HORN TRAFFICKING

Between 2006 and 2017, some 8,500 rhinos were killed by poachers worldwide, but he actual tally is certainly even higher as many kills go undetected. More than 80 percent of these crimes were committed in South Africa. This current wave of rhino killings and horn smuggling focuses on South Africa’s Kruger National Park where the great majority of Africa’s rhinos live. It serves a seemingly insatiable consumer demand in Asia, particularly in Vietnam and China.

SHIFTING SMUGGLING ROUTES

Although some smuggling routes have remained in place for several years, as certain transit points become more difficult for the criminals, so new transit points are opened up to exploit inefficient and corrupt officialdom and other weaknesses along the chain.

For example in the 2010–2012 period, in addition to the established transit network in the east that included countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China (including Hong Kong) and the Philippines, routes via the UK, Germany and Austria were also being used. Later, the European transit points began to shut down and West African countries like and Guinea and Nigeria began to play a role.

By 2016–2017, however, the movement of African horns was focused almost exclusively on the Southern and East African nexus of transit points, directly with those in China and Southeast Asia, This includes Vietnam, where—devoid of its own wild rhinos since the last survivor was shot in 2019—is not only a major consumer destination and trafficking point into China, but also a shopping venue for Chinese visitors who are significant buyers of rhino horn products manufactured in Vietnam

Smuggling routes for horn poached in India have also changed—previously the route to market in China tended to be via Nepal, but Myanmar, has for the moment, become the transit point. Nepalese authorities have taken stern action against horn smugglers: in October 2013, 14 alleged members of a Nepal-Tibet cross-border smuggling enterprise were arrested— they were believed to have killed more than 12 rhinos over six years; while in June 2016, a Nepalese court sentenced a rhino poacher to 15 years in prison for his involvement in the killing of 21 rhinos.

9 RR Journey of a horn Shifting Route Map LINES
9 RR Journey of a horn Shifting Route Map LINES
9 RR Journey of a horn Shifting Route Map LINES
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