HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese demand for rhinoceros horns decreased by 38 per cent within a year after a campaign was launched against the practice.
The Viet Nam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Humane Society International launched the campaign in August 2013 to change the people's belief that rhino horns could treat diseases in Viet Nam.
The decline was one of the key results of a Nielsen survey released at a meeting last Thursday. Under the survey, only 2.6 per cent of the people buy and use rhino horns in Viet Nam today. Before the campaign, the number was 4.2 per cent.
The survey also revealed a 25-per cent decrease in the number of people who believe that rhino horns could be used to treat diseases. Today, only 38 per cent of the people believe that rhino horns have medical value. Before the campaign, the number was 51 per cent.
The campaign, involving the participation of 1,000 people, including women's unions, businessmen, scientists, medical experts and students, was conducted in six major cities of Viet Nam.
Information aimed at persuading people to change their minds about rhino horns was posted on buses and billboards in trade centres and airports.
Teresa Telecky, Humane Society International wildlife director, said the reduction of demand for rhino horns was quite significant and showed that even if the campaign was conducted in such a short time, it succeeded in changing the minds of a signicant number of people and influencing their behavior.
The results offer us a ray of hope for the survival of rhinos, Telecky added.
Do Quang Tung, Viet Nam CITES Management Authority director, said the demand for rhino horns among a small proportion of the Vietnamese population had worsened the image of Viet Nam before the international community and leveraged the poaching of rhinos in African countries.
Viet Nam and China are believed to have a high demand for rhino horns which has contributed to the severe decline in the population of the endangered mammal.
A total of 1,004 rhinos were illegally poached in South Africa last year. The number has been 821 since early this year.— VNS