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Oman rhino horn ban wins praise from World Wildlife Fund
October 17, 2017 | 9:12 PM
by Times News Service
The commendation comes after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) published a new standard for the Omani Khanjar and reaffirmed a 1994 ban on using rhino horns in the production of khanjars. –File photo used for illustrative purposes
 
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Muscat: Oman’s efforts to support the global drive to preserve certain rhinoceros species and stop its illegal trafficking has been commended by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

This comes after the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) published a new standard for the Omani Khanjar and reaffirmed a 1994 ban on using rhino horns in the production of khanjars.

Omani Khanjar producers have been adopting green practices, such as using recycled rhino horn or alternatives, such as plastic and wood to replace the norm, in keeping with the ban.

“Any efforts to stop illicit trafficking and the illegal use of horns all add to the broader goal and should be commended,” said a rhinoceros expert at the WWF.



According to the WWF, there are three species of rhinos that are critically endangered.

“Two species of rhino in Asia, the Javan, and Sumatran rhino are listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. In Africa, the Black rhino is also listed as ‘critically endangered,” said the rhino expert.



Nonetheless, the wildlife fund has had success with its conservation plans. “The Black rhino numbers in Africa have more than doubled from less than 2,500 in the mid-1990s to approximately 5,000 in 2015 and the greater one-horned rhinos in Asia increased from around 600 in 1975 to over 3,500 today as a result of anti-poaching efforts, biological management and reintroductions for range expansion,” an official from the fund said.

Despite these notable conservation wins, there has been an upsurge in poaching in southern Africa, with losses exceeding 1,000 animals a year since 2013, at a rate of nearly three animals per day.

Oman is not the only country to ban the use of rhino horn in the khanjar. In Yemen, the traditional Yemeni Khanjars were made using rhino horn until they were banned only a few years ago, “Yemen was by far the biggest consumer of rhino (horns) for this purpose,” the rhino specialist added.

Mazin Al Sayagh, from Mahat Al Sayagh, one of the pioneering khanjar producers in the Sultanate, said: “The animal horns we use usually come from other khanjars or antiques. Alternatives to using animal horns on the khanjar include other animal bones, plastic, and wood.”

“I agree with the decision of banning on the trading of animal’s horns, such as the Rhinoceros, since it is endangered and we all have to cooperate to protect these animals,” added Al Sayagh.

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