Rhino Experts Oppose Production and Sale of Synthetic Rhino Horn
May 18, 2015
Synthetic Rhino Horn Will Not Reduce Demand Nor Deter Poaching, Say Global Advocates
In response to the emerging synthetic rhino horn industry, the International Rhino Foundation (IRF) and Save the Rhino International have declared their opposition to the manufacture, marketing and sale of the product.
The two rhino conservation organizations released a joint statement calling synthetic rhino horn trade ineffective at reducing the rising demand and sale of authentic rhino horn in Vietnam and China and, therefore, potentially counterproductive in curbing the current poaching crisis that threatens rhino species with extinction.
“Selling synthetic horn does not reduce the demand for rhino horn or and could lead to more poaching because it increases the demand for ‘the real thing,’” said Susie Ellis, executive director of IRF. “In addition, production of synthetic horn encourages its purported medicinal value, even though science does not support any medical benefits. And, importantly, questions arise as to how law enforcement authorities will be able to detect the difference between synthetic and real horn, especially if they are sold as powder or in manufactured products.”
“Currently, 90 percent of the rhino horns in circulation are fake, but poaching rates continue to rise, so providing synthetic horn will not lower demand,” said Cathy Dean, director of Save the Rhino. “The manufacture of synthetic horn diverts attention from the real problem: unsustainable levels of rhino poaching.”
In addition to offering the organizations’ official position on synthetic rhino horn trade, the statement provides information on the burgeoning industry and the impact synthetic horn will have on rhino protection efforts.
Read the full joint statement on synthetic rhino horn from IRF and Save the Rhino.
The International Rhino Foundation is dedicated to the survival of the world’s rhino species through conservation and research. At the heart of IRF’s vision is the belief that these magnificent species should endure for future generations, and that protecting rhinos ensures the survival of many other species that share their habitat, including people.