Animal Defenders International (ADI) has applauded the overwhelming rejection at CITES’ (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) 17th conference in Johannesburg of Swaziland’s attempt to legalize trade in Southern White Rhino Horn. There was great opposition to the controversial proposal, including actress Joanna Lumley, who voiced her support for ADI’s campaign.
Swaziland proposed to allow trade in rhino horns taken from captive live animals, poached individuals, and those having died of natural causes. ADI warned this would encourage trade and provide a route for laundering illegal trafficking. Opposition included the EU, US, and several range countries for both African and Asian rhinos, noting enforcement difficulties in distinguishing between various species and between legally and illegally taken individuals.
Ahead of the vote, animal-loving actress Joanna Lumley said “We must stamp out the barbaric and cruel trade in rhino horn. This iconic species should not be reduced to a commodity that can be plundered for human indulgence. We must work together to save the beautiful rhino from being butchered and its populations pushed ever closer to the brink.”
ADI also voiced its exasperation at the denial of Appendix I listing protections for African lions and all African elephants. The elephant uplisting was supported by 30 African nations, among others, in response to their devastating decline caused by illegal and legal ivory markets, political destabilization, and international criminalnetworks with horrific impacts to local communities. Ultimately, CITES failed African lions and elephants; split-listings and carve-outs to satisfy canned breeders, ivory and lion bone trading means more will die. ADI will continue the fight for these iconic species, at the local, national, and international level.
ADI President Jan Creamer says: “African elephants have survived for millions of years – now they may not survive the next two decades. Poaching, habitat loss, poverty, and human conflict have decimated their numbers. Please help ADI continue to push for the highest level of protection for wild animals by visiting the ADI website and donating to our campaign.”
The 183 nation signatories to the CITES treaty determine which species receive further protection, and which endure further killing and trade. Species covered by CITES are listed by Appendices I (highest level of protection), II and III, according to the level of risk associated with the species.
ADI’s mission is to end the individual suffering of wild animals in captivity and in the wild.
Earlier this year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys, and others. ADI collaborated with the governments of Peru and Columbia for the unprecedented Operation Spirit of Freedom; animals were rehabilitated and rehomed to natural habitats,including 33 African lions who are starting a new life in their native Africa at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary, where ADI is funding their care and habitat construction.
To donate to ADI, please visit: www.ad-international.org/take_action/donate.php for more information on CITES, please visit: www.ad-international.org/conservation/go.php?id=4197&ssi=14