Black rhino are classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002 and listed on Appendix I of CITES.
Latest findings indicate that there are only around 3600 black rhino remaining worldwide.
However, trade in black rhino horn and its by-products continues in the far east, namely China; even though such trade is prohibited under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).
This is because some Chinese people believe the horn has medicinal value.
There is absolutely no scientific evidence to indicate that the horn, which is made up of a substance similar to hair, has any medical value.
This means that this proud and majestic species has been poached to near extinction for no legitimate reason. Since 1960, the population has fallen from around 70,000; around 96% over less than 50 years.
While rhino populations have increased recently, much of the remaining species must be kept in some level of captivity, or dehorned to deter poaching.
It is sad that an animal of such grandeur is killed for something so small. It is sadder still that this only occurs through the greed and ignorance of a small global minority.
As an increasingly developed and modern society, I believe that the People Republic of China should take action to stop this illegal, but more so, immoral trade.
Further information can be found at:
March 27th Update
In correspondence with numerous organisations, I have frequently been asked why I have chosen only to petition for the black rhino. There are many reasons for this choice, although I do understand why people ask! All five of the rhino species are affected by the same Chinese and wider eastern Asian trade. The Javan Rhinoceros for example, is currently in a far more dire position with only 100 individuals remaining; the Sumatran with only 400, the Indian with 2000 and the White with around 11000. However, I felt that the Black rhino better highlighted the issue. It is the best known of the five species, and as a mammal originating from Africa, emphasises the relationship between China’s actions and the global community, without the argument of sovereign ownership that applies to the Asian species. Ultimately, all the rhinoceros species are effected by the same trade, and to end one is to end them all!
April 16th Update
For those interested in the subject of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), ‘A world apart’ (WWF, IUCN, TRAFFIC) will be of interest; an in-depth survey of TCM in both Hong Kong and the USA.
When asked “Would you try to understand the content of TCM before using them?” only 33% answered “Yes”.
Of those asked “What would you do if the TCM you use contained ingredients from animals protected by law?” only 30.8% answered “Stop using immediately”.
When asked “If the sale of rhino horns are banned by law, would you continue to use TCM?” 23.1% answered “Yes”, 11.9% answered “Hard to say”.
The full document can be found at http://www.traffic.org/tcm/ChineseMedicine.pdf