Poaching for Jambiya Handles

Back in the 1970s and 80s, horn from rhinos killed in East Africa tended to end up in the Yemen, where it could be made into ornamental handles for daggers (jambiyas), while horn from rhinos poached in southern Africa (as well as from those poached in Asia) made its way to the Far East where it is used in traditional medicine.

The trade to Yemen was fuelled by the oil boom, when income in the Middle East enabled the rise of a new middle class able to afford luxury products. Although jambiyas can have handles made of a range of substances, such as precious metals, buffalo or plastic, and can be decorated with gemstones, those made of rhino horn are regarded as the “Rolex” or ‘Porsche” version.

Whilst this is a traditional use of rhino horn, it is accounting for less and less poaching incidents. Far more rhino horn is being poached to supply the  market for traditional medicine. 

Currently, most rhino horns leaving southern Africa are destined for end-use markets in southeast and east Asia, especially Viet Nam and China; available evidence does not (at this time) implicate Yemen, another traditional end-use market, in this trade.

Milliken et al, 2009
African and Asian Rhinoceroses - Status, Conservation and Trade

What is Save the Rhino doing?

Save the Rhino is one of the few organizations working to protect all five species of rhinos through a range of activities. 

Demand Reduction     

Read about the work we are doing in Consumer        countries to reduce the demand for rhino horn

Conservation activities

Read about all of the conservation activities                  we do to protect rhinos in the field

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SRT trackers monitoring rhinos with binoculars


How you can help

  • Report to the authorities if you suspect someone is selling/buying rhino horn products.  
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