Fake rhino horns developed to flood illegal market

Professor Fritz Vollrath from Oxford University says his team has found a way of copying rhino horn, to flood the market with fake rhino horns and hopefully reduce poaching. 

JOHANNESBURG - Scientists in London and Shanghai hope their fake rhino horns will flood the market, decreasing the demand for real rhino horns. 

The copycat horns have been created using horsehair mixed with protein and cellulose.

"If you look at it, it really does resemble the fine structure of the rhino horn and the course structure as well," said Oxford University's Professor Fritz Vollrath.

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The rhino population is critically endangered, as poachers kill the animals for their horns which are sold to Asian markets. 

Once ground into a powder, the horn is believed to have medicinal powers. 

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"We think that ... we can make something that looks like a rhino horn very cheaply - anybody can make it. We are offering the recipe to make it. What we hope in addition to giving out the recipes, is starting a press campaign in China to say there's nothing magical about rhino horn - it's just a tuft of hair. 

"Why would people pay a lot of money for a rhino horn, when they aren't sure if it's real or fake." 


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