Is Faux Rhino Horn a Solution?

Each day at least three rhino die for two reasons: the belief that horn cures medical ailments, and as a status symbol in Vietnamese high society. But, attention rhino horn users: the vast majority of the horn you purchase is fake, according to an Oxpeckers report.

Karl Ammann from Natural History Magazine stated “probably up to 90 percent of end consumers (of rhino horn) unknowingly purchase products made of water buffalo or other bovine horn.”

rhinos unknown

The myth of rhino horn having medicinal value has survived for centuries.


Now a Seattle-based company, Pembient,  is adding to the market of “faux horn”. They are using biotechnology to fabricate rhino horn at prices below the level of poached horns. Their goal is to use this substitution to meet the demand. According to the company, you can’t physically tell the difference.

According to  one of Pembient’s founders, many wildlife traders would be happy to use a genetically engineered substitute.“We surveyed users of rhino horn and found that 45 percent of them would accept using rhino horn made from a lab,” he says. “In comparison, only 15 percent said they would use water buffalo horn, the official substitute for rhino horn.”

With fake horn saturating the market, does it help satiate the demand? Or does it simply perpetuate the myth that it is readily available AND useful? What do you think?


Categories: Rhino Ramblings | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Is Faux Rhino Horn a Solution?

  1. Marianne Victor

    I don’t see how it could help..are they going to sell it to the poucher,open a shop,how is it going to work?

  2. Julie

    Not sure, if you flood the market so no need to buy from poachers it still feeds the belief that it is useful. Perhaps a two pronged attack would work. Faux horn and join the Global March for Elephants and Rhinos on 3 March.

  3. ravenskeeper

    Reblogged this on

  4. ravenskeeper

    It will probably reduce demand for genuine horn to the cash poor; and will most likely be sold as the genuine article by some for higher profit – (it’s always about money). However I am of the opinion there will always be those who have the cash who will want the genuine article for status reasons. Anything that helps stop this vile trade is worth a punt,but even those producing the faux horn are not doing it for moral reasons but see it as an opening for a commercial market and profit.

    Humans need to change their mindset before this world becomes a kinder place for non human animals!

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