Improving conservation outcomes: understanding scientific, historical and cultural dimensions of the illicit trade in rhinoceros horn

Zara Jean Bending*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article aims to illuminate the pervasive allure of the rhinoceros to better comprehend the historical and cultural drivers for the illicit global trade in its most coveted part: rhinoceros horn. The market for rhino horn remains dominated by customary and cultural purposes, most notably in traditional medicine. Developing conservation strategies and responding to the criminological implications of the market requires cross-cultural understanding, drawing upon multidisciplinary sources from evolutionary biology, species ecology, cultural anthropology, biomedicine, biomaterial engineering as well as ancient and modern history. Analysis will be carried out in three parts: (1) a synopsis of evolution and ecology; (2) an examination of the cultural significance of the rhinoceros as informed by historical and contemporary sources; and (3) an investigation into the morphology and established uses of rhinoceros horn. This analysis demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary approaches to developing optimal conservation strategies addressing the multifaceted problem of illicit trade in wildlife.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-186
Number of pages38
JournalEnvironment and History
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Keywords

  • history
  • illicit trade
  • rhino horn
  • rhinoceros
  • traditional medicine
  • wildlife conservation

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