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Rhino Horn

The CITES Standing Committee warned last year that rhino poaching had reached an all-time high.  Asia’s economic expansion was fuelling the markets for rhino horn, the main threats being from the use of powdered rhino horn in traditional medicines (a trade now additionally fuelled by a belief by some that powdered rhino horn is a cure for cancer), or to make handles for ornamental daggers, demand for which has soared in recent years.

In the five years up to 2005 an average of only 36 rhinos had been killed each year.  However, Wildlife Officials in South Africa have reported that last year 129 rhinos were killed for their horns, whilst so far this year there have already been 136 killings in one South African game reserve alone.

Under the “stricter measures” allowed under Council regulation EC 338/97, the UK bans any commercial use of raw rhino horns by refusing to issue the required Article 10 certificates.  However, the general derogation provided in Article 62(3) of EU Regulation 865/2006, means that this has not applied to “worked” items acquired or prepared prior to 1 June 1947.

Vendors of rhino horns should nevertheless be aware that the UK CITES Management Authority will strictly scrutinise all potential sales associated with “worked” rhino horns and must be fully satisfied that the definition of “worked” as contained in Article 2(w) of EC Regulation 338/97 applies to the specimen concerned before allowing the sale.  Therefore any potential vendor intending to sell a specimen which includes rhino horn must first check with the CITES Management Authority at the address given below in order for them to certify that the item meets the requirement of satisfying the management authority.

Before a specimen is able to be legally sold under the derogation we will need copies of digital photographs (preferably) plus any provenance that goes with the item as to age.

Contact details:
Animal Health
Specialist Service Centre - Wildlife Licensing and Registration Service (WLRS)
1/17 Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6EB
Tel: +44 (0) 117 372 8774
Fax: +44 (0) 117 372 8206

Page last modified: 22 December, 2010