Rhino horn is now more valuable than gold, at 60,000 US dollars per kilogram. But what is rhino horn used for?
Rhino horn is highly prized in Asian medicine, specifically in Vietnam. Although it was used in medicine as long as 2,000 years ago, the craze for horn is actually much more recent. In the early 1990s horns sold for only 250-500 US dollars per kilogram (source). Between 1990 and 2007 only around 15 rhinos were poached in South Africa.
In 2008, rhino horn was rumoured to have cured a Vietnamese politician’s cancer. This sparked an enormous demand for rhino horn, causing poaching to increase. In South Africa alone, a whopping 1215 rhinos were killed for their horns in 2014. The sad truth is that there is no evidence that rhino horn has any medicinal properties whatsoever.
Both poaching rhinos and selling rhino horn is illegal, but horns still make it to market. Click the image below to enlarge it.
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Image from flickr.com/photos/arnolouise