Rhino horn trade ban proves ineffective

Uncategorized By May 19, 2023

Despite the 1977 ban on rhino horn trade, there is still an increasing demand for the product, leading to continued poaching and the wasting of the precious animal. The lucrative trade is still thriving due to weak law enforcement in many rhinoceros habitats in African and Asian countries. Borders are also difficult to police, and, therefore, there are many loopholes in the system, allowing the illegal trade to thrive. Rhinoceros horns are used in medicine, functional and decorative items worldwide, leading the animals to face extinction. There is a need to create more awareness and stricter penalties to end the illegal rhino horn trade.

The rhino horn trade ban, implemented in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), aimed to protect rhinoceros populations from excessive hunting and poaching. However, despite this ban, there has been a consistent demand for rhino horns, leading to its continued trade and poaching. In this article, we shall explore the ineffectiveness of the rhino horn trade ban and the reasons for its failure.

Ineffectiveness of Rhino Horn Trade Ban

Rhino poaching has become a lucrative business for many criminal organizations, and the demand for rhino horns continues to rise, with the horns fetching prices of up to $60,000 per kilogram on the black market. The rhino horn is used in traditional medicines in some Asian countries, like China, where it is believed to have healing powers, despite having no scientific evidence to support this belief. Additionally, rhino horns are used for making ornaments and traditional dagger handles.

The rhino horn trade ban has not been effective in curbing the poaching of rhinoceros in Africa and Asia. Despite the ban, the poachers have continued to hunt rhinoceros for their valuable horns, often killing the poor animals.

Reasons for the Ineffectiveness of the Rhino Horn Trade Ban

Inadequate Enforcement

One of the main reasons for the failure of the rhino horn trade ban is a lack of law enforcement. Many countries, particularly those where rhinoceros are found, have weak law enforcement mechanisms that make it difficult to prosecute poachers and traders. Moreover, law enforcement officials are often poorly paid, making it easy for poachers and traders to bribe their way around them.

Furthermore, rhino horns are incredibly valuable, and traders are willing to pay substantial sums to smugglers to bring horns across borders. This makes it difficult for border control authorities to detect rhino horn smuggling, allowing a significant amount of illegal trade to continue.

Increasing Demand and Lucrative Profit Margins

Although the rhino horn trade is banned, there is still a high demand for it in some countries. As mentioned earlier, rhino horns are used in traditional medicines and as decorative items, especially in China, where their demand continues to rise. This high demand has led to the horns being sold on the black market at incredibly high prices, making the trade incredibly lucrative.

Given the high profitability of the trade, poachers and traders are always coming up with new and ingenious ways to continue trading rhino horns, making it increasingly difficult to curb the trade.


The rhino horn trade ban has proved ineffective in curbing the poaching of rhinoceros in Africa and Asia. Law enforcement agencies must do more to stop the illegal trade, and there is a need to create more awareness of the negative impact of the trade on rhinoceros populations. Moreover, stricter penalties are necessary to deter traders and potential buyers. There is no quick fix solution to the problem, and it will require a collective effort from governments, NGOs, and the general public to protect these endangered species.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why are rhino horns so valuable, and what are they used for?

A1. Rhino horns are considered valuable in certain countries, primarily China and Vietnam, where they are used for traditional medicine and decorative items. Rhino horn is believed to have several medicinal properties, including curing fever, reducing inflammation, and relieving headaches, among others.

Q2. Why is the rhino horn trade illegal?

A2. The rhino horn trade is illegal because it endangers the survival of rhinoceros species, as poaching and excessive hunting have led to a significant decline in their populations.

Q3. What measures are being taken to protect rhinoceros populations?

A3. Governments, NGOs and other stakeholders are working together to protect rhinoceros populations by increasing law enforcement, creating awareness, and implementing policies aimed at protecting the animals. Additionally, there are several conservation projects aimed at preserving endangered species, including rhinoceros.