The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for the Environment

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP

Minister for the Environment

Australian Government strengthens rhino protection

Media release
2 July 2014

Australia is stepping up its efforts to tackle illegal trade in threatened rhinos by banning the importation of new rhino horn hunting trophies into the country.

Over the past few years, rhino poaching has increased dramatically. It is estimated that in Africa three rhinos are killed every day for their horn.

The rhino could be extinct within the next two decades if the global community does not act now.

Three of the five living species of rhinos are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources ‘red list’.

Of the species found in Africa, only 4880 black rhinos and around 20,000 white rhinos remain. The picture in Asia is even grimmer, where only 2913 greater-one horned rhinos, fewer than 200 Sumatran rhinos and no more than 50 Javan rhinos remain.

As a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Australian Government is committed to the protection of wildlife that may be adversely affected by trade.

That is why the Australian Government has introduced new measures to tighten controls on the trade of these protected species.

Anyone who wishes to export vintage rhino horn will also face stricter measures and must conclusively prove its age through radiocarbon dating.

The Australian Government works closely with industry, state and territory counterparts and other nations to address illegal trade in wildlife and to protect species that are endangered, or at risk of becoming endangered through trade.

Australia implements its obligations under CITES through national environment law. Serious breaches of these laws may result in prosecution, with imprisonment for up to 10 years and/or fines of up to $170 000 for individuals ($850 000 for corporations).

Further information on the new measures can be found at:

www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/wildlife-trade/cites/stricter-measures/rhino
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