Elephant Action League (EAL) July 2017, undercover investigation report “Grinding Rhino – Operation Red Cloud” (PDF), highlights alleged, extensive authority complicity within Vietnam and China (including the Chinese Navy) to facilitate the laundering of poached rhino horns smuggled out of Africa.
On the subject of any lifting of the standing, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) “ban” on international rhino horn trading and the moves underway (see Republic of South Africa, Department: Environmental Affairs (DEA) draft regulations) to circumvent this “ban” within South Africa, the ELA’s report (page 21) states:
“It is EAL’s feeling that legalizing trade is likely to collapse international attempts to protect rhinos.”
“South Africa’s DEA has issued draft regulations to govern the coming trade. The problem is that there is basically no domestic market for rhino horn in South Africa. Although traders may sell the horn legally to buyers within South Africa, it can generally be assumed that the horn will eventually be smuggled out of the country and resold on the black market in Asia. The draft regulations as written already appear to supply loopholes that could facilitate illicit trafficking of rhino horns.”
In this ELA report (page 79), there is an outline of ongoing investigations within South Africa of the established rhino horn smuggling operations (that can only expand and prosper from ‘domestic’ rhino horn trade regulations issued by the DEA):
“Elephant Action League (EAL) is also running an investigative operation at the beginning of the rhino horn supply chain, in South Africa.”
“In October 2016, EAL began Operation Giona , a long-term intelligence collection program and investigation into rhinoceros poaching and trafficking of rhino horn in South Africa, with a focus also on the smuggling routes into Mozambique.”
“These investigations are in progress and will continue through 2017……..a public report will be prepared upon completion of the operation and a Confidential Intelligence Brief (CIB), along with applicable case files, will be shared with trusted local, national, and international authorities for further action.”