An easy way of publishing your relevant EU press releases.

CITES Parties reject eSwatini request to trade in white rhino horn


26 Aug 2019


Climate & Environment

(Geneva, Switzerland – 25 August, 2019) IFAW welcomes today’s decision by the 18th Conference of the Parties (CoP18) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) to reject calls to reopen the trade in rhino horn.

The proposal to reopen the legal international trade in rhino horn was put forward by eSwatini (formerly Swaziland). eSwatini can already trade limited amounts of live southern white rhinos and hunting trophies but wanted to change the rules that currently forbid the international commercial trade in rhino horns. This was rejected by governments at CITES.

“We welcome that governments at CITES have recognised now is not the time to contemplate the reversal of the strict prohibitions on international trade in rhino horn,” said Matt Collis, IFAW Director, International Policy, and head of IFAW’s delegation at CITES.

“Doing so would have undermined years of hard work in Asia to reduce demand for rhino products and enforce existing bans in countries there.”

Poached rhino horn mostly makes its way to the black market in Asia, Vietnam in particular.

CITES CoP18 began in Geneva, Switzerland on August 17th and runs until this Wednesday.

A report tabled at CoP18 on Conservation of and trade in African and Asian rhinoceroses reports an increase of more than 28% in population across all rhinoceros species, with only the Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) not showing any increase in numbers.

“IFAW welcomes the growth in rhino numbers in the last few years. This is the result of concerted efforts undertaken by many governments to tackle the horrific scale of rhino poaching that has engulfed African rhinos in the past decade, while retaining the crucial prohibition of trade in rhino horns. However, there is no room for complacency; rhino poaching and trafficking in rhino horns remain very high with at least three rhinos still poached every day in Africa,” said Collis.

The proposal was submitted by eSwatini. It was rejected, after secret ballot, by 102 votes against, with 25 votes in support and seven abstentions.

IFAW works in more than 40 countries, to rescue and protect animals and their habitats, for a world where animals and people can thrive together. A team of IFAW experts are attending CITES CoP18 and are available for interview throughout.


For more information or to arrange interviews with IFAW experts please contact Clare Sterling on mobile +44 (0)7917 507717, email, or Christina Pretorius on mobile +41 779 114253 or +27 (0) 82 330 2558, email Skype interviews can be arranged on request.

CITES information and documents are available here:

IFAW is tweeting updates from the proceedings via various accounts including @Action4IFAW and @IFAWUK

Images and footage are available for media use

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) - The International Fund for Animal Welfare is a global non-profit helping animals and people thrive together. We are experts and everyday people, working across seas, oceans and in more than 40 countries around the world. We rescue, rehabilitate and release animals, and we restore and protect their natural habitats. The problems we’re up against are urgent and complicated. To solve them, we match fresh thinking with bold action. We partner with local communities, governments, non-governmental organisations and businesses. Together, we pioneer new and innovative ways to help all species flourish. See how at