CITES Rhinoceros Enforcement Task Force
February 2014, Volume 12-1

The meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, from 28 to 29 October 2013 was attended by 52 representatives from 21 countries that play a role as source, transit or destination countries in the illegal rhinoceros horn trade chain. Participants included senior law enforcement officers representing Customs, the police and wildlife authorities from Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, as well as representatives from wildlife enforcement networks. Strategies that were discussed during the meeting included increased international cooperation through Memoranda of Understanding between countries, using DNA sampling and forensic techniques to combat illegal wildlife trade, and requests for mutual legal assistance to ensure that the entire crime chain was investigated and strong court-driven evidence secured.

The meeting gave representatives the opportunity to interact with their law enforcement counterparts from other countries to discuss current rhinoceros poaching and illegal rhinoceros horn trade trends, to share information and intelligence, and to discuss specific cases and joint courses of action. Mr John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES, highlighted that “the Task Force meeting provided practical assistance to countries in implementing Decisions of the Conference of the Parties to CITES and the opportunity for enforcement officials from across source, transit and destination States to interact on concrete strategies and actions to combat illegal rhinoceros horn trade. This direct and focused interaction will lead to enhanced international cooperation and stronger enforcement actions on the ground”.