Rhino horn poaching in Africa is at an all-time high. The recent wave of rhino poaching (up 3,346% since 2007) has erased decades of gains in African rhino conservation efforts, and put rhinos on the fast track to extinction. At one point, hundreds of thousands of black and white rhinos roamed the African continent, but now numbers for both species are near 25,000.
Where is the demand for rhino horn coming from, and why?
If you read my post, One Happy Rhino, you will know about my recent perception changing close encounter
with a rhino prompting me to learn more about its species.
What I found out is many of the ‘facts’ I knew to be true about rhino poaching are just plain wrong.
New information debunks widespread common beliefs about rhino poaching and the use of rhino horn
Here’s what I’ve learned:
–False belief #1:
China is the biggest importer of rhino horn, creating and continuing to drive the
demand for poaching.
New Rhino Fact–The final destination for the majority of rhino horn poached in Africa is Vietnam and Indonesia.
–False belief #2:
Rhino Horn is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
New Rhino Fact– Rhino horn is now used as a cancer cure, and as an antidote for
the hangovers of excess living (too much rich food, alcohol and drugs). No medicinal use for rhino horn
has been scientifically validated.
As you will learn next, rhino horns as medicine is being replaced by a new practice.
– False belief #3:
The majority of rhinoceros horn is used in traditional oriental medicine.
New Rhino Fact–The richest Asians (including government officials) give rhino horns for bribes and gifts. Horns from rhinos have become so expensive only the wealthiest people can afford the product, increasing its allure, and making it less practical for medicinal purposes.
– False belief #4:
Dehorning rhinos before the poachers do is one viable solution to rhino poaching.
New Rhino Fact–The most expensive part of the rhinos horn is the part closest to the face, making a mostly dehorned rhinoceros still vulnerable to poachers.
–False belief #5:
We are loosing at rhino conservation efforts worldwide.
New Rhino Fact–Despite the fact that horns from Asian rhinos are twice the price of African rhino horn, there has been almost no poaching of rhinos in India and Nepal since 2007. Their governments’ efforts – high budgets for conservation, involving villagers living near rhinos, and stringent penalties for convicted poachers – are working. There are also countries in Africa such as Uganda and Namibia, which have been successful at protecting their rhinos. These success stories could act as models for other countries still loosing the rhino poaching battle.
Source: December Swara Magazine
The last point I want to share with you is crucial to understanding the complexities of the rhino poaching issue. The poachers, traffickers, dealers and consumers involved in the rhino poaching syndicate have NO emotional feeling for rhinos except monetary. People don’t generally care for things they know nothing about and have no positive experience with.
Here at AfricaInside.org the goal is to inspire people to care about wildlife. We do that through education and experience. Sending people who have never seen a rhinoceros or lion into Africa’s National Parks to experience and learn about wildlife inspires an emotional investment. Our programs are game changers for wildlife conservation and I hope you will take a moment to see why, and get involved with us…
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Did you learn anything new about rhino poaching? What was the most surprising?