By Govan Whittles
The Kruger National Park is, for the first time, hosting a delegation of environmental authorities from Vietnam in a bid to raise awareness about rhino poaching and its effects in Southern Africa.
The Vietnamese officials revealed rhino horn continues to gain popularity in their country and the penalties for poaching and smuggling are far less stringent.
The deputy chief of Vietnam’s environmental police said only five people were arrested in Vietnam for smuggling wildlife this year.
If found guilty, the accused can face a jail sentence of between five and seven years.
Vietnam’s National Assembly member said there’s still a big perception amongst his country’s general population that rhino horns have medicinal benefits, adding that dispelling the myth is one of their biggest challenges.
At present 100 grams of rhino horn costs about R50,000 in Vietnam.
This has made the rare commodity a symbol of status amongst the country’s affluent class.
Vietnam’s deputy police chief has also revealed that a person was caught at the Nội Bài International Airport in Hanoi with six horns that weighed approximately 16 kilograms.
He said this was one of the nation’s biggest busts.