May 20, 2014
Southern White Rhino Listed Under U.S. Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized the listing of the southern white rhino as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, effectively giving the species greater protection from poaching. Humane Society International and The Humane Society of the United States commended the move that came after the service issued an emergency listing last September. The Federal Register received more than 32,000 comments in support of the emergency listing.
With two or three rhinos poached every day for their horns, conservationists believe that rhinos will disappear from the wild in Africa within a few years’ time. The listing places all five rhino species under the protection of United States’ law, making it easier for enforcement officials to bring rhino horn smugglers to justice.
Rhino horns fetch high prices in Asia and sold to people who consume them for the horn’s purported medical benefits. Others buy rhino horns as a status symbol. As wealth grows in Asia, more people than ever before can afford to buy rhino horn.
HSI and the government of Vietnam are working together to reduce rhino horn demand in that country, and the campaign has already reached over 10 million Vietnamese.
In the U.S., criminals looking to profit have been caught buying up rhino horns that were legally imported into the U.S. as antiques or hunting trophies and then shipping them to Vietnam and China for sale in those countries’ lucrative, illegal marketplaces.
Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440 firstname.lastname@example.org