Rhinoceroses are large, herbivorous mammals identified by their characteristic horned snouts. The word "rhinoceros" comes from the Greek "rhino" (nose) and "ceros" (horn). There are five species and 11 subspecies of rhino; some have two horns, while others have one.
Because the animals' horns are used in folk medicine for their supposed healing properties, rhinos have been hunted nearly to extinction. Their horns are sometimes sold as trophies or decorations, but more often they are ground up and used in traditional Chinese medicine. The powder is often added to food or brewed in a tea in the belief that the horns are a powerful aphrodisiac, a hangover cure and treatment for fever, rheumatism, gout and other disorders, according to the International Rhino Foundation.
Rhino horns are made of keratin, which is also the key component of human hair and fingernails. But the horns are not just dense clumps of hair. CT scans have shown dense mineral deposits of calcium and melanin in the core of the horn. The calcium makes the horn stronger, and the melanin protects it from the sun's UV rays, according to scientists at Ohio University.
The horns are similar to horse hooves, turtle beaks and cockatoo bills, said Tobin Hieronymus, an OU doctoral student. Rhino horns tend to curve backward, toward the head, because the keratin in front grows faster than the keratin in the back, Hieronymus told Live Science. The outside of the horn is rather soft and can be worn down or sharpened after years of use, according to the San Diego Zoo. If a horn breaks off, it can gradually grow back.
How to stop rhino from extinction
Legalize international trade of the rhino horn
The theory is supported by the idea of farming rhinos and eventually harvest their horns.
Safe rhino dehorning
It’s been said that if done under controlled conditions, the rhino’s horn could be safely removed without harming the animal. The only problem here is that it has a negative effect on the animal’s behaviour and on the male rhino’s ability to mate.
Education around the world is another way to help dealers and poachers realize the futility in actually killing of the rhino for its horn. Then there is a need to make them realize that there is no real medicinal value that can be attached to the horn of the rhino.
Increased funding and donations
Donations from the public will help to conserve the rhino for future generations as stricter measure can be taken to help safeguard them.Even more exciting, is the introduction of a treatment known as Rhinoprotect where the rhino horn is made valueless to poachers as it gets injected with color dye and poison whereby X-ray scanners will be able to detect the horn. More information on this process will be revealed later on.
Selling off horns from rhino who died of natural causes, or in cases where the horns broke off.
Apparently there are over 25 tons of rhino horn available in South Africa. This process needs to be legalized to get it into motion.
Bans on rhino horn sale
Bans being placed on using rhino horn within Asian countries like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan is certainly contributing as there not such a high demand for horns like it used to be. Except for places like China, Thailand and Vietnam where the demand is still rising.
Rhino horn poisoning
Positive action needs to be taken to preserve our rhino for our grandchildren and their children. Rhino Protect is a project that was initiated by Damian Vergnaud, who is the owner of Inverdoorn Game Reserve & Safari Lodge. After much discussion and consideration it was decided that it is best to poison the rhino horn, making it unpalatable for human consumption, which is the main reason for poaching taking place.
The good thing about injecting color dye into the rhino horn, is that the 40 minute procedure poses no real threat to the health of the animals involved. As this procedure makes the actual horn worthless, it is a better way to ensure the survival of our rhino.
credits to http://www.livescience.com/27439-rhinos.html