Friday, September 16, 2016

Through travel, we can experience and marvel at the rich and diverse cultures, environments and species that share our world. We come to appreciate that this is the only world we have, and everything is interconnected. 
What we do (or don’t do) in one place, can have impacts on the other side of the world, in all sorts of ways. 
It is a sobering thought that the simple act of shopping somewhere, can be causing horrendous slaughters somewhere else.
From this. . . 

To this. . .

September 22 is World Rhino Day 

In Vietnam, the Javan rhino now survives only on a postage stamp. . .

Sadly, Vietnam no longer has any rhinos. The last one was illegally killed for its horn. Only very rich people can afford rhino horn. They may believe the myth of medicinal benefits, or that it gives them social status. Actually, it’s just keratin, like finger nails. 

Vietnam and China are two of the main markets for rhino horn, and this consumer demand means that in Africa the killing of rhinos goes on, with thousands of these magnificent animals being poached towards extinction. 

ENV (Education for Nature-Vietnam) and TRAFFIC (the wildlife trade monitoring group) are successfully conducting a “rhino horn demand reduction campaign” in Vietnam, because when the buying stops the killing can too. 

This campaign features Vietnamese cultural concepts of “C” (“Strength of Will”) and “Vượng từ Chí, Lụi vì sừng” (“Gain prosperity through inner strength – Invite hardship using rhino horn”) to change habits and false perceptions. Success, masculinity and good fortune come from inner strength of character, not externally from rhino horn.

Wealthy business people and high profile local celebrities are being encouraged to genuinely enhance their status by becoming leaders in corporate social responsibility and wildlife protection.  The message has so far reached millions in the Vietnamese community. The good news is that it is now showing measurable success, with rhino horn consumption rates in Vietnam falling.

The behaviour change impact of the campaign was evaluated at the end of 2015 and shows promising results: 15% of the target audience consumed rhino horn in the last 6 months, but 73% last consumed rhino horn over 12 months ago. 18% more rhino horn users (from 46% in 2014, to 68% in December) now recommend their friends not to consume rhino horn. This is positive, although more work still needs to be done.

Unfortunately, the news out of Africa is not so positive.   

Although it is encouraging to see South Africa’s poaching levels fall slightly, poaching losses are still extremely high. 1,175 rhinos were poached in South Africa during 2015, a slight decrease on the previous year when a record 1,215 rhinos were illegally killed.  

Worryingly, the crisis has spread to neighbouring countries in southern Africa, with Namibia and Zimbabwe experiencing an exponential increase in poaching. During 2015, Namibia lost 80 rhinos to poaching, up from 25 in 2014 and just two in 2012. In Zimbabwe, it is reported that at least 50 rhinos were poached last year, more than double the previous year. 

For Africa as a whole, the total number of rhinos poached during 2015 was the highest in two decades. Obviously, much more work needs to be done to raise awareness and compassion, and to enforce the laws against wildlife crime.

Bruce McPhie
September 17, 2016

Learn more:

Bring an End to the Killing of Rhinos
Education for Nature-Vietnam's campaign to bring an end to the killing of rhinos: 

TRAFFIC’s Chi Phase II: “Vượng t Chí, Li vì sng”

Save the Rhino - Poaching statistics

Watch the short video with Hong Nhung (1:17) 

Wildlife Consumer Behaviour Change Toolkit
From practical experience, TRAFFIC knows that this approach is working to change the consumption behaviour of wildlife consumers. To extend their expertise to other species, TRAFFIC has developed the Wildlife Consumer Behaviour Change Toolkit, a knowledge bank where tools/information can be found for behaviour change to reduce consumption of endangered wildlife:

TRAFFIC Wildlife Witness
TRAFFIC has partnered with Taronga Zoo, Singapore to create the first global community action smart phone app in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade. This app allows tourists and locals to easily report wildlife trade by taking a photo, pinning the exact location of an incident and sending these important details to TRAFFIC.  
More information:


If you observe wildlife or products made from wildlife in restaurants, markets, hotels, or elsewhere in Vietnam, let us know immediately. 

Call our toll-free hotline number - 
1800 1522


If you are in Hanoi on 
September 23 and 24
you are welcome to attend the 
World Rhino Day events:

September 23 & 24, 9:00am - 5:00pm:
Contemporary art exhibition, “Art & Your Social Status”.
September 23, 7:00pm - 9:00pm:
Award-winning rhino movies. Discussion with curator, director and film crew.
3rd Floor, Old Quarter Cultural Exchange Center, 50 Dao Duy Tu. 


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