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rhino horn

Ma Weidu Speaks Out Against Rhino Horn Collectables on World Rhino Day

Media and conservation groups joined renowned Chinese antiques collector Ma Weidu on World Rhino Day to release a new campaign to protect rhinos. Hosted by National Geographic's Traveler magazine along with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and WildAid, the "Travel for Earth" event focused on ecotourism, highlighting experiences to see rhinos.

Ma Weidu is the premier antique collector and appraiser in China. He is also an esteemed author and opened China's first private museum, Guanfu Museum. In the new PSA, Ma Weidu shows the brutal truth behind these beautiful collectables, and that antique collectables should be an extension of culture, not a force of destruction.

Ma Weidu noted that "in the course of collecting cultural items, I've realized that though these items are historical, they can have a significant impact on the world today. I have not only pledged to no longer purchase any ivory or rhino horn items, I'm also persistently conveying the message that if we must choose between protecting wildlife or cultural collectables, wildlife is far more important."

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Famous Chinese antiques expert visits rhino poaching front line

Prestigious antiques expert and host of a popular online talk show Mr Ma Weidu joined WildAid and Investec Rhino Lifeline in South Africa this month to witness first-hand the threats posed to rhinos, and the measures required to protect them. 

Mr Ma observed wild rhinos in their natural habitat, participated in an anti-poaching demonstration, and encountered rhinos that have been injured or orphaned due to the illegal trade in rhino horn. 

"In my wildest dreams, I never imagined I would touch a rhino. It's an incredibly moving experience to see such a powerful animal so completely vulnerable," Mr Ma said.

Taiwan Busts $3.2 Million Wildlife Trafficking Network

TAIPEI (October 28, 2016) — Raids led by officials from the Taipei District Public Prosecutors Office have uncovered caches of illegal wildlife products throughout Taiwan, including rhino horn and bear bile.

According to government officials, a total of 21 packages of powdered rhino horn, 50 packages of bear bile powder, 124 packages of musk, and 18 pieces of suspected rhino, bull and antelope horns were seized from multiple locations.

Officials also confirmed that they are interrogating 12 individuals regarding the illegal wildlife products including the Honorary Chairman of the Taipei Traditional Chinese Medicine Association, Lien Chun-ying.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Lien used his trading company as a cover to smuggle wildlife products into Taiwan from mainland China. He is alleged to have run a secret supply chain via social media to sell products such as rhino horn to his customers, claiming to offer “life saving medicines.”

Patients and their families paid high prices for these products, and after discovering that they did not possess the promised medicinal effects, alerted officials to Lien’s operation. Lien and his associates are alleged to have made about $3.2 million over the past three years of smuggling and selling the illegal wildlife products.

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U.S. Will Partner with Vietnam to Fight Illegal Wildlife Trade

As President Barack Obama visits Vietnam this week, the U.S. State Department has announced a five-year bilateral partnership to combat wildlife trafficking – a significant issue in both nations that affects many imperiled species.

From the announcement via State.gov:

Analysis: South Africa Court Lifts Ban on Rhino Horn Trade

Judge Francis Legodi of the High Court in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday set aside a moratorium on the in-country rhino horn trade, causing consternation in conservation circles worldwide. Two prominent wildlife farmers (including John Hume, the world’s largest rhino owner) had applied to the court to overturn the moratorium, which they claimed was irrational, unreasonable and a violation of their constitutional rights.

The moratorium was imposed in 2009 by the environment ministry because of its view that the domestic trade was providing a loophole through which poached horn was flowing into international trafficking networks. Supporters of the moratorium argue that because there is no substantive consumer market for rhino horn in South Africa, there is little incentive for South Africans to trade horn unless it is ultimately being sold on highly profitable Asian black markets. 

Judge Legodi set aside the moratorium because of procedural errors made by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) just prior to it coming into effect and not because he agrees with the wildlife farmers’ substantive arguments regarding the rationality, reasonableness and constitutionality of the moratorium. 

In crude terms, the judge struck down the moratorium on technicalities, not because he found the rhino farmers’ core arguments to be valid.

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