“The Living Are Getting Rarer”: The Causes and Consequences of the International Trade in White Rhinoceros Horns Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
In 2012, more than 400 South African white rhinoceros were poached and killed for their horns. The horns, used in ancient Asian medicines, are falsely believed to cure diseases. They are currently worth thousands of dollars on the black market because the white rhinoceros is an endangered species and the trade in its horns is strictly regulated under the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).The two countries at the center of this crisis are South Africa, where the majority of the world’s white rhinoceros live and are being poached, and Vietnam, where the illegally obtained horns are primarily traded. These two countries are currently trying to work with other world leaders, non-governmental organizations, conservationists, and the Standing Committee and, soon, the Conference of the Parties of CITES to overcome this massive poaching problem. This comment will address the present situation regarding this trade, the related international and national laws, and the contemporaneous actions and proposals to bring an end to this crisis so that the world will not lose the white rhinoceros.
2 Penn St. J.L. & Int'l Aff. 182 (2013).
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