Target: John Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES
Goal: Do not pass Swaziland’s proposal to sell rhino horns on the international market.
Swaziland recently put forward a dangerous proposal to sell its rhino horn on the international market. The proposal was submitted to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) less than a week after South Africa announced that the international sale of rhino horn would remain illegal in order to preserve endangered rhino populations. Conservationists rejoiced at this decision, but now the international ban on rhino horn trade is once again being challenged. According to National Geographic, if Swaziland’s proposal is passed it will effectively break the ban that has been in place since 1977 and leave rhinos vulnerable to poaching.
Swaziland’s proposal will be discussed at the upcoming CITES meeting being held in South Africa, Swaziland’s neighboring country. The proposal requests permission to sell the country’s existing stockpile of approximately 730 pounds of rhino horn to “licensed retailers” in the Far East, though it fails to identify these buyer countries. It also seeks permission to sell an additional 44 pounds of rhino horn each year through the controversial process of cutting the horns off of living, sedated rhinos. Studies have shown that dehorning does little to protect rhinos from poaching; poachers will target hornless rhinos for the tiny stub of horn that remains, or fail to notice the missing horn until after the rhino is dead. Even worse, some poachers might kill hornless rhinos out of vengeance, just to avoid tracking them again.
If Swaziland’s proposal is passed, it is highly likely that South Africa and Namibia will legalize the rhino horn trade as well in order to make some of the profit. Despite South Africa’s recent decision to uphold the ban, the country is home to a large rhino farming industry that would benefit from legalized rhino horn trade. Sign the petition below to urge CITES to reject Swaziland’s dangerous proposal, and ensure that rhino populations are protected from the increased threat of poaching.
Dear Mr. Scanlon,
Swaziland’s proposal to sell its rhino horn on the international market must not be passed. Legalized rhino trade in Swaziland would effectively break the ban the ban that has been in place since 1977, and would undermine South Africa’s recent decision to keep the international sale of rhino horn illegal. Rhino populations will not survive if they are put at further risk of poaching.
Swaziland’s proposal asks permission to sell nearly 730 pounds of the country’s existing rhino horn stockpile, as well as an additional 44 pounds of rhino horn each year by cutting the horns off of living, sedated rhinos. The dehorning process is highly controversial, and studies have shown that it does little to protect rhinos from poaching as even hornless rhinos are left with a small, valuable horn stub. If this dangerous proposal is passed, South Africa and Namibia will likely follow in Swaziland’s footsteps in order to share the profit of the rhino horn trade.
I am urging you to reject Swaziland’s proposal at the upcoming CITES meeting. Please take action to support the international ban on rhino horn trade, and ensure that this threatened species is protected from the danger of increased poaching.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Dane Larsen