World Rhino Day: The Trade is Changing

World Rhino Day is celebrated on September 22 every year. There are about 30,000 rhinos left in the wild globally. Many populations have already gone locally extinct, and others are on the brink. Rhinos are currently being poached at a rate of three to four per day, a rate which does not include the baby rhinos still in their mother’s womb.

Vietnam received 90 percent of the horn from poached rhinos. The NGO TRAFFIC released a report this week detailing how Chinese criminal network operating in South Africa are now processing rhino horn locally into beads, bracelets, bangles and powder to evade detection and provide ready-made products to consumers in Asia, mainly in Vietnam and China.

More smugglers’ sophisticated methods have emerged: horns disguised as curios and toys, hidden in bags of cashew nuts, wine boxes and consignments of wood, or concealed in imitation electronic and machine parts in circuitous transit routes. TRAFFIC spokesman Dr Richard Thomas says. "The organized gangs behind this despicable trade are cunning, but transport companies can play a vital role in helping put a stop to their criminal activities."