The current poaching onslaught against the world’s rhino has left a swathe of death of over 7250 of these magnificent animals during the last decade. In this time period, incredible efforts have been undertaken to try and protect the rhino from this illegal wildlife trade and positive results have begun to bear fruit with a reduction in the number of rhino being poached and demand reduction strategies starting to have a positive influence.
It therefore comes as a terrible shock to hear that China has reversed a 25-year ban on the use of rhinoceros horns and tiger bones in traditional Chinese medicine. This is even more appalling given that many leaders of traditional Chinese medicine have discouraged the use of the rhino horn and tiger bones.
China is claiming that the medicinal use of horn and bone would be strictly monitored and only doctors certified by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine would be allowed to administer the medicines that would be sourced from captive populations. The current number of animals in captivity is not likely to meet the demand in China and this will therefore lead to increased poaching and a thriving underground trade.