UK Government bans rhino horn exports
by WWF - News
You don’t get many rhinos in the UK – so why is it so important to ban rhino horn exports? Let us explain…
We’re delighted that the government is clamping down on rhino horn exports from the UK. Yes, we did say exports. The first sign of a problem was a big increase in antique rhino horn items – from mounted rhino horns to Chinese libation cups – turning up at UK auction houses and selling for inflated prices.
Although these antique items might be legal themselves (some pre-1947 products can still be traded), it seems they’re often brought into the UK and sold here to maximise their value before being re-exported to east Asia – where powdered rhino horn is in demand for black market medicines.
There’s serious concern that this practice could be helping fuel the global supply and demand for rhino horn, and in turn encouraging poachers to kill more wild rhinos for cash.
That’s why, from now on, the government will only grant export licences for rhino horn if buyers and sellers meet stringent criteria. Trade will only be allowed if, for instance, it’s an exchange of goods between museums, or the item is worth more as a work of art than as a potential raw ingredient.
The government says it’s committed to protecting endangered species, and will be contacting UK auction houses and antique trade associations to explain the situation. They’ll also be working with the EU to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the problem.
WWF and rhinos
African rhino numbers were devastated between the 1970s and 1990s, when 96% of the black rhino population was wiped out. For over 40 years WWF has been campaigning on the issue and protecting rhinos on the ground.
Numbers are slowly beginning to increase, but only thanks to years of concerted conservation effort.
Unfortunately, poaching is still a serious issue. Latest figures from South Africa confirm that 190 rhino have already been poached this year – the highest level in more than 20 years – and 37 in the last month alone. Zimbabwe has lost more than 100 rhino since 2008.
That’s why we’re very pleased to see this ban by the UK government, to help squash the growing market for rhino horn.
WWF - Rhino Horn
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