We’ve blogged about World Rhino Day every year since 2012, and here we are, 5 years later, still fighting for the survival of the last remaining Five Rhino Species, namely the white rhino, the black rhino, the Sumatran rhino, the Javan rhino and the greater one horned rhino.
While international efforts are in place to save these magnificent creatures, the demand for rhino horn continues to soar, specifically in China and Vietnam, where it is believed to have all kinds of magical powers. In Chinese medicine, rhino horn is traditionally used to treat ailments such as fever, gout, headaches, vomiting and food poisoning, and it’s also believed to cure snake bites and typhoid.
In Vietnam, rhino horn is believed to detoxify the body, and cure everything from a hangover to cancer. Some Vietnamese men also believe that rhino horn will enhance their sexual performance, improve their virility, and cure impotence, which is perhaps why Vietnam is the biggest hub for illegal rhino horn trafficking worldwide.
While I do believe it important to respect the beliefs of other cultures, we’ve reached a stage where we simply need to say enough is enough. Rhino horn has been both clinically and scientifically proven to be nothing more than keratin, a source of protein that we all have in our own hair and fingernails.
It is NOT medicine, it will not cure anything, and it is certainly not Viagra for little Asian men. Even if it was, why would you possibly want to pay $10,000 per kilo and be responsible for the barbaric poaching of wild animals when you can buy real Viagra for less than $2 per tablet?
While Chinese medicine may be ‘traditional’ it is also outdated, and there are clinically proven pharmaceutical alternatives that are more economical, more effective, and more readily available. A rhino horn is keratin – period, but until we get this message across to China and Vietnam, the merciless slaughter of the world’s remaining rhinos will continue until the very last rhino has gone.
Time is running out for the 5 Rhino Species remaining, and while World Rhino Day is a wonderful way of raising awareness, we need to do more… and we need to do it now.