Conservation of the Rhinoceros (Perissodactyla: Rhinocerotidae)

WHEREAS, fewer than 10,000 rhinos of 5 species survive in the wild, including the black rhino (ca 3,700), the white rhino (ca 4,000), the Indian rhino (ca 1,200), the Sumatran rhino (ca 850), and the critically endangered Javan rhino (ca 50); and,

WHEREAS, many remaining populations of rhino are not effectively protected and are largely fragmented, rendering them even more vulnerable to extinction than their numbers indicate; and,

WHEREAS, in the past 15 years, more than 60,000 rhinos have been killed, mainly through illegal poaching to obtain rhino products which still have considerable economic value in Asian and Middle Eastern countries such as North Yemen; and,

WHEREAS, continued destruction of tropical rainforests and other rhino habitats contributes further to the decline of these animals, particularly in Asia; and,

WHEREAS, without more effective and decisive action toward conservation, it is a real possibility that any or all 5 species could be extinct in the wild by the year 2000,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists request that the U.S. Departments of Interior and State, the Congress, and the World Bank use all appropriate measures to bring about changes of policy and procedure in nations that still permit illegal rhino slaughter or export or import of rhino products. These measures could include reductions in economic aid or trade sanctions as well as more positive steps such as technical and financial assistance in the conservation of rhinos.