Posts Tagged With: Laos

Attention Rhino Horn Users!

Each day at  least three rhino die for two reasons:
1. the Asian belief that horn cures medical ailments
2. as a status symbol in Vietnamese high society.

But, attention rhino horn users: at least 80% of the horn you purchase is fake, according to an Oxpeckers report.

Karl Ammann from Natural History Magazine stated “probably up to 90% of end consumers (of rhino horn)  would unknowingly purchase products made of water buffalo or other bovine horn.”

fake horn in jewelry shop in laos via karl ammann

A jewlery shop in Laos sells a fake rhino horn. Via: Karl Ammann

Horn is a hard commodity to come by. Rhino numbers are low, poaching risk is high. So horn smugglers have learned to make the money without the trouble.

Initially fake horns were made with an easily identifiable mould, made from buffalo horn , wood, or even  industrial plastic. But according to a report presented to CITES, the fake horns are now made with top quality resins and look so authentic that they are almost impossible to distinguish from the real thing.

As rhino numbers decline, and demand increases, the market will likely be saturated with faux horn, as criminals cash in on the diminishing rhinos. Unless users wake up and stop sniffing plastic and consuming wood and resin.

Fake rhino horns in museum

  These faux rhino horns fooled thieves , as they were stolen from the Natural History Museum at Tring, in Hertfordshire.

 

 

 

 

 

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Elbows and Knees

For every act of injustice toward an animal, man is not far behind.

Rhinos, elephants, pangolins, and countless other creatures are on the brink of extinction. China, Vietnam, and Laos are some of the biggest culprits in their destruction; in the name of medicine.

In a previous post –Planet China: a World of Myths and Make-believe there is a phenomenal listing all creatures on China’s medical chopping block. This leaves many to wonder-what next?

The answer: humans. Apparently in a bit of information from an OSCAP (Outraged South Africa CItizens Against Poaching) member, human elbows and knees are now in demand for Asian medicine. There has been no mention as to what ailment this stands to miraculously cure, just an eerie and enormous step backwards for humanity.

mountains of elbows and knees

Carl Warner’s photo: ‘Mountains are made of elbows and knees’.

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No Country is Innocent

Illegal wildlife trade of horns and tusks is a lucrative worldwide business. In recent years it has exploded into a black market worth of approximately $20 billion a year.  No one seems to be exempt from this growing tragedy. Most obvious involvement lies in Africa, China and Vietnam; but Ireland, the US, and now even the Czech Republic and Poland have blood on their hands.

Black rhinoceros and Africa elephant, Africa

OPERATION CRASH
To police the snowballing issue,  the US  has stepped up involvement with Operation Crash. It is an ongoing nationwide criminal investigation led by the Fish and Wildlife Service, started in 2010,  that is addressing all aspects of US involvement in the black market rhino horn trade.

The first phase of this probe (focused on the unlawful purchase and outbound smuggling of rhino horn from the US) has resulted in 14 arrests and six convictions to date. Charges filed include conspiracy, smuggling, money laundering, tax evasion and bribery in addition to violations of the Endangered Species Act.

Recently a father and son team described by federal prosecutor as being “at the apex of the rhino horn smuggling pyramid” in the United States, has been sentenced to more than three years in prison on federal wildlife smuggling and money laundering charges. Their involvement in horn smuggling played a direct role in driving the price of rhino horn to nearly $25,000 per lb.

How are other countries faring? According to WWF (World Wildlife Foundation) data: Laos, Mozambique, Mynamar, Tanzania, Thailand, Vietnam, and Zambia are failing.

wildlife trade scorecard
WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC
It is imperative that each country step up laws and regulation on illegal trade. It is not just a Chinese or African problem. This is a worldwide epidemic and we’re in this together. While most countries see the wildlife trade as “an environmental problem”, WWFs President and CEO Carter Roberts warns “illicit wildlife trafficking compromises the security of countries. Much of the trade in illegal wildlife products is run by criminal groups with broad international reach, and the profits can be used to finance civil conflicts and terrorist-related activities. Illicit wildlife trafficking is also linked to other forms of illegal trafficking and money-laundering.”

There is something we can all do. We can be more conscientious and alert.  There are several steps the public can take to support the elimination of the illegal wildlife trade both abroad and domestically:

  • International travelers should avoid purchasing and/or carrying wild animal products, including meat, skins, and traditional medicines. Intentionally smuggled wildlife imports are often concealed in boxes or coolers; if you see a passenger carrying a suspicious container report it to Customs and Border Protection officials.
  • When traveling domestically, be aware of national and state laws regarding the transport of wild animals. Some laws differ among states.
  • We encourage you to make conscientious choices about your pet choices. Always make sure pets are captive-bred and choose pets that present minimal health and environmental risks (please visit PetWatch for more information), and can be adequately cared for in a captive situation. Please visit www.PetWatch.net for more information.
illegal trade routes
Categories: Rhino Ramblings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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