By Teresa Telecky
Somewhere in Vietnam, an uncle, a father or an aunt is downing a powdery substance of crushed rhino horn to "heal" a medical ailment. But science has proven that rhino horn has no medicinal value — it is made of keratin, the same as human fingernails — and it is not a cure for anything. The only outcome here is that rhinos are being driven to extinction.
So far this year, 688 rhinos in South Africa have been killed for their horns. That figure is making 2013 shape up to be the worst rhino-poaching year ever recorded. Even as I write this, another rhino has undoubtedly been slaughtered. [Mass Rhino Slaughter in South Africa Worries Conservationists\
Humane Society International, in cooperation with the government of Vietnam, has embarked on a three-year public awareness campaign to reduce the demand for rhino horn in that country, one of the major markets for rhino horn and where many people are under the misguided impression that rhino horn can cure. Others value the substance as a high-end gift or status symbol. [Javan Rhino Officially Extinct In Vietnam\
In celebration of World Rhino Day this past weekend, HSI launched the children's education part of our campaign. Vietnamese schoolchildren are learning about endangered rhinos — and they can pass on what they learn to that uncle, father, aunt or other relative who consumes rhino horn. "I'm a Little Rhino," a book written by HSI, teaches children about these wonderful animals, the poaching threat and the need to stifle the demand for rhino horn to save rhinos from extinction. Copies of the book have been given to children across Hanoi, and thousands more are set to be distributed to Vietnamese schoolchildren in the coming weeks. More....