There are no more Javan rhinos.
A large female Javan rhino, estimated to be between 15 and 25 years old, was shot and killed in late April 2010, and had its horn removed by a poacher. Turns out it was the country’s last, as reported by Rachel Nuwer at Take Part, a digital media and advocacy company.
What did the poacher want it for?
Throughout Southeast Asia, animals are vanishing from forests largely due to a renewed demand for their parts in traditional medicine, Nuwer reports. In the rhino’s case, its horn likely ended up in a tonic to cure cancer, treat hangovers or tame fevers, according to Nuwer, who has studied wildlife poaching in Vietnam. But studies have shown that the rhino horn has no medicinal value, and consists mostly of keratin, a major component in human fingernails and hair.
Traditional medicine has its adherents in Western countries, too, but the practitioners don’t seem very concerned about the global effects of the junk they’re selling. I searched in vain for anything on the Australian Traditional Medicine Society website (link to Google) about not using rhino horn, tiger penis, or anything else that would hasten the extinction treadmill.
This is just another reason why people shouldn’t use traditional/Chinese medicine. It doesn’t work, and it’s responsible for wiping out entire species. Let’s get the word out, humans.