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16.06.2016

A living rhino is worth more than its horn

BMUB launches campaign in Berlin underground against poaching and for wildlife protection

BMUB launches campaign in Berlin underground against poaching and for wildlife protection

When the doors of the train open, the rhinoceros loses its horn – this visual statement on the trains of the Berlin underground is part of a campaign launched today by Federal Environment Minister Hendricks to advocate stronger protection of endangered species against poaching. "A living rhino is worth more than its horn" – with this slogan for the month-long campaign, the minister is commemorating a notable anniversary: forty years ago, on 20 June 1976, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) came into force in Germany. 

Minister Hendricks explained: "The cut-off horn shown on the trains only travels around the Berlin subways. Real rhinoceros horn, in contrast, is smuggled through many countries. This is why we are all called on to put an end to this criminal activity. Tourists also have an important role to play in the fight to protect wildlife. Holiday-makers should take care – when travelling abroad, it is best to avoid buying wild animal products, not to mention live animals." 

In the past year in Africa alone, more than 20,000 elephants and over 2,000 rare rhinoceroses were killed by poachers. Wildlife smuggling today is professionally organised. It promotes corruption and causes regional security issues in countries that are already dealing with sensitive political situations. 

The 17th Conference of the Parties to CITES will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 23 September to 5 October 2016. One of the controversial topics at the conference will be Swaziland’s proposal to permit the country to trade in rhinoceros horn from its stockpiles. Minister Hendricks remarked: "The illegal trade in rhinoceros horn is out of control. In this kind of situation, permitting any legal trade is not right and it sends a false message. I will not support this proposal." 

The Federal Environment Ministry finances projects to combat illegal trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn with three million euros annually. These projects take into account the entire illegal trade chain between Africa and Asia. Their activities include securing protected areas, improving legal foundations and enforcing wildlife protection. An additional focus is on support for campaigns to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products in consumer countries. 

German holiday-makers sometimes contribute to the demand for wildlife products, often unintentionally. The typical case involves tourists bringing back souvenirs from their holidays – in particular these might include stony corals, reptile leather products, but also ivory carvings, cobras preserved in alcohol, and turtle shells or live turtles. Specific information for travellers, therefore, is key to fighting illegal trade in wildlife. German customs and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation provide tourist information in German at the following link: www.artenschutz-online.de

Starting today in Berlin, several trains of the BVG (Berlin Transport Company) will be under way sporting rhinoceros decals. Fourteen double carriages running on the underground lines U5–U9 and one double carriage on the underground lines U1–U4 will carry campaign images for one month, until 15 July.

16.06.2016 | Pressreport No. 139/16 | Species Protection