Rhino horn may be losing its luster in Vietnam, where it has long been sold as a cure-all for a host of ailments.
A group of traditional medicine practitioners in Vietnam, a country with one of the highest demands for rhino horn, has taken a vow against using it. Through a series of workshops hosted by the group TRAFFIC, a project created by the World Wildlife Fund, the healers learned about the toll rhino poaching is taking on Africa's wildlife.
One healer, Nguyen Duc Thu from Traditional Medicine Hospital of Dong Nai Province, told Thanh Nien News:
"After learning that 1,215 rhinos were poached last year in South Africa alone, I feel strongly that practitioners of traditional medicine have a responsibility not to use endangered species products, especially rhino horn, in their practice because it is unsustainable and illegal."
It's a small step. But there are other indications that rhino horn is on its way out in Vietnam. Last May, the Ministry of Health and the Traditional Medicine Association agreed to acknowledge that there is no evidence to support the claim that rhino horn could cure cancer (a popular idea). And a survey released last October found that just 2.6 percent of people in Vietnam buy and use rhino horn - a 38 percent decrease over the previous year.