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Eating rhino horn sends woman to hospital

A Vietnamese woman ended up in the hospital after consuming rhino horn, reports Used for a rash around her mouth, the rhino horn instead caused a serious allergic reaction, including reddening skin, itching, and fever. Listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), rhino horn is illegal to purchase or sell worldwide.

According VnExpress, Dr. Nguyen Huu Truong at Back Mai Hospital, where the woman was treated, said that rhino horn can easily cause toxicity as well as an allergic reaction. He also stated that there is no medical evidence to back up claims of rhino horn having any medicinal value.

Despite its lack of curative properties, rhino horn is currently being driven by a lucrative black market supplied by organized criminal syndicates. Rhinos are killed, their horns sawed off and then smuggled abroad, usually to Southeast Asia. The price of rhino horn, which has topped both gold and cocaine, has brought an epidemic of poaching across Africa and Asia over the past few years.

In South Africa alone over 170 rhinos have been killed since the beginning of the year, more than one every day.

Currently four of the world’s five rhino species are threatened with extinction, three of these species are considered Critically Endangered. The Javan rhino and the Sumatran rhino are considered among the world’s most imperiled mammals. It is thought the last Javan Rhino surviving in Vietnam (there are still a few dozen on the Indonesian island of Java) was killed by poachers last year. Beyond pushing one of the world’s most iconic animals to extinction, the trade has a human and societal toll: poachers have been killed in the act, and wildlife guards have lost their lives protecting rhinos.

Dr. Nguyen Huu Truong stated that people should seek a medical doctor instead of turning to rhino horn.

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