Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — A social media campaign, Rhino Vegan Challenge, was launched on Friday in HCM City on World Rhino Day on September 22 to improve public awareness of rhino protection.
CHANGE, a HCM City-based NGO, which includes programmes on wildlife protection, is cooperating with WildAid, whose mission is to end illegal wildlife trade, and the African Wildlife Foundation, to launch the campaign.
It is estimated that more than 1,000 rhinos are killed for their horns each year, according to a CHANGE press release.
Việt Nam and China are the main markets for rhino horns from South Africa and other African countries. The population of the animals, which are found only in Africa and Asia, has declined by 95 per cent in the last 40 years. Only 25,000 are left, around 70 per cent of them in South Africa.
The US Consulate General on Thursday organised a public event to call for more public attention to the importance of combatting trade of illegal wildlife products, including rhino horns.
The event, “Rhinos – Rights to Growing, Noes to Poaching,” includes a photo exhibition, screening of short films, and two panel discussions with the participation of Vietnamese celebrity singer Hồng Nhung, high school students, and representatives of non-governmental organizations engaged in wildlife protection.
Eight youth rhino ambassadors chosen by the Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA) from international high schools in HCM City, who recently returned from a field trip to South Africa, attended the event.
The event’s guests shared their stories and efforts on rhino protection, and what else needs to be done to change common attitudes in Việt Nam that rhino horns can cure cancer and critical diseases. These myths are believed to have played a significant role in leading the animal to near extinction.
Speaking at the event, US Consul General Mary Tarnowka, said: “The protection of wildlife including rhinos requires the efforts of all people ranging from law enforcement to non-profit organizations and ordinary citizens. We believe that educating and informing young people, like the students who are present here today, can affect positive change and ensure the preservation of magnificent species.”
World Rhino Day was first announced by the World Wildlife Fund-South Africa in 2010 and has grown into an international success in the following years. World Rhino Day has since engaged and united NGOs, zoos, organisations, businesses, and concerned individuals in diverse activities to save the species from extinction. – VNS