from southern white rhinos. Read updates from CITES CoP17 here »

The consensus is clear that legal trade in wildlife parts impacts wild populations by providing cover for illegal operations. Legal sale of rhino horn will create cover and incentivize laundering illegal horns from other countries. Similar previous efforts proposed to stem the illegal ivory and tiger trade were futile and actually increased trade, negatively impacting wild populations.

The proposal creates market confusion, where enforcement authorities, and potential customers risk viewing illegal products as legitimate, and offers nefarious networks cover for illegal trade. As history has shown us, through prior similar attempts at legal trade of ivory and tiger products, the proposal would undermine demand reduction strategies (and is likely even to increase demand); it complicates enforcement; and incentivizes poaching.

The proposal fails to specify any procedures to address the risks outlined above. According to CITES, Swaziland does not have adequate laws in place to indicate that it could manage a legal trade in rhino horn successfully.

Ways you can support ADI’s work at CITES CoP17 and push for wildlife protections:

  • Urge your government to commit to helping wildlife under threat - contact DEFRA in the UK and USFWS in the US.

  • Write to your local newspaper to help spread the word.

  • Show your solidarity with lions, elephants, rhino, or other wildlife, by changing your profile picture to one of our #TakingAStand designs.

  • Hold a fun fundraiser to help wild animals in need.

  • Send us photos of you in action for animals, whether you’re distributing our resources dressed as a lion, or taking part in the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos! Email them to

  • Donate to help ADI campaign for animals at CITES and beyond.

The Proposal

Proposal 7: Amend the annotation to the Appendix II listing of Swaziland’s Southern white rhinoceros population, so as to permit a limited and regulated trade in white rhino horn collected from natural deaths, recovered from poached Swazi rhino, and harvested from live white rhino in future
Party: Swaziland

ADI OPPOSES the proposal by Swaziland to amend Appendix II to allow rhino horn trade noting that:

  • The southern white rhino is red Listed as near threatened on The International Union for Conservation of Nature.

  • Swaziland’s population is only 73 animals. General population is declining - 20,165 in 2010 down 93% in South Africa.

  • Principal threat is poaching; Proposals risk encouraging trade, undermining existing bans, and global progress in demand reduction programs.

  • Trade in 2010-2014: 676 southern white rhinos exported live (3 from Swaziland); 610 trophies exported.
  • © Animal Defenders International 2019