World Rhino Day Set for September 22

World Rhino Day 2011 is a global initiative highlighting efforts to debunk medicinal myths about rhino horn and eliminate demand for rhino horn.

The Second Annual World Rhino Day is set for September 22 and is an opportunity for people around the globe to join together and debunk medicinal myths about rhino horn.

The continuing demand for rhino horn fuels an illicit market which has already claimed the lives of more than 250 rhinos since the beginning of the year.

The killers belong to well-funded rhino horn syndicates; many are connected to the wildlife and hunting industry. Weapons of choice include rifles, automatic weapons and dart guns fired from helicopters.

These crimes have spread beyond African and Asian countries, into Europe, where at least 20 museums have been robbed by organized gangs specializing in the trafficking of antique rhino horn.

In addition to illegal killing and theft, wildlife trade researchers found that international crime syndicates are using trophy hunting loopholes to "legally" kill rhinos in order to run rhino horn from South Africa to Southeast Asia, notably Vietnam.

Extensive media investigations also revealed that China has been developing a rhino horn harvesting scheme and encouraging the consumption of rhino horn, instead of adhering to its obligations as a CITES signatory. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

Co-organizer Lisa-Jane Campbell of Chishakwe Ranch in Zimbabwe explains that one of the main aims of this year's World Rhino Day is to debunk the myths that fuel the demand for horn and the poaching of rhino.

"Rhino horn has no medicinal value, despite the long held belief to the contrary. Rhino are dying for nobody's benefit - except that of the criminals involved in the poaching rings."

Indeed, it is the continued belief in the curative powers of rhino horn that is behind this deadly scourge - despite the fact that rhino horn has been rigorously analyzed and actually contains no medicinal properties.

Rhino horn is comprised of keratin (like fingernails) and scientists compare the effect of consuming rhino horn to eating one's own fingernails. In other words, there is no effect.

Besides undermining decades of successful rhino conservation efforts, these medicinal myths are endangering the health and lives of people who are in need of actual medical attention.

Cause-related organizations, NGOs, zoos, and members of the public are encouraged to celebrate World Rhino Day with both offline and online activities aimed at dispelling the notion that rhino horn has medicinal value.

World Rhino Day 2011 is an international team effort organized by US-based Saving Rhinos LLC and Zimbabwe-based Chishakwe Ranch.

For more information, please see "World Rhino Day Frequently Asked Questions" and check the World Rhino Day 2011 page for updates.

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Categories: Animal Rights

Tags: rhino horn, rhino poaching, world rhino day


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