National treasure Joanna Lumley has teamed up with Animal Defenders International (ADI) for this month’s CITES conference (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in Johannesburg, to voice her dismay at a proposal to allow trade in rhino horn from the Southern white rhinoceros.
The controversial proposal from Swaziland is to amend the Southern white rhinoceros CITES Appendix II listing to allow trade of horns from rhinos which have died from natural causes, or recovered poached horns or horns harvested from live animals. ADI warn this will encourage trade and provide a route for laundering illegal horns.
Joanna Lumley says “We must stamp out the barbaric and cruel trade in rhino horn. This iconic species should not be reduced to a commodity that can be plundered for human indulgence. We must work together to save the beautiful rhino from being butchered and its populations pushed ever closer to the brink”.
The 183 countries which are signatories to the CITES trade restrictions will decide in Johannesburg which species need further protection, and which species will endure further killing and trade. Species covered by CITES are listed by Appendices I (highest level of protection), II and III, according to the level of risk to survival of the species.
ADI President Jan Creamer says: “Allowing this trade in rhino horn would undermine the international and domestic bans and would complicate current enforcement efforts. It is not possible to prevent illegal horns from entering the legal trade. This proposal should be rejected.”
Members of the public can make their voices heard by spreading awareness about the danger to rhinos, elephants and other animals through social media, and join ADI’s CITES Thunderclap
Elephants also need the public’s help – a joint proposal supported by ADI from Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe is for a universal listing of all African elephant populations to Appendix I, which would ensure they receive the highest level of protection and therefore greater restrictions on the ivory trade. This would send a clear message that there is now global determination to halt the potential extinction of African elephants.
ADI ends the individual suffering of wild animals in captivity, as well as in the wild. A previous investigation by ADI lead to the release of elderly circus elephant Anne from a brutal life of abuse at Bobby Roberts’ Circus after ADI released footage of her being beaten while chained to the ground, in 2011. Roberts was subsequently convicted of cruelty to Anne in 2012, and she was removed from the circus.
Earlier this year, ADI rescued over 100 animals from circuses and the illegal wildlife trade in Peru and Colombia, including lions, bears, tigers, monkeys and others. ADI and the governments of Peru and Columbia collaborated for the unprecedented Spirit of Freedom operation and the animals were nursed back to health and rehomed in their natural habitats, with 33 African lions returned to their native Africa to start a new life at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa where ADI is funding their lifelong care.