HA NOI (VNS)— A series of activities were held yesterday in Ha Noi to mark World Rhino Day, which falls on September 22.
Five members of a Vietnamese delegation shared, at a meeting yesterday in Ha Noi, their observations of the impacts the illegal rhino horn trade is having on the species in South Africa, following a 10-day trip to the country's Kruger National Park.
Attempts are underway to reduce the consumption of rhino horn in Viet Nam, where many local people wrongly believe it to hold medicinal qualities. The visit of the delegation, which included a politician, a police officer and a comedian, was made to raise awareness of the long-standing issue.
"At Kruger National Park, we saw a terrible scene – a rhino that had been shot dead for its horn only one week earlier," said Vo Tuan Nhan – one of the delegates and Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Science, Technology and Environment.
"Our South African friends told us that 635 rhinos had been killed there since January, and nearly two-thirds of these were killed inside Kruger."
Andrew Paterson, director of the Rhinose Foundation said that the fact-finding mission gave the delegates a glimpse into the severity of the problem in South Africa.
"For the rhinos to be saved, the demand from countries like Viet Nam must end. We hope their experiences will make a difference here," he said. The ten-day trip was sponsored by Education for Nature Viet Nam (ENV) and South African non-profit the Rhinose Foundation.
At the meeting, comedian Nguyen Xuan Bac was officially announced as the ENV's Rhino Ambassador
On the same day, 5,000 copies of a rhino book especially designed for children by Humane Society International and the Viet Nam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Management Authority were distributed to 500 children at two primary schools in Ha Noi.
Do Quang Tung, Director of CITES organisation said, "When we educate children, we also educate their parents and other family members. When we reach hundreds of children, we reach thousands of adults."
The children's rhino events were organised as part of a co-operative partnership between the Viet Nam CITES authority and Humane Society International (HSI), which runs until 2015. — VNS