Rhino populations are being hammered by poachers, steeping Africa in blood and pushing the species ever-closer to extinction to satisfy the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam and other countries – a demand largely based on the myth of the non-existent medicinal properties of rhino horn.
For the record, rhino horn is entirely composed of keratin, also the chief component in hair, nails and animal hooves; you’ve as much chance of curing cancer by biting your nails as you have by drinking powdered rhino horn.
Yet despite 668 rhinos being slaughtered by poachers across South Africa in 2012, there are strong indications that the country is contemplating pushing for a legal trade in rhino horn – something EIA contends would only serve to confuse consumers and stimulate further demand, with disastrous results for the rhino.
Here, EIA Chairman and Co-founder Allan Thornton looks back to the lessons of our hugely successful campaign against the illegal trade in rhino horn in the 1990s …
In 1991 a new rhino poaching crisis had emerged, with Zimbabwe becoming a major hot spot. In the state of Assam, in India, rhino poaching claimed 67 animals in 1992 and 70 in 1993.
Earlier, EIA’s ground-breaking undercover investigations over two years into illegal ivory flowing from the killing fields of Africa to the smart shops of Hong Kong had provided the key evidence that helped secure the international ivory ban, passed in 1989 by a three-quarters majority of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Poaching of African elephants declined dramatically as the doors were slammed shut on the major ivory consuming markets of the world. More....