Rhinos have been slaughtered to near extinction to fuel the insatiable demand for rhino horn products in China - and more recently Vietnam - all based on myths about the alleged medicinal properties of rhino horn. Besides the traditional uses of rhino horn, wildlife traffickers are promoting "non-traditional" uses, such as a cure for hangovers and a treatment for cancer. The newly wealthy in Vietnam also seek rhino horn to display as a status symbol (see 'Ferrari Factor' Driving Rhino Horn Trade in Vietnam).
In addition to the demand from China and Vietnam, unscrupulous wildlife industry professionals in South Africa have turned to supplying traffickers with rhino horn, often via trophy hunting loopholes. Speculation about the legalization of rhino horn trade is another issue which is fueling the rhino crisis (see "Banking on Extinction" and "Legal Trade in Rhino Horn is An Old Agenda, Not a New Solution").
Although Yemen used to be a major player in the illegal rhino horn market, today the demand comes from China and Vietnam.
Suspicions Confirmed - China Investing Millions in Rhino Horn Scheme. Read it here.
Get the FACTS! Read Rhino Horn: All myth, no medicine on National Geographic's NatGeo News Watch
Rhino horn has the same medicinal effect as chewing one's own fingernails. In other words, rhino horn has no medicinal value whatsoever. Watch this video of Dr. Raj Amin at the Zoological Society of London explain more about scientific analysis of rhino horn:
Needed: Accurate reporting on the rhino crisis by mainstream media
January 2008: This female Indian Rhino suffered for 35 hours before she died. Her calf was murdered, and as she stood over her dead calf, she was shot twice and her horn was removed while she was still alive. This murder occurred in Kaziranga National Park, India. Source: BBC News
Instead of simply noting that "rhino horn is used in Chinese medicine", we believe a more accurate statement by the media would help educate the public and should be universal:
Although rhino horn has no medicinal properties, myths about rhino horn still persist. In China and Vietnam, rhino horn is unfortunately promoted as a "remedy" for nearly everything, from hangovers to cancer. These myths surrounding rhino horn are why rhinos are slaughtered illegally - and why wild rhino populations in Africa and Asia remain under threat.
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Here we are in 2013 - why does the illegal killing of rhinos continue?
- China is currently believed to be exploiting CITES research loopholes by 'farming' rhinos for horn.
- Speculation in South Africa about the legalization of rhino horn trade is an issue which is fueling the rhino crisis (see "Banking on Extinction" and "Legal Trade in Rhino Horn is An Old Agenda, Not a New Solution")
- The newly wealthy in Vietnam seek rhino horn to display as a status symbol (see 'Ferrari Factor' Driving Rhino Horn Trade in Vietnam).
- Despite being a CITES signatory, Chinese pharmaceutical companies continue to manufacture medicines derived from rhino horn.
- In addition, heavy funding (USD $130 million) of the traditional medicine industry by the Chinese government in 2007 is believed to be one of the catalysts for the current crisis.
Science has proven rhino horn has no medicinal value
We need to teach people to stop thinking of rhino horn as a valuable commodity and start focusing on the facts. Rhino horn has no medicinal properties, no curative benefits, and no magical powers.
Learn more at Busting the Rhino Horn Myth with Science.
FACT: Rhino horn is NOT a remedy for fever, pain, arthritis, or any other medical condition. Rhino horn does not cure cancer - and it is not an aphrodisiac.
Yet these myths are behind a thriving illegal market in rhino horn - and have made rhinos one of the world's most endangered species.
Please share the truth about rhino horn and help stop the illegal slaughter of rhinos ... before it's too late.
Visit our blog Rhino Horn is NOT Medicine to learn more