The Save the Rhino Campaign Documentary chronicles the work
of Earthtrust campaigners Keith and Suzie Chang Highley as they
traveled to Kenya, Namibia and South Africa to document dwindling
rhinoceros populations and rhino poaching activities, and then
return to Taiwan to film the sale of rhino horn in traditional
herbal medicine shops.
Rhino horn is believed by many Chinese to hold magical powers of healing and strength and is used medicinally for its purported antipyretic, or fever reducing effects. The trade in rhino horn is illegal under CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) regulations, as well as the wildlife laws of many of the countries involved. Yet poaching and smuggling continue because the trade is so lucrative; a kilo of rhino horn sells for up to $60,000 in Taiwan -- far more than its weight in gold. This explains why poaching continues despite the fact that rhino populations in Africa are on the verge of collapse.
The problem is economic. If the demand for rhino horn can be curbed, prices will fall and the money involved will no longer be worth the risk of facing severe penalties for poaching. But demand for the product cannot be curtailed without public education and changing attitudes in consumer nations. To this end, a major Taiwanese sports beverage manufacturer underwrote the cost of Earthtrust's Chinese language educational video about Taiwan's complicity in the rhino issue. This production has been distributed and broadcast throughout Taiwan.
The urgency of the rhino's plight must be exposed on a global level as well. Despite conservation efforts in Africa, rhino populations continue to decline. International trade regulations must be strengthened and enforced, and worldwide support for conservation efforts must increase in order to support this trend.