4 min read

Who's Still Buying Rhino Horn?

<p><a class="checked-link" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/fwooper7/15103538755/in/photolist-p1DzSB-bipFSD-a84pcD-79YVXG-h1VpS9-6MAEN3-dZzuHA-crWGN7-gQCHf-7XmP3Z-pn1gCy-8zXcB8-8A1jqo-bqJoDh-ciWHPJ-8A1jGN-eJ5hot-6zZxLv-e4RBZQ-oARFjb-oSCqrY-crWBzY-znAHh-9e3oGp-oFq6v1-eJ5hc2-crWHk1-9FrJu7-6hYtq5-6Ax6z9-8zXcwX-3gzEKA-eJ5hrt-dTJPY2-9FoV4r-d5Doyy-bgSUXX-fvRrPh-dcWZaH-cMwwfS-34nE6D-34sdco-5kiSUg-6GNjVG-96hv4c-cP7Go-dibVzz-54MrYL-nWT4KL-6ZsNG4">Valentina Storti/Flickr</a></p>

Rhino horn use may be on the decline, according to the results of a newly-released survey. According to the survey, 2.6 percent of people in Vietnam buy and use rhino horn - a 38 percent decrease over the past year. What's more, a full quarter of respondents now agree that the product has no medicinal value - a major shift in thinking for the country, which has been a hotspot for rhino horn trade in recent years.

The survey, conducted by Nielsen for the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), comes after several campaigns to raise awareness about the issue of rhino poaching. Last year, a record 1,004 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns, which are believed to hold medicinal powers in traditional Asian medicine.

The survey's results are welcome news. But the demand for rhino horn - which can fetch upwards of $100,000 a kilogram on the black market - is far from gone. So who's still buying it?

Dr. Teresa Telecky, Director of HSI's Wildlife Department, broke down the results of the questionnaire that asked consumers of rhino horn about themselves.

  • 64 percent of respondents who said they use horn were male (the remainder identified as female).
  • 27 were higher income, 42 percent were middle income, and 30 percent were lower income.
  • 48 percent of respondents were 45 to 55 years old.
  • The largest hotspot for horn consumption in Vietnam was in Ho Chi Minh city.

The survey also asked people what health problems they believed that rhino horn could treat. 60 percent said cancer, 40 percent said rheumatism, 20 percent said effects of a stroke, 20 percent said impotence, 17 percent said hangover and 15 percent said fever.

According to scientists, there is little evidence to support a belief in the medical efficacy of rhino horn. Studies conducted on animals found no pharmacological effects of the product whatsoever, while one human study found that horn can temporarily reduce fever - but was no more effective than aspirin.

[rebelmouse-campaign #EndWildlifeTrafficking title="Take a stand to end wildlife trafficking and the demand for animal products." theme="sidebar" total="supporters have shared their voice." cta="Sign Now" pastCta="Signed" sendButton="Sign" why="Take a stand to end wildlife trafficking and the demand for animal products." addPost="Post Now!" shareText="Join @dodo and me in opposing wildlife trafficking and the demand for animal products #EndWildlifeTrafficking {{link}}"]