If you care about wildlife, you would know that just like tiger skin, the horns of rhinos is one of the prized catch of poachers. So, what is it about these horns that make them such a prized item? Even today, there is a lot of demand for rhino horn across the world, and we will take a look at why the Chinese want it.
The Chinese usage of the rhino horns is rooted in history. They have been used as prized ornaments in China since as far back as the 7th century AD.
What do the Chinese use the horns for?
They can be found carved on various objects, like ceremonial cups, and even everyday things like buttons, paperweights, belt buckles etc. They are primarily considered ornamental because they are distinctive, they age beautifully and the luster increases with time.
Apart from this, rhino horns have held great importance in ancient Chinese healing. This is in fact prevalent in many Asian countries. In this system of Chinese medicine, the rhino horn is first either shaved or ground into a fine powder. Water is then boiled, and this rhino horn powder is put in it. This concoction is then used to treat many ailments like fever and gout. It is even said to cure snake bite and devil possession.
The Chinese history of the demand of rhino horns
In the 1970s and 1980s, the consumption of rhino horns in China was not much compared to other countries. It steadily rose in the next decade. In 1993, steps were taken to stop domestic trade. Existing stockpiles at the time were registered and sealed.
In the modern times, however, China continues to be a big concern in terms of rhino horn trade. With rhinos being near extinction in many places, efforts are being made to educate people and stop this manner of trade. Illegal trade, however, flourishes.
This is why organizations that aim to save rhinos are also trying to regulate ownership of cutting tools such as chainsaws (click here to find out why chainsaws are considered as very powerful yet dangerous cutting tools). By doing so, they hope that because not everyone has access to cutting tools, illegal rhino horn trade will go down. As such, rhino horns might just be too expensive that demand will eventually go down.