General, Research, Technology

You can stop the extermination of rhinos by making their horns artificial

More recently, scientists from the US stateNorth Carolina found that today more than 5,579 species of rare animals are in great demand on the black market. Wanting to earn big money, poachers mercilessly kill them, but environmental organizations and its inhabitants are constantly trying to come up with an effective way to stop the illegal extermination of animals. For example, recently researchers from the UK and China created artificial rhinoceros horns that are difficult to distinguish from real ones. If you put them on sale on the black market and thereby increase the number of defective goods, the demand for horns can be greatly reduced. And this, in turn, will save the lives of many rhinos.

Many rhino species are on the verge of extinction

It’s worth noting right away that rhino horns are notare horns in the traditional sense of the word. While cow horns are made up of bone matter, rhinoceros horns are hair tightly glued together. Adhesives are secretions from the sebaceous glands located on the nose of the animal. Carboxylic acid, also called creatine, gives hardness to horns - this substance is produced in the organisms of almost all vertebrates.

Rhino horns consist of many hair glued together

How to save rhinos from extinction?

To create a copy of the horns, scientists usedhair of the closest relatives of rhinos, horses. The fact is that these animals belong to the same order of artiodactyls, so the hair from the horse's tails perfectly suited to create fake horns. For gluing hair, a substance based on silk was used. After strong compression, the researchers received an artificial horn that is similar to the real one both in appearance and in structure and physical properties.

Artificial horn structure

Researchers say fake horns are greatthey can be cut and polished, so it is extremely difficult to distinguish them from the real ones. However, customers cannot make anything useful out of them. The fact is that in Asian countries rhinoceros horns are used to create aphrodisiacs - substances that enhance a person's sex drive. It is clear that no stimulant can be made from fake horns.

Did you know that rhinos can also be saved from extinction by cloning?

If you put artificial horns on sale onblack market, because of the high risk of running into a fake, people can start to buy them less often. Consequently, poachers may lose interest in rhino hunting, which can save animals from extinction. Only there is a risk that poachers can switch from rhinos to other endangered species of animals. For example, animals such as dingoes can be at risk. There are very few of them left due to crossbreeding with other breeds, and if you also open a hunt for them, they will cease to exist in their pure form.

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Scientists are not going to do it themselvesproduction of fake horns. Instead, they offer to do it for everyone. They shared a description of the technology for creating plausible copies in the scientific journal Scientific Reports. At the same time, they hope that enthusiasts will be able to develop even more sophisticated ways to make horns as similar as possible to real ones.