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VietNamNews

Rhino horn won't help

Update: May, 31/2014 - 12:00

People here in Viet Nam and also in China are buying medicines made from rhino horn.

They think it can help them against diseases such as cancer.

Scientists have found that this is not so and that rhino horn cannot help them at all.

In fact, all that will happen is that the few rhino left in Africa will die out if they carry on being hunted illegally for traditional medicine.

An official checks rhino horns seized in a smuggling case. Traditional medicine practitioners can help save rhinos by emphasising that rhino horn cannot cure cancer while offering alternative remedies.
An official checks rhino horns seized in a smuggling case. Traditional medicine practitioners can help save rhinos by emphasising that rhino horn cannot cure cancer while offering alternative remedies. -  Photo dantri.com.vn

HCM CITY (VNS) — Traditional medicine practitioners can help save rhinos by emphasising that rhino horn cannot cure cancer and offering alternative remedies, including various herbs, experts said yesterday at a workshop held in HCM City.

"In recent consumer research commissioned as part of the WWF/TRAFFIC Global Campaign on Illegal Wildlife Trade, it highlighted belief in the medical properties of rhino horn as one of the underlying motivations for buying and using this illegal product," said Dr. Naomi Doak, co-ordinator of TRAFFIC's Greater Mekong Programme, who spoke at the workshop.

A devastating total of 1004 rhinos were killed in 2013 and as of mid-April, 277 had been killed in South Africa, according to South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs.

Consumption in Asian countries, including Viet Nam and China, has been identified as one of the main reasons for the escalating poaching numbers and the current crisis facing these animals.

At the workshop, participants received information on a number of topics, including the reality of illegal trade, the current rhino poaching crisis, the historical use of rhino horn in traditional medicine, effective alternatives and Vietnamese laws covering rhino horn.

Professor Dr. Hoang Bao Chau, former director of the National Institute of Traditional Medicine, and Professor Dr. Nguyen Chan Hung, president of the Cancer Association of Viet Nam, emphasised that rhino horn could not cure cancer.

Associate Professor Dr. Tran Luu Van Hien, former head of the Traditional Medicine Experimental Laboratory at the National Hospital of Traditional Medicine, presented alternative remedies, including various herbs.

The workshop's more than 100 participants agreed to engage in more activities to aid the conservation of rhinos and endangered species.

The workshop provided a forum for discussion so practitioners and experts can agree upon a commitment to eliminate the use of products originating from rhino horn.

All commitments and actions to say no to rhino horn from traditional medicine practitioners play a role in the efforts to protect rhinos, speakers said.

The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Health's Traditional Medicine Administration, TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring network) and World Wide Fund for Nature - Viet Nam (WWF). — VNS

GLOSSARY

Traditional medicine practitioners can help save rhinos by emphasising that rhino horn cannot cure cancer and offering alternative remedies, including various herbs, experts said yesterday at a workshop held in HCM City.

To emphasise something means to give it special importance.

Alternative remedies are different and unusual treatments.

"In recent consumer research commissioned as part of the WWF/TRAFFIC Global Campaign on Illegal Wildlife Trade, it highlighted belief in the medical properties of rhino horn as one of the underlying motivations for buying and using this illegal product," said Dr. Naomi Doak, co-ordinator of TRAFFIC's Greater Mekong Programme, who spoke at the workshop.

Consumers are people who use and buy things. Research, in this case, means studying about the way consumers use and buy things.

To commission someone to do research means to give them the job of doing it.

Underlying motivations, in this case, means the deep-down reasons people buy and use rhino horn.

Consumption in Asian countries, including Viet Nam and China, has been identified as one of the main reasons for the escalating poaching numbers and the current crisis facing these animals.

Consumption of rhino horn means the use of it.

Escalating poaching means increased poaching.

The workshop's more than 100 participants agreed to engage in more activities to aid the conservation of rhinos and endangered species.

An endangered species can be a plant or animal that no longer exists in great numbers. In fact their numbers are so small they could soon be in danger of dying out.

The workshop provided a forum for discussion so practitioners and experts can agree upon a commitment to eliminate the use of products originating from rhino horn.

A forum is a meeting where people discuss ideas and opinions.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

1.      Around a quarter of the number of rhino poached in South Africa last year has already been poached this year.

2.      Herbs are among the alternative medicines being offered to medicines made from rhino horn.

3.      Professor Dr. Hoang Bao Chau is president of the Cancer Association of Viet Nam.

4.      TRAFFIC stands for the wildlife trade monitoring network.

5.       Dr. Naomi Doak is the co-ordinator of TRAFFIC's Greater Mekong Programme.

 

ANSWERS:

© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2014

























 1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. True; 5. True.

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