Rhino Horn Consumers, Who are they?

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Demand for rhino horn as a luxury purchase by upper-middle class citizens in Viet Nam, including professional businessmen, celebrities and Government officials, has been identified as the strongest driver of the current rhino poaching crisis. More than 500 rhinos have been killed in South Africa alone within the first half of 2013. A consumer research study, conducted in 2013, surveyed 720 individuals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and discovered that rhino horn users value this item because of its significance from a social point of view.
Fact Sheet - Rhino Horn Consumers, Who are they?
Wildlife: Rhinoceros
Country: Vietnam

SOCIAL DRIVERS

A consumer research study, conducted in 2013, surveyed 720 individuals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and discovered that rhino horn users value this item because of its significance from a social point of view. Buyers and users of rhino horn form a powerful social network consisting of important individuals with whom it is crucial to maintain good relationships. Rhino horns are sometimes bought for the sole purpose of being gifted to others; to family members, business colleagues or people in positions of authority. Those purchasing rhino horn believe that owning rhino horn, as well as being able to purchase it for others, reaffirms their social status and strengthens the bonds among peers within their particular network. People involved in these activities are usually familiar with each other and trusted within their social circle even though they are engaging in an illegal activity.

Rhino horn consumers are currently seen as influential people within Vietnamese society. Educated, successful and powerful individuals are the main market for the horns which come all the way from Africa to satisfy high local demand. Users of rhino horn are generally health conscious and want to maintain or enhance a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their loved ones. While their main reason for purchasing rhino horn is to reaffirm their social status, this is supported by an underlying belief in health benefits.

Users believe rhino horn possesses properties that detoxify the body and can therefore cure anything from a hangover to serious illnesses. Consumers feel that having rhino horn at home ensures the well-being of their families.

@ Sept. 2013 TRAFFIC GMP. All rights reserved.