Global Decision-Makers Convene in Geneva to Decide Species’ Fate

Tigers, gorillas, rhinoceroses, elephants and much more will be under the spotlight this week when government representatives and experts from around the world meet in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss the perilous situation facing many species. 

This may be make or break time for rhino in particular - escalating levels of rhino poaching and spiralling demand for rhino horn have been placing untold pressure on rhino populations across Africa and Asia. Some believe that this week’s Standing Committee meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) may represent a last hope. 

For centuries, rhino horn has been used by traditional Asian medicine practitioners, and is falsely claimed to cure a range of maladies, including impotence, dysentery and now cancer. Last year alone, in South Africa, 333 rhinos were poached and so far in 2011, 227 have already been killed. Immediate and decisive action by the international community must be taken and only then can we dare hope for a secure future for the last remaining rhino in Africa and Asia.

Rhinos are not the only species in trouble. Also on the agenda for discussion at the CITES meeting will be elephant conservation and the ivory trade. Once again, demand for ivory from Asia is evident, with China highlighted as the major global destination for illicit ivory. To many, it seems absurd that China continues to be one of two countries permitted by CITES to purchase legal ivory, with elephant poaching figures and ivory seizures being linked to China’s escalating consumption of illicit ivory. Revoking China’s ‘trading partner’ status for any future legal ivory sales would certainly be a step in the right direction. Let us hope that CITES Parties also think so.

Check here on the Born Free Foundation website for our updates from Geneva throughout the week

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