A Biotech startup in San Francisco has managed to 3D-print rhino horns that carry the same genetic fingerprint as actual rhino horns.
The firm wants to flood the Chinese market with these horns in hopes that it will water down the market and in turn curb poaching.
The company that goes by the name of Pembient, uses keratin and DNA from rhinos to produce a dried power which is then 3D printed into synthetic rhino horns.
Pembient say they then want to flood the market with rhino horn products and completely undercut the price that poachers ask for. The fake horns will be used in everything from rhino horn beer to rhino skin cream.
The craze for rhino horn products in China and Vietnam has caused a massive surge in rhino poaching throughout Africa and has reached new heights in recent years. Over 1200 rhinos were killed in South Africa in 2014 and the number is expected to rise for 2015.
If successful, Pembient then want to tackle the problem of ivory and elephant poaching. But all we hope for, is that once the market is flooded with synthetics, the need for ‘the real thing’ doesn’t increase.