Downgrades Status Of Southern White Rhinos:
In a major hurdle to Africa’s rhino conservation efforts, CITES COP19 has recently accepted the proposal to downgrade the status of southern white rhinos from Appendix I to Appendix II. The southern white rhino is one of the two subspecies of white rhinos, with the other being the northern white rhino. It is one of the largest and heaviest animals in the world.
- A proposal by Namibia and Botswana to transfer the southern white rhinos from Appendix I to Appendix II allows the trade of live animals for conservation purposes and hunting trophies only.
- Animals in Appendix II may not necessarily be on the brink of extinction but the trade of such species is regulated to protect their existence.
- This amendment is restricted to the downgrading of live animals only for in situ conservation purposes.
- This decision does not resume the international trade in rhino horn, which was proposed by Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland).
- However, the downgrading of the classification exposes these vulnerable species to the threats posed by smuggling channels in countries where there are rampant activities of illegal poaching.
- It allows white rhinos to be relocated over long distances from one country to another.