Viet­nam ‘hot­bed of il­licit sales’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SHEREE BEGA

SOUTH Africa re­mains the main source of rhino horns for il­le­gal trade, with most de­rived from poach­ing, but nat­u­ral mor­tal­ity losses, pseu­do­hunt­ing, thefts from government and pri­vate stock­piles, as well as il­le­gal in­ter­nal sales, also con­tinue to con­trib­ute to il­licit sup­ply.

These are the find­ings of a re­port sub­mit­ted to Cites on the sta­tus, con­ser­va­tion and trade of African and Asian rhi­nos.

“The en­trenched pres­ence of Asian-run crim­i­nal syn­di­cates in Africa, on­go­ing government and pri­vate sec­tor cor­rup­tion and in­ef­fec­tive law en­force­ment strate­gies and prac­tices, re­main chal­lenges that clearly frus­trate progress.

“Viet­nam re­mains the pri­mary des­ti­na­tion for rhino horn, but there is lit­tle ev­i­dence of con­certed law en­force­ment. China emerges as the sec­ond most prom­i­nent des­ti­na­tion, al­though au­thor­i­ties demon­strate a far more ac­tive com­mit­ment to pros­e­cu­tion.”

The re­port notes that de­mand re­duc­tion ef­forts con­tinue in both coun­tries, but so far there has been “limited as­sess­ment of its im­pact on rhino horn con­sump­tion”.

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