According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) South Africa, more than 2,000 rhino horns entered the global market last year, a good portion for medicinal use. Endangered rhinos in South Africa are killed every year due to poaching for their body parts and it needs to stop now.

The Vietnamese Ministry of Health; TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network; and WWF Vietnam recently attended a workshop funded by WWF South Africa where concerns were raised regarding the use of rhino horn for medicinal purposes.

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In Vietnam, rhino horn is not only ground up, added to water, then drunk as a status of wealth, but also as a miracle cancer cure. It is used at the same time with chemotherapy because rhino horn is believed to minimize the harmful effects of the other treatments.

The president of the Cancer Association of Vietnam spoke during the workshop to the Ministry of Health and the Traditional Medicine Association putting a great emphasis in the lack of evidence supporting the idea that rhino horn is a cure for cancer. And his message was heard, an agreement was made!

“Meeting participants, including the Traditional medicine association showed unanimous acknowledgement that there is no evidence to support the myth that rhino horn can cure cancer, which is a significant step,” said Dr. Jo Shaw, manager of the Rhino Programme and the Biodiversity Unit at WWF SA.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Health and the Traditional Medicine Association have agreed to say “No” to the use of rhino horn and other endangered species in medical and cancer treatments. Dr. Shaw expressed how encouraging it was to see the way everything was received in Vietnam and is waiting for the agreements to turn into action.

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So, what’s the next step for the project? To think of the best way possible to communicate this important message to the people of Vietnam, who are still using rhino horn for medical purposes.

Click here to learn more about the endangered rhino, why they matter, what the WWF is doing, and how you can help.

Image source: Mikel Hendriks/Flickr 

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