07 Nov 2018 Statement Environment under review

Official statement on the reversal of the ban on trade in rhino and tiger parts by China

Nairobi, 7 November, 2018 – UN Environment considers the renegotiation of existing bans on trade in rhino and tiger parts – for any reason – an extremely alarming development that threatens decades of hard work to implement laws and regulations to protect these critically endangered animals.

Tigers and rhinos are among the most threatened species on our planet, with numbers in the wild dwindling year after year. They unequivocally need more protection, not less.

For years, scientists, policymakers and environmental activists have been moving to close traffic loopholes, minimize the market and halt poaching. Reconsidering these hard-fought laws and regulations on the trade in endangered wildlife products opens the door for countries to value economic gains over environmental protection under the guise of “regulated” trade.

To allow rhino horn and tiger bones to re-enter the market also falsely indicates that these products have medical value. We don’t know the impact this will have on stimulating demand.

 Experience shows how difficult it is to curb a black market for these products when a legal market also exists.

Since 2016, China’s ban on commercial ivory trade has been a powerful catalyser to curb demand for wildlife products, making this decision difficult to comprehend. In the face of biodiversity and wildlife being under threat all around the world, member states, scientists and activists need to present a united front and voice a strong objection to all trade in endangered wildlife products. “