Armed guards escorted officials marching 60 kilograms of rhino horns to a pyre for burning at Dvůr Králové Zoo in Czech Republic in the first public burning of rhino horns in Europe. The horns came from a government stockpile. The Czech Republic is often used as a transit point for smugglers of rhino horn. In 2013, officials seized two dozen white rhino horns and arrested 16 individuals for allegedly smuggling horns.
Ian Player, Iconic Rhino Conservationist who spearheaded Operation Rhino that saved the few remaining southern race of white rhino, slammed the recent Czech rhino horn burning supported amongst others by CITES Secretary General John Scanlon. In an interview with Rhino War News Focus, Player said “I was appalled to read of the actions of John Scanlon. CITES is now acting as prosecutor, judge and jury. But their actions are a serious insult to the rural black communities surrounding our parks. These unfortunate people live in dire poverty and with the limited legitimate sale of rhino horn could improve their living conditions and also set aside land for rhino to breed and increase. In case Mr Scanlon does not know it the rhino was saved in Southern Africa without any help from CITES and we need no lessons from any ill -considered actions on their part to try and tell us what we need to do. They are inflicting a serious blow to rhino conservation and have done CITES enormous harm. The Czech government can be forgiven for their ignorant action but Mr Scanlon will ultimately be held to account.”