Smuggling of rhino horn

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Smuggling of rhino horn

  • Recently a report on ‘Rhino Horn Trafficking’ has been presented at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • An analysis of the same report found that rhino horn is being smuggled without fear of the law.

Other key findings of the report

  • Most of the rhino horn is trafficked in six countries (South Africa, Mozambique, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and China).
  • Online trading, social media platforms and instant messaging apps have become the most important channels for illegal trade.

Instructions to parties

  • Parties to CITES must ensure timely reporting of horn seizures to countries with rhinoceros populations and D.N. a. Must share samples.
  • In addition, the parties should continuously review trends related to the illegal hunting of rhinoceros.
  • Demand reduction programs should be implemented in areas where illegal rhino horn markets exist.


  • There are 5 species of rhinoceros in the whole world: white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, Sumatran rhinoceros, giant one-horned rhinoceros and Javan rhinoceros.
  • The Sumatran, Javan and black rhinos are listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
  • The white rhino is ‘Near Threatened’ and the great one-horned rhinoceros is ‘Vulnerable’.
  • Rhinoceros horn is made of a protein called keratin. Due to this protein, our hair and nails grow.

Habitat: They are found in tropical and sub-tropical grasslands, savannas and scrub forests, tropical moist forests, deserts and shrublands.

  • About 75% of the total population of the giant one-horned rhinoceros is now present in only three states of India (Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal).

Steps taken for the conservation of Rhinoceros in India:

  • Indian Rhino Mission 2020 has been started,
  • involving local people in conservation,
  • land corridors for rhino movement are being rehabilitated,
  • Rhinos are being monitored and their counting is also being done,
  • Organizations like World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and TRAFFIC are being taken for nature to deal with illegal trade.

CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild founa Flora):

  • It is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered plants and animals from threats from international trade.
  • CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted at a meeting of member states of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 1963.
  • CITES came into force in July 1975. There are currently 183 countries party to CITES (this includes both countries and organizations for regional economic integration).

Objective: Its objective is to ensure that their existence is not threatened due to international trade of wild animals and plants.

  • The secretariat of CITES is administered by the United Nations Environment Program which is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • It plays the role of a coordinator, advisor and service provider in the mechanism of the Convention (CITES).

Source – The Hindu

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