More on this petition:
CITES! UPGRADE OUR SOUTHERN WHITE RHINO TO APPENDIX 1! "critically endangered" (Ceratotherium simum simum)This petition will be delivered to CITES, CoP17, at the Sandton Convention Centre, between the 24th September and the 5th October 2016. “Another year of poaching like 2014 and it becomes increasingly difficult to see a positive conservation future for South African rhinos,” said Tom Milliken, TRAFFIC’s Elephant and Rhino Programme Leader. “We’re facing a ‘do or die’ situation right now.” That was said in 2014 and we are now in 2016. Our rhino are diminishing drastically in numbers through the constant, unrelenting demand from China and Vietnam. In 2015, numbers leaned towards showing an increase, over 2014, and by August 2015, over 749 were already slaughtered for their horn! Feeding this demand are poachers with between 80-90% based along the border with Mozambique, and the Kruger National Park. These poachers act with impunity, having little or no fear of arrest or prosecution. Within South African borders, there is clear evidence of the involvement of game farm owners, police, veterinarians and rangers in rhino poaching. International syndicates, under the guise of 'sport trophy hunting’ have been named and arrested for trafficking of rhino horn. The signing of a MoU ( Memorandum of Understanding) with Mozambique has proved useless, as the poachers continue to breach the porous border into South Africa and slaughter our rhino. National and Provincial levels of the South African government, have shown to be corrupt by enabling illegal trade. High ranking wildlife officials have been exposed in having undisclosed interests in hunting operations, furthering the greed, and financial benefits resulting from the deaths of the rhino. In 2011, exports to China (of White rhino) at the time, appeared to be part of an undisclosed commercial rhino farming venture for producing rhino horn medicines for the Chinese market in the future. The Non Detrimental Findings 2015, has revealed that further exports to China, amount to 76, and Vietnam was sent 37! The Chinese are now in the position of being able to harvest the horn for commercial use, and indeed are doing this. The harvesting of the horn has in NO WAY slowed down the demand for rhino horn. Enshrined in our country's constitution are the following words: “a prosperous, environmentally-conscious nation, whose people are in harmonious coexistence with the natural environment, and which derives lasting benefits from the conservation and sustainable use of its rich biological diversity”. This is not happening. Poverty continues to exist, and yet, Africa's wildlife, can through sustainable development, ease the people’s suffering. A thriving tourism industry can generate employment for a large sector of the population. We, the undersigned, hereby call upon the Parties of CITES to immediately upgrade the rhino to Appendix 1. NB: Appendices I and II Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction. Trade in specimens of these species is permitted only in exceptional circumstances. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. Biological Criteria for appendix 1. 1. The wild population is small.( Kobus du Toit puts this figure at between 1500 - 3000, in the Kruger National Park, South Africa) oxpeckers.org/2015/06/kruger-rhino-numbers-in-crisis-say-expert 2. The wild population has a restricted area of distribution. ie: Fragmentation or occurrence at very few locations, A HIGH VULNERABILITY TO EITHER INTRINSIC OR EXTRINSIC FACTORS. 3. A MARKED DECLINE IN THE POPULATION SIZE IN THE WILD.