Poaching of rhinos and elephants has reached a crisis point. The 61st meeting of the CITES Standing Committee took place in Geneva, Switzerland from August 15-19, 2011 and WWF and TRAFFIC urged international governments to work to halt the growing global trade in illegal elephant ivory and rhino horn. The results of the meeting included some setbacks, but positive steps were established to help stop illegal trade.
Positive outcomes for rhinos and elephants
China and Thailand are the world’s biggest consumers of elephant ivory. Thailand will now be required to report in writing its efforts to curb uncontrolled domestic ivory trade, which is largely sourced from central African elephants.
China confirmed that their ban on domestic rhino horn trade would remain in place. WWF also asked China to improve its ivory management system and to offer more support to African countries where poaching and illegal trade are most prevalent.
In addition, the Committee agreed on measures that will make it easier for CITES to regulate trade in vulnerable marines species, including sharks.
An obstacle for stopping illegal horn trade
Some countries failed to respond to pleas from African and Asian countries to share the burden of stopping illegal rhino horn trade. For example, Vietnam was not required to respond regarding its role in driving illegal horn trade, based on the speculative belief that rhino horn can cure cancer.
How you can help stop illegal trade