By Tuan Ha
A campaign to save rhinos in Africa from Asian consumers was launched on Monday in Hanoi, Vietnam. More than 580 rhinos have died at the hands of poachers in South Africa this year, the country with the world’s largest rhino population. That’s more than two rhinos killed every day. Many of the horns end up in Asia, including Vietnam.
At an event in Hanoi, the Vietnam Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species Management Authority that implements CITES and Humane Society International announced a long-term public awareness campaign aimed at reducing demand for rhino horn in Vietnam.
Myths about the curative properties of rhino horn include that it is a cure for cancer or a fever reducer, and some people take it as an antidote to the ill effects of drinking too much alcohol.
Others value the substance as a high-end gift or status symbol. However, studies have shown that rhino horn has no medicinal properties and is only composed of keratin. Furthermore, in attempts to thwart poaching, some rhino horn is being treated with chemicals harmful to human health.
The campaign will work with key stakeholders such as women’s groups, business leaders, students and traditional and Western medical practitioners to develop and implement demand reduction strategies within their communities.
“International cooperation is a crucial requirement in addressing issues of international and regional importance, including the conservation of wildlife, particularly for highly endangered species such as rhinos, elephants, bears and tigers,” said Ha Cong Tuan, Vietnam's Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and Chairman of the National Steering Committee for the Vietnam Wildlife Enforcement Network. More....