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SOS Rhino : In the News : Conservationists keep rhinos from becoming jambiyas

Conservationists keep rhinos from becoming jambiyas

  By Cole Estrada

Mar 10, 2007, 14:13

No rhinoceros roams the wilds of Yemen, yet this country and that animal are intimately entwined, in a relationship that has put the rhino at great risk of extinction. The connection between Yemen and the dwindling herds of rhinoceros can be found hanging from the belts of Yemeni men.

Traditionally, the rhino’s horn has been used in Yemen as the preferred material for the handle of the jambiya, the ceremonial dagger worn by Yemeni men. Yemen has been importing rhino horn from eastern Africa since the second century, according to the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, a Greek monograph describing navigation and trade in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Persian Gulf. The use of rhino horn in the crafting of jambiya handles has decimated their herds, triggering decades of work by conservationists to save them.


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