23. Mai 2012
A horn is just a horn - Statement on Rhino Poaching
According to a media statement issued by the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, "The number of rhinos poached in South Africa since the beginning of the year now stands at 210."
"The Kruger National Park has lost a disturbing total of 127 rhinos since January
2012. Encouragingly, the number of arrests continues to rise, with the arrests for 2012 now totaling 128."
It is difficult to explain the growth in the trade of horn, as scientific evidence has shown that it has no medicinal value at all.
Testing was carried out in 1983 by researchers at Hoffmann-LaRoche, and followed up 25 years later with a study conducted by Dr Raj Amin at the Zoological Society of London. The tests confirmed the earlier research.
“There is no evidence at all that any constituent of rhino horn has any medical property. Medically, it’s the same as if you were chewing your own nails,” says Dr. Amin. His analysis further revealed that rhino horn contains identifying elements–similar to fingerprints–which provide information about where the horns originated. This helps authorities determine which rhino populations are being targeted by poachers.
Additionally, research conducted in 1990 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong was unable to produce evidence to support the wild claims of rhino horn’s curative power.
South Africa is considering whether to approach the international community with a proposal to trade in rhino horn, Environment Minister Edna Molewa told parliament on 2 May 2012.
However she emphasised that, "We are still doing some very serious work in
analysing whether we need to move in that direction or not." Molewa's remarks come 10 months ahead of the 16th congress of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), set to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, in March next year.
Joe Schwarcz, Director of McGill University's Office for Science and Society said
in an article in the Montreal Gazette, "Legalizing the sale of the horn would give
implicit approval to its value as medicine. It has none. Promoting nonsense is never the right approach. The way to protect the rhino is by spreading the word that reliance on ancient authority is not the way to go. Evidence-based science is!"
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