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Before the beginning of the 20th century, there were more than 500,000 rhinos roaming across Asia and Africa. According to the statistics provided by World Wildlife, less than 30,000 now remain. Moreover, even some species are very close to extinction, including Sudan rhinos, Sumatran rhinos, etc. The central reason underlying this is rhino hunting as rhino horns trading is a very profitable and illegal business. 

But why do people still continue to poach rhinos and dehorn them even though they may face sanctions for it? The problem is that rhino horns are precious and are believed to have medicinal purposes. Apart from being used to cure some illnesses, rhino horn powder or pieces are considered to be an impressive gift. Meanwhile, there is also a widespread belief that rhino horns have aphrodisiac properties. But are these assumptions accurate? Let’s go deeper into this topic to find out the truth behind rhino hunting. 

Why do people use rhino horns?

Despite being an illegal business, rhino horn merchandising still attracts traders. People buy them for several reasons, but they mainly want to get them for medicinal purposes or as a status symbol. 

From ancient times, rhino horns were believed to cure hangovers, headache, fever, high blood pressure, relieve gout, arthritis, etc. Some people also consider it a good medication against poisoning and snakebites. Interviews with those who bought rhino horns even reveal that some people believe rhino horns can cure cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Besides curing illnesses, ancient people also thought that rhino horn powder could help to prevent poisoning. How? They believed that if it is added to liquid, it will bubble, indicating that it’s poisoned. 

Apart from medical applications, Rhino horns are also broadly used as a precious gift. Many people obtain rhino horn chuckles to boast of their status and show their wealth, while others gift horn powder and pieces to those in power with a purpose to get from them what they want. Some people also believe that rhino horns can help men as a treatment for impotence although there is no proves to confirm this belief.

To sum up, the primary uses for rhino horns include:

  • Medicinal purposes – can allegedly cure hangovers, headache, fever, high blood pressure, relieve gout, arthritis, etc
  • Status symbol
  • Prevent poisoning
  • Precious gift
  • Aphrodisiac – treatment for impotence

Is it true that rhino horns can cure diseases?

The medical properties prescribed to rhino horns come from ancient times. But how close are they to the truth? Even though traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine suggest that using rhino horns may cure some diseases, there are no scientific facts to prove these statements. Moreover, people also mention the aphrodisiac properties of it. Still, neither Chinese nor Vietnamese traditional medicine has ever mentioned such properties. 

It’s believed that rhino horn traders intentionally spread the idea that rhino horns can improve sexual function or cure cancer to boost horn demand among people. But if this continues, more and more rhinos will be endangered, which may even lead to the complete disappearance of some rhino species. 

Bottom line

There are several solutions offered to prevent rhino poaching and dehorning, but all of them involve some risks. For example, some people suggest that rhino horn prices should rise so that fewer people can buy them. But the problem is that horns are bought mainly by elite groups as a status symbol rather than as a medication. So, if the increased prices prevent it from being used as a meditation, rich people will still keep buying it as they won’t regret spending too much money on it. 

Some people even argue that it’s better to legalize rhino horns trading and take control over it so that it does not exceed the intended limit. Others believe that the controlled legalized trade cannot tackle the issue and offer to completely ban horn trading and increase sanctions on it. 

Nonetheless, the uses of rhino horns are not very clear and not proved by any scientific research or organization. Also, researchers claim that rhinos across the globe will be especially affected by global warming.

So, for now, it would be best to do whatever possible to stop and prevent rhino horns from hunting and trading…

Tatevik Chukhuryan