Let’s Target the Rhino Crisis at Its Source

NOTE: This is a guest post from our friends at the African Wildlife Foundation.

Demand for rhino horns and their believed medicinal qualities has steadily increased over the past few years, due to a growing middle class in China, Vietnam and other Asian countries. According to current projections, about 250 million new wealthy “middle class” Chinese consumers will enter the market over the next 10 to 15 years. As the buying power of these Asian economies has burgeoned, so, too, has rhino poaching. As of early June, 227 rhinos have been poached. That averages to almost two a day!

What, then, fuels this new demand, thereby pushing the remaining rhino population to the brink of extinction?

In Asia, it is believed that rhino horn, when ground down to a fine powder, can do everything from curing cancer to alleviating hangovers. Just like bear bile and tiger claws, rhino horn medicine is rooted in traditional beliefs, and its followers often aren’t aware of the damage they are doing. Or if they do know, many of them choose to accept or ignore it. Add this to the fact that the Asian middle class is expanding at exponential rates and is willing to pay the price for horn, and you have a recipe for disaster for the rhino.

That is why action must be taken not only in Africa, where the poaching is occuring, but in Asia, where demand for the rhino horn is fueling the poaching. In May, the African Wildlife Foundation entered into a partnership with WildAid to break down the culturally held myths about the horn’s medicinal qualities and educate people on how rhino horn is being procured illegally by killing rhinos. The two organizations will conduct a public awareness campaign aimed at dismantling the black market demand for rhino horns. These public service announcements will use any number of media, from television, to billboards, to Facebook, to Twitter.

The public awareness campaign in Asia is just one step of many needed to save the rhino, a species that could be extinct by 2025 if current trends continue unabated. Poachers are truly the villains of this piece, but it also falls to those who are fueling the demand to see the true damage they support. Proper education and outreach has the opportunity to reverse this downward spiral and the ignorance that encourages its expansion. Because the rhino crisis doesn’t end in Africa. It has global players with global repercussions.

Related Stories:

Make Poaching a High Risk/Low Reward Crime

On-The-Ground Fight Essential to Rhino’s Future

We Must Stop Rhino Poaching

Photo from ThinkStockPhotos


ER C4 years ago

Robert F…..RE: boycott ALL Chinese products……….YES !!!! I can’t say it enough ! However, I think our government is afraid of China. That’s why they won’t pull out of China. So, YES BOYCOTT MADE IN CHINA !!!!!

Stella Nobrega-Garcia


Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright5 years ago

Poach the poachers................

Robert F.
MG p5 years ago

Ha! Went past the limited space!

End of post below:

Canada: host to unnecessary and brutal baby seal slaughter. And supplier of funds for a country's vicious and brutal slaughter of what many consider to be pets. 

( I would, of course, like to include the U.S. evils in this post, but I know of far too many to list in this limited space). 

Sorry, I am just disgusted by the whole wretched affair. 

Robert F.
MG p5 years ago

Sorry if anyone considers my post "politically incorrect".  And this is truly not to paint  a billion people with the same brush.  But I say that the t least we can do is boycott ALL Chinese products. ( As this is a major feat, boycott what we can. I mean, i don't willingly by clothes made in China, nor kitchenware BTW - thar's LEAD in them thar dishes! - etc  I don't go to Chinese restaurants anymore. I don't enjoy the flesh of brutally killed cats, and, yes, I know of more than one restaurant closed down for its cat policy.) The other part of a boycott approach is, of course, education: the Public has to become aware of the REAL meaning of China's influence around the globe. There is  a tendency  amongst many to think of China as  having a rather brilliant scientific and cultural community. To some extent, this is true. It  is brutal to its own people as well as to animals. It is bringing about the extinction of the magnificent Tiger as well as the remarkable Rhino. All because of an ignorance that defies education of its so-called "middle class."

In fact, what we may have in China is a brilliant scientific and cultural community which has all the elements of on archaic and Barbaric cultural attitude. 

By the way: You like Canadian "faux fur?". Read "faux fur" as  China's supply of skins from cats and dogs. 
Canada: host to unnecessary and brutal baby seal slaughter. And supplier of funds for a country's vic

Donald T.
Donald T5 years ago

Sincw when do the Chinese need rhinocerus horns? Certainly any history of Chinese contact with any rhinos are recent in historical terms, so there can be no legitimate claims of Chinese culture setting any precedent other than stupid folklore or other for any concept of 'virility' or machoness attached to the horn of a rhinocerus.
Set some sharpshooters on guard near the rhinocerus territories and return fire with fire.

Prentise W.
pre,tpse w5 years ago

It is sickeningly amazing how many people believe that the murder of an innocent animal and the use of its organs will make men more virile and more powerful, when the reverse is actually true... there is nothing manly about this cruel and selfish behavior.

Tucker T.
Tucker T5 years ago




Enid B.
Enid B5 years ago

Check out this Ted Talk and how communities in northwest Namibia have created economic stability and brought their wildlife back from practically being extinct.

It's an inspirational brilliant piece of ingenuity that lets people manage their communities, provide for their families and revere and protect their natural resources/wildlife. I'm not kidding. Eco tourism is alive in Namibia.

Sheri D.
Sheri D5 years ago

This needs to be dealt with on many fronts. Make tougher laws. Make the punnishments tougher. Educate the children in schools. Educate the adults in newspapers, magazines, television, internet, etc. Work on making cruelty of any form socially unacceptable.