Rhino Documentary Premieres at Rio+20
18 June 2012: The UN TV and the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) launched a documentary titled “Rhino Under Threat” at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).
The documentary was introduced by John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, Yan Arthus Bertrand, President, GoodPlanet Foundation, Julia Marton-Lefevre, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Director-General, Mark Zimsky, Representing the CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat, and Sejal Worah, WWF India.
It seeks to describe the increase in the illegal trade of rhinoceros, following their fate from living icons of the parks of South Africa and Swaziland to their valued remains in the crowded streets of Hanoi in Viet Nam. It investigates the drivers of the demand for rhino horn in Asia and provides an overview of the measures being taken by national authorities to address the issue. UNTV obtained exclusive access to the Environmental Crime Investigation and Air Services of South Africa and to black markets in Hanoi.
In 2007, poachers killed 13 rhino in South Africa. This number rose to 448 in 2011 – with poaching levels reaching 245 so far this year, with 161 arrests. The documentary also highlights the role of organized syndicates in wildlife crime, and the need for a tough coordinated enforcement response. John Scanlon, CITES Secretary-General, highlighted the importance of working together at national and international levels to stop the poaching, smuggling and consuming of rhino.
A GEF-funded project was recently approved to strengthen law enforcement capacity in South Africa's protected area system through forensic-based technologies focused on the rhinoceros. The funding will be used by South Africa for a dedicated forensic laboratory facility to provide timely DNA analysis of forensic evidence for the prosecution of wildlife crimes. [CITES Press Release] [IISD RS Story on the Announcement of the Premiere]