|Ambassador Ted Osius of the United States rides a bicycle yesterday in Ha Noi as part of a campaign calling on people to protect the rhino. Demand for rhino horns has decreased sharply a year after the campaign was launched, officials say. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Son
HA NOI (VNS) — Rhino horn demand has decreased by 77 per cent in Ha Noi and 38 per cent across Viet Nam, more than a year after a campaign was launched to eliminate its use.
The numbers show the country's determination to tackle the long-existing problem, said Nguyen Ba Ngai, deputy head of the Viet Nam Forestry Administration under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Develoment.
The Humane Society International (HSI) and the Viet Nam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora started the campaign in 2013.
Viet Nam needed to spread the message that South African authorities have injected poisonous chemicals into rhinos' horns to prevent them from being illegally killed there, said Teresa M. Telecky, director of HSI's wildlife department.
The rhinos' horns don't have blood vessels, so the poison doesn't harm them. Regardless, most poachers didn't care about the poison and continued killing. So poisonous rhino horn could have invaded the Vietnamese market, she said.
According to the Viet Nam Customs Department of Anti-smuggling Investigation, most rhino horn is transported by plane from South Africa. In the first 6 months of the year, the department seized four illegal rhino-horn traffickers.
Since 2008, Viet Nam has uncovered 23 cases of rhino horn trafficking. Viet Nam is the world's biggest rhino horn consumer, according to HSI. — VNS