Namibia Allegedly Authorizes Rhino Hunt for Vietnamese National


Seriously? This is outrageous.

Despite the highly publicized abuse of trophy hunt loopholes in South Africa, Namibia has reportedly granted a permit to a Vietnamese national to kill a rhino.

According to the Namibian Sun, the hunt is to take place at Otjiwa Safari Lodge.

The permit which was apparently issued by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to the Vietnamese national is for the trophy hunt of a rhino on the Otjiwa Safari Lodge.

Vietnam is a major destination for illegal rhino horn, driven by the myth that rhino horn is a cure for serious illness, such as cancer. Rhino horn, in fact, has no medicinal value.

For the past several years, Vietnamese nationals have been implicated in schemes which use trophy hunts to launder rhino horn for the illegal market.

Earlier this year, South Africans called for a moratorium on trophy hunting of rhinos to curb the abuse.

In October 2011, Vietnam’s own Javan rhino, the unique Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus was declared extinct.

The last individual was found dead of a bullet wound in Cat Tien National Park; her horn was missing.

Image ©

Rhishja Cota-Larson

I am the founder of Annamiticus, an educational nonprofit organization which provides news and information about wildlife crime and endangered species. I am the Editor of Rhino Horn is Not Medicine and Project Pangolin, author of the book Murder, Myths & Medicine, a writer for the environmental news blog Planetsave, the host of Behind the Schemes, and Producer for the upcoming documentary The Price. When I'm not blogging about the illegal wildlife trade, I enjoy gardening, reading, designing, and rocking out to live music.

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  1. Namibia is a very minor rhino trophy exporter – 28 from 2000-2009 when reliable CITES records end. During that time they imported 70 live animals from South Africa

    South Africa, on the other hand, exported 1393 trophies during the same period.

    Vietnam only became a player in the trophy game in 2003, but from then to 2009 they have imported 212 trophies, 84 horns, 118 bones, and 25 “bodies” according to CITES. Vietnam is only interested in rhino trophies, they seem to hunt no other species at all.

    Alarm bells should have been ringing much earlier – 197 of the 212 trophy imports to Vietnam are since 2006. Nobody was paying much attention to this strange trend in a sudden and exclusive interest among Vietnamese to hunt rhinos? The writing has been on the wall for a long time, and Soth Africa, CITES, TRAFFIC, and the EIA should have been paying much closer attention – perhaps also the rhino NGOs?

  2. This is crazy! Any way the lodge can be boycotted?

  3. Apologies, we also meant to add that China imported 159 live rhinos from South Africa 2000-2009. Wonder if they are still alive or long since reduced to Traditional Medicine concoctions?

  4. @ Lion Aid Thank you, nice to hear from you. Yes, it seems the alarm bells were (still are?) being ignored. The writing was on the wall for SA’s live rhino exports to China, too. Here’s an article you might find interesting

    In case you want to see it, HSI posted this recent video of the “pharmaceutical breeding center” in China. Here’s the link

    @ Wildlife Margrit I will leave that up to those who are inclined to organize boycotts/protests.

  5. Thanks Rhishja – a very good article. As is correctly pointed out, CITES stipulates that a rhino trophy (or any trophy on their Appendix I) cannot be sold on and/or used for commercial purposes. Vietnam is a signatory to CITES. We would challenge that organization to have a look around to determine how many of those 212 imported trophies are proudly decorating the walls of the trophy hunters? Their names are known, they are all on the export/import permits?

    (CITES also signed off on all those 84 “stockpiled” horns sent by SA to Vietnam. Now I wonder where those horns came from? You will also remember that this stellar organization allowed Burundi (a country known for vast elephant herds – far in excess of five or ten animals) to export 89.5 tonnes of ivory “legally”. One does despair.)

    Checking on the Vietnamese hunters is about as likely to happen as Edna Molewa imposing a moratorium on rhino trophy hunting in SA. I believe she has been “considering” this for about 2 years now?

    I believe SA has much to answer for. They allowed wildlife to be owned by private individuals and this spawned the “canned lion” hunting industry and we are convinced fueled the rhino poaching tragedy by providing convenient loopholes by way of the “legal” hunts on rhinos.

    It is only be revealing this information to the public that there is any hope for change. Thank you for what you do in this regard.

  6. Mr/Miss Lion Aid

    The private individuals you refer to are looking after more than 20% of the worlds rhino population on a 24 hour basis. Please send your rhino conservation stats I’m sure the south african private rhino owner will be impressed.

  7. It seems to me that the demand will continue while CITES continues to allow the trade in horns regardless of it being ‘legal’. I’m starting to wonder at how many loopholes there really are in these conventions on the trade in endangered species.