With researchers estimating rhinos being extinct by 2032, it’s a clear indication that this fixation needs to be understood and stopped before it’s too late.
What is Asia’s obsession with rhino horns?
Currently, Vietnam dominates the black market on rhino horn sales, with China following close behind. With these two countries contending for first position in market share and size, you can find rhino horn products across both nations, from their most popular cities and provinces through to rural villages.
In Vietnam, the belief is that rhino horn is capable of curing a variety of ailments and diseases. China, however, prefers to keep its rhino horn on display in the form of carved libation cups thought to elevate the status of the owners. In the more rural villages, rhino horn necklaces, bracelets and beads are commonly purchased by wealthy residents. China has come to be known as somewhat of a middleman in the rhino horn trade, as there is more value in selling the sought-after horn to third parties than keeping it.
As if the ridiculous beliefs we previously mentioned are not enough, even more outrageous myths (improved concentration, impotency treatment, cures for life-threatening diseases) regarding the intake of this precious commodity exist. It would be no stretch of the imagination then to think that the rhino horn obsession is deeply rooted in the vulnerability and fears of its Asian market, and that what the illegal traders are taking advantage of is the belief that rhino horn can render the individuals that use it untouchable.
The exploitation of this vulnerability is the key to the continuous expansion of the rhino horn market and it is this key factor that needs to be addressed, if for nothing else than just to save the rhino.