By Harriet Mann
For the first time in the history of rhino poaching, the channels to influence and educate Asian countries against the use of rhino horn are starting to open.
In Vietnam and China, government initiatives, celebrities and young people are beginning to back campaigns and educational programmes to stop the illegal poaching trade, according to leading South African wildlife vet Dr William Fowlds.
“This is an unprecedented chapter in our efforts to reach the market, we have to take advantage of what is going on there,” he said.
Ahead of World Rhino Day, Dr Fowlds was talking at ‘The Changing Face of the Rhino’ lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, London, which brought himself, celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls and CEO of Born Free Will Travers together to discuss rhino conservation.
Rhino horn is popular in south east Asian cultures as it is deemed to have medicinal qualities that cure a plethora of ailments; from the common hangover to cancer.
It has been a long-running perception that conservationists cannot influence this Asian tradition, yet Fowlds noticed a marked change in attitudes during a recent trip to a Vietnamese university.
Far from the university staff censoring his lecture, they encouraged him to be as shocking as possible and the students surprised him by being open and engaged. More....