In spite of the regulation, financial assistance and securitisation of responses to rhino poaching, rhino deaths have escalated over the past decade. This article discusses why efforts to disrupt illegal flows of rhino horn have been unsuccessful by honing in on structural and functional aspects of the broader rhino horn economy. Existing scholarly literature tends to focus on the legal–illegal binary in markets. The focus of this article is on grey flows in wildlife markets through an examination of rhino horn laundering and illegal hunting in the wildlife industry. Fluid interfaces of legal, grey and illegal flows have led to the creation of hybrid and highly adaptable flows. It is also argued that the international regulatory framework is not geared towards effective transnational enforcement and lacks social legitimacy amongst key actors. The article draws on research findings from a multi-sited ethnography, during which the researcher followed rhino horn from the source to the market.