Sponsored Project

Horn Maker

Juliette D. Marquis
Juliette D. Marquis, James Keach, Elisa Bonora

Rhinos are being poached for their horns to the brink of extinction. One of the most expensive materials on the planet, each horn is worth up to $350,000 on the black market - more expensive than gold and cocaine combined. Current conservation methods are not reversing the trend fast enough — after more than a decade with hundreds of NGOs spending tens of millions of dollars each year, rhino poaching rates remain appallingly high. More than three rhinos still die each day - and estimates give them a decade until complete extinction.

Horn Maker follows an innovative tech entrepreneur as he travels around the world sharing a novel approach on fighting the losing battle to save a species. Matthew Markus uses the latest tools in DNA sequencing and bioengineering to grow rhinoceros horn in a lab. His big idea: flooding the market with bioidentical horn blocks, the material being indistinguishable from its wild counterpart, and meet the insatiable global demand, therefore, collapsing its price on the black market, in the process taking rhinos out of the equation. This approach moves away from the traditional NGO donor-based model to a self-sustaining, market-based solution. Horn Maker expands the discussion around this crucial debate by traveling to Africa, China and Vietnam, navigating through the complicated waters of international policy, diplomacy, and criminal syndicate organizations. This is a story of fighting for nature, challenging deep-seated beliefs and the possibilities of what pioneering technology can do for our planet. The race against time is doubled down — to save the rhino and demonstrate that other species can be saved too, Matthew must convince conservation to try his proposed solution before it is too late.

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