Banning the rhino horn trade at the Nature Conference
The international ban on rhino horn trade was confirmed at the World Wildlife Congress in Panama. The African country of eSwatini had asked to allow trade again, but the proposal fell short of a committee vote.
Early last week, the World Species Conference kicked off, where representatives of 160 governments agreed to protect nearly 600 species of plants and animals. The conference will continue until Friday.
eSwatini is located between South Africa and Mozambique and is home to 98 rhinos. In the two previous conferences, the country had also tried to ease a ban on the international trade of rhino horn.
eSwatini representatives say there is no need to kill rhinos to sell enough horns. The land still contains stock, and to replenish it the horns may also be cut down, without finishing the animals.
In 1977, international trade in rhino horn was banned. With horns priced between 30,000 and 50,000 euros per kilo, the animals are often hunted illegally. For example, the pods are often sold to Asian merchants, in part because in some countries the pods are believed to have medicinal properties.
Some countries want to legalize the horn trade. They say they want to use the money raised by the pods to preserve nature. Opponents fear legalization will lead to widespread poaching of rhinos.
At today’s conference, it was also decided that Namibia could sell its white rhinos again. The strict requirement is that live animals are only traded in the context of nature conservation in other parts of Africa.
A proposal to regulate trade in a species of shark – the sacred shark – was actually approved late last week. As a result, more conventional shark species will soon be protected.
The requiem shark family consists of 52 species, which are often hunted for their fins. It is often used in shark fin soup in Asian countries. “Soon about 70 percent of sharks will be protected and countries will need to take action for good management,” said Luke Warwick, deputy director of the sharks and rays program at conservation organization WCS.
The Reuters news agency reported that the decision on the Requiem sharks would only come into force in a year. Moreover, the EU proposal on the protection of hammerhead sharks was unanimously approved.
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