It’s surprising to hear that although people know rhinos are constantly poaches for their horns, often the reasons why horns are desired aren’t brought up. Sure, chinese medicine plays a huge role in it, but the details! The horns are prized for it’s translucent beauty when carved and the beneficial ‘healing’ properties, which have no scientific facts of benefits, by the way. In Yemen, imports of horn were banned in 1982 yet men still seek out the ‘jambiya.’ It is a curved dagger to signal a son’s manhood. China is also guilty of ornamental horn use. Over the centuries, they’ve been used to make ceremonial cups, buttons, belt buckles, hair pins, paperweights and other useless junk that made killing a rhino ridiculous. Perhaps equally ridiculous is using the horn as a remedy to things run-of-the-mill drugs could cure; the common cold, fevers, gout and snakebites, just to name a few.. In fact, scientists have performed experiments and concluded you’re just as good chewing fingernails to lower a fever’s temperature than using rhino horn as a cure. To shed some light on an extremely negative situation, the Greeks did use the horn properly. From the 5th century BC to the 19th century, they used it to purify water. Scientists believe there’s truth behind this, since the horns are keratin all the way through and react chemically with strongly alkaline poisons. But honestly, no matter what little benefits rhino horns have, I’d much rather see these gorgeous masses of animals congregate (or you know, not if they’re black rhinos) by the hundreds and roam the plans they deserve the right to be in.
Photo credit: ruthhallam