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rhino horn

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.

Success! California Passes Anti-Ivory Bill

On Sunday, California Gov. Jerry Brown made history by signing into law AB 96, crucial legislation that if successfully enforced will shutter the ivory and rhino horn trade in the Golden State! 

Though California has long restricted the ivory trade, carvings and other ivory products imported before 1977 have been legal to sell. As a result, the state’s ivory 
market has provided a cover for the laundering of ivory from recently poached elephants, as legal markets do in Hong Kong and other ivory trading hubs around the world. 

"With the passage of AB 96, California is leading by example in making the ivory and rhino horn trade a thing of the past," WildAid CEO Peter Knights said of Gov. Brown's signing of the bill, co-authored by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara. "The new law will make enforcement a far easier matter and sends a clear signal to the rest of the world that ivory and rhino horn have no value here. We thank Governor Brown for his support and call on all US states to join California, New York and New Jersey in banning this destructive trade." 

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