Evidence or delusion: A critique of contemporary rhino horn demand reduction strategies

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Considerable effort has been devoted to reducing rhinoceros (i.e., rhino) horn demand by changing consumer behavior. Implementing organizations often claim that their campaigns are based on reliable insights into rhino horn demand and that there is no scientific support for any medicinal effects of rhino horn. In this opinion piece, we evaluate the scientific evidence supporting this claim and discuss how campaigns using a delusive and paternalistic approach may backfire. As the use of rhino horn in traditional medicine has a thousand-year history, it is unlikely that such deeply entrenched beliefs will be swayed by a one-sided representation of the limited scientific evidence evaluating its efficacy. Difficulties in interviewing rhino horn consumers have further contributed to lacking information about their values and characteristics. We call for more scientific evidence and a more culturally nuanced approach to rhino horn demand reduction campaigns.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Dimensions of Wildlife
Number of pages11
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sep 2020

ID: 247933727