Geneva, Aug. 20, 2019 – The following statement was issued today at CITES CoP18  (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 18th Conference of the Parties) by the Wildlife Conservation Society urging further action to protect the helmeted hornbill. 

CITES delegates formed a working group this morning on the helmeted hornbill to further address the crisis facing the species and efforts to combat poaching and trafficking in its parts.

Said Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS Vice President for International Policy:

“WCS appreciates the attention of the CITES parties to the crisis facing the helmeted hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) and the actions that range states and consumer states have taken to combat the trafficking in this species.

“The helmeted hornbill has long been under threat due to hunting for its solid red casque carved into “red ivory,” which has caused the species to disappear entirely from parts of its range.

“However, despite its listing on CITES Appendix I and its conservation status of Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, far more needs to be done if the helmeted hornbill is to survive.

“We look forward to participating in the newly formed CITES working group to address that goal. WCS thanks the government of Malaysia on this issue and looks forward to working with range, transit, and destination states, and all parties at CoP18 to facilitate adoption of strong actions to strengthen current legislative, enforcement, and prosecutorial efforts to disrupt the criminal networks driving this species to the brink of extinction.”



WCS is a strong supporter of CITES, has staff who have attended all meetings of the Conference of the Parties since CoP7 in 1989, and will be represented by many international wildlife and policy experts at the 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18) in Geneva, Switzerland. WCS views on the proposals to amend the Appendices are based on the CITES listing criteria, the best available scientific and technical information, and information from our field and country programs around the world. To learn more about WCS recommendations go HERE. WCS’s ‘on-the-ground’ presence across much of the globe enables it to address multiple aspects of wildlife exploitation and trade, including wildlife crime, at all points along the trade chain in source, transit and consumer countries.