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Conservation

Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams have done it: it’s time for all auction houses to take the ‘no rhino horn’ pledge

  • When animals such as rhinos and elephants teeter on the edge of extinction, sales of their body parts are simply not acceptable
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 4:33am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 5:12am

Following our recent Hong Kong Elephant Week – where we, in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation, brought people from the front line of conservation in Africa to Hong Kong to help us educate people here about the issues facing wildlife on the brink of extinction – we were horrified to see the announcement that Bonhams was to conduct a sale of 21 lots of rhino horn.

Various NGOs and individuals moved swiftly to condemn this and it was heartening to learn on Friday that Bonhams had decided to withdraw the sale, making a clear commitment in a statement that it will not hold sales of rhino horn at any time in the future.

This was quickly followed by a similar statement from Sotheby’s. Christie’s had stated earlier it would not be involved with such sales.

We at the Elephant Foundation applaud these decisions and hope this commitment extends to artefacts from all endangered species, no matter their age. This stance sends a clear message that, in this day and age, where animals such as rhinos and elephants teeter on the edge of extinction, sales of their body parts are simply not acceptable, in any form, for whatever reason.

Saving the survivors: battling against rhino poaching in South Africa

The plight of endangered species such as rhinos goes far further than the animals themselves. If we destroy our wildlife we also destroy the habitat it lives in and the communities sharing the same. We have a collective responsibility to protect our wildlife, to protect the environment it lives in and to shun those who would have it any other way.

Thank you to the three auction houses that have taken this stance; we hope it sends a very clear message and encourages other businesses to follow in their footsteps.

Colin Dawson, founder, The Elephant Society; director, The Elephant Foundation