Friday the 13th is known as an unlucky date – but  superstitions are also plaguing our animal populations. 

Today’s date is known to be spooky, but the very real prospect of having species disappear before our eyes is even scarier than any horror movie you’ll watch. 

Let’s take a look at some false wildlife superstitions that are impacting species populations all over the world. 

Ground rhino horn has a reputation for being some sort of magical potion with curative properties used in non-traditional medicines.

But the reality? It’s no more powerful than your own fingernails. 

A rhinos horn is made from a type of protein known as keratin – the very same protein that makes up your hair and nails. 

Superstitions in non-traditional medicine suggest it can detoxify your body and cure serious illness. But there is absolutely zero scientific proof to suggest it has ANY medicinal properties in humans. 

The product is still highly sought after in the illegal wildlife trade, with poachers killing live rhinos to remove the horns. 

Countless wild elephants have been brutally attacked for their tusks to be sold on the illegal ivory trade. 
Its long been thought this glorious species is a sign of luck and wealth. This belief sees people using ivory items of jewellery to display their own wealth and class. 

According to WWF, poachers kill around 20,000 elephants every single year just for their tusks. For every ivory trinket or piece of jewellery, an elephant has had to die. 

This endangered feline is in high demand due to medicinal products and aprhodisiacs made using tiger body parts. 

Illegal poachers take and kill tigers from the wild to use their skin, bones, teeth and nails in such products. 

This practice has had a heartbreaking impact on the population, with only around 400 Sumatran Tigers left in the wild. 

Again, there are zero proven medicinal benefits in humans using these products and it’s use is still prolificic thanks to a false superstition. 


Horrified by these facts?

Perth Zoo provides funding and support to a number of international conservation partners to save these incredible species from extinction. 

This includes working with TRAFFIC , the international wildlife trade monitoring network. With other Australian zoos, we’ve helped fund a Wildlife Crime Analyst position to strengthen enforcement and gather intelligence to strategically fight wildlife crime. 

We also fund work which protects wild tiger and elephant populations and their habitat in Sumatra against illegal activity. 

But we need your help! You too can be a courageous champion for wildlife. 
Learn how you can save species.