Chemical Treatment Of Rhino Horn May Help Save The Day

Treatment of Rhino horn with a chemical cocktail in South Africa has shown two great benefits in the war against poaching.

Initially designed to kill parasites this chemical survives grinding of the horn into powder.  

It induces nausea and vomiting in those who ingest it as part of  traditional medicine and fluoresces pink under airport x-ray scanners meaning that even in the powdered form it is readily identifiable to customs and quarantine inspectors.

Traditional medicine and the use for dagger handles represent the greatest demand for poached Rhino horn.  

Proving that the illegal trade in Rhino horn is truly global, mounted Rhino heads have been stolen from museums across Europe and in the UK.  The EU & the UK have made the sale of antique Rhino horns and mounted Rhino heads illegal.

In Australia there have been reports of vastly inflated prices for mounted Rhino heads.  Early in 2011, Theodore Bruce Auctions announced that a “massive” antique rhino horn trophy with an estimated value of $30,000 to $40,000 fetched a record $112,000 after a bidding war.

There are serious health consequences for the eventual end user of these antique Rhino horns.  In 2010 CITES advised that arsenic was used extensively in the preparation of Rhino horns.

You can learn more about Rhino and conservation efforts to preserve all of the globe's wild Rhino population at

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