Hanoi – Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), WildAid, and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) have released a striking new public service announcement (PSA) illustrating the horrific consequences of the increasing demand for illegal rhino horn in countries including Vietnam. The PSA, “The Sickening Truth,” carries a warning since it contains explicit video of a rhino that was left for dead after her horn and a large portion of her face were brutally hacked off.
“On average, a rhino is being killed every nine and a half hours in South Africa, simply to feed the misguided demand from countries like Vietnam,” said Nguyen Phuong Dung, ENV’s Vice Director. “With the support of TV stations across the country, this PSA will impart an unforgettable message to the Vietnamese public discouraging the use of rhino horn.”
The rhino featured in the video was discovered in March 2013 by Ranger Richard Sowry at Kruger National Park and was humanely euthanized. The message is cut with footage shot in Vietnam of grinding rhino horn for a liquid mixture.
“More than 100 rhinos have been poached in the last month just in South Africa, roughly 800 so far this year,” said Peter Knights, WildAid Executive Director. “This message confronts rhino horn consumers directly with the horrific consequences of their purchasing power.”
Along with China, Vietnam is considered one of the world’s largest markets for rhino horn due to a false belief in its medicinal properties and value as a status symbol. Burgeoning wealth and increasing disposable income have boosted local demand for rhino horn, with recent studies showing that consumers feel disconnected from the cruel and merciless actions of poachers.
“Poachers are being arrested right and left in Africa, but the insatiable demand for rhino horn and the lucrative trade it fuels means there are plenty of others ready and willing to take their place,” said Patrick J. Bergin, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation. “As long as there is demand, the killing—of rhinos and rangers—will continue. This campaign will hopefully convince consumers in Vietnam to stop buying rhino horn.”
* Viewer discretion is advised as this film contains disturbing images of a severely injured rhino.