Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Trade in rhino horn rejected, but elephants & lions denied additional protections

Posted: 5 October 2016

Rhino-success! Trade in Southern White Rhino horn rejected, but African elephants and lions denied additional protections

Animal Defenders International (ADI) applauds the overwhelming rejection at CITES’ (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) 17th conference in Johannesburg of Swaziland’s attempt to legalize trade in Southern White Rhino Horn. There was great opposition to the controversial proposal, including actress Joanna Lumley, who voiced her support for ADI’s campaign.

Swaziland proposed to allow trade in rhino horns taken from captive live animals, poached individuals, and those having died of natural causes. ADI warned this would encourage trade and provide a route for laundering illegal trafficking. Opposition included the EU, US, and several range countries for both African and Asian rhinos, noting enforcement difficulties in distinguishing between various species and between legally and illegally taken individuals.

Ahead of the vote, animal-loving actress Joanna Lumley said "We must stamp out the barbaric and cruel trade in rhino horn. This iconic species should not be reduced to a commodity that can be plundered for human indulgence. We must work together to save the beautiful rhino from being butchered and its populations pushed ever closer to the brink".

ADI also voiced their exasperation at the denial of Appendix I listing protections for African lions and all African elephants. The elephant uplisting was supported by 30 African nations, among others, in response to their devastating decline caused by illegal and legal ivory markets, political destabilization, and international criminal networks with horrific impacts to local communities. Ultimately, CITES failed African lions and elephants; split-listings and carve-outs to satisfy canned breeders, ivory and lion bone trading means more will die. ADI will continue the fight for these iconic species, at the local, national, and international level.

ADI President Jan Creamer says: “African elephants have survived for millions of years – now they may not survive the next two decades. Poaching, habitat loss, poverty, and human conflict have decimated their numbers. Please help ADI continue to push for the highest level of protection for wild animals by visiting the ADI website and donating to our campaign.”

Other elephant related decisions included:

  • Overwhelming opposition to proposals from Zimbabwe and Namibia to remove annotations restricting commercial trade in elephant products.
  • Recommendations to parties to close domestic ivory markets; however, compromise language so weakened the proposal as to undercut its purpose, and leave open the ability for continued ivory trade.
  • Seven African countries (Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal) proposed a progressive measure to ban all trade in live elephants.

The 183 nation signatories to the CITES treaty determine which species receive further protection, and which endure further killing and trade. Species covered by CITES are listed by Appendices I (highest level of protection), II and III, according to the level of risk associated with the species.

ADI’s mission is to end the individual suffering of wild animals in captivity and in the wild. One prior ADI investigation led to the release of Anne, an elderly circus elephant, from a life of brutal abuse in Bobby Roberts’ Super Circus. ADI released footage in 2011 of Anne being beaten while chained to the ground. Roberts was convicted in 2012 of cruelty to Anne, and she was removed from the circus.

Earlier this year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys, and others. ADI collaborated with the governments of Peru and Columbia for the unprecedented Operation Spirit of Freedom; animals were rehabilitated and rehomed to natural habitats, including over 30 African lions who are starting a new life in their native Africa at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, where ADI is funding their care and habitat construction.

To donate to ADI, please visit here
For more information on CITES, please visit here

Devon Prosser 020 7630 3344 or 07785 552548

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