The main threats facing rhinoceroses are loss of habitat and illegal poaching for their horn which is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. To address the threat to the species from international, commercial trade, the black rhino has been listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since 1977. The UK has consequently banned all trade in rhinoceros products.
In addition, through the Darwin Initiative, DEFRA has funded a recently-completed project in Kenya to develop a team of researchers and field personnel whose aim is to increase the numbers of black rhinos in the wild (£175,000). We have also funded recent research into plant alternatives to traditional Chinese medicine ingredients like rhinoceros horn and tiger bone (£67,500). This year we have also contributed £30,000 to the IUCN African Rhino Specialist Group to facilitate collaboration in rhinoceros conservation and trade issues including the fight against illegal trade.