Pledge About

Rhinos

Reflecting on World Rhino Day, 2015

Since its founding in 2010, World Rhino Day has been an international cri de coeur for a beloved animal under assault because of consumer demand for its horn. As of August 27, 749 Southern White Rhinos had been poached for their horns this year in South Africa, home to the vast majority of the world’s remaining rhinos. Compare this with the same date a year ago, when a total of 716 had been poached.

As WildAid CEO Peter Knights and WildAid South Africa campaign chief Adam Welz explain in a recent op-ed:   

Behind South Africa’s rhino-poaching epidemic lies a single, simple thing: the extremely high price some people will pay for rhino horn in Asia. The large amounts of cash handed over in shops and back alleys in Vietnam and China in exchange for small bags of rhino-horn powder, tiny trinkets, necklaces and bracelets — and sometimes whole horns — supports a transnational network of crime that excels at evading controls.

The money buys off Asian customs officials, police and airline staff. It pays for the transport costs of middlemen and mules, who risk arrest carrying horn into Asia from Africa. It covers losses when horn is occasionally confiscated en route. It enriches corrupt African politicians and crime bosses who provide weapons, vehicles and operating expenses for crews of poachers, bribes to court officials to make inconvenient evidence disappear and fees for good lawyers and hitmen. It provides an incentive more powerful than the fear of death to the squads of triggermen who regularly enter rhino reserves despite the presence of armed rangers, police and military units.

Richard Branson Visits Vietnam to Save Rhinos

Happy World Rhino Day!

On his first-ever visit to Vietnam, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson recently met with some of the nation’s top business leaders as part of our Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign, which seeks to counter myths of rhino horn’s medicinal benefits as well as to educate the Vietnamese public about the poaching crisis in Africa.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Mr. Branson hosted an intimate dinner organized by several non-governmental organizations including WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society and CHANGE, and in collaboration with Virgin Unite, Nhip Cau Dau Tu magazine and The Reverie Saigon. During the event, business leaders signed a pledge in which they committed to never buy, use or gift rhino horn.

The signed pledge reads as follows: 

We hereby pledge: 

1. To lead by example in developing sustainable and socially responsible business practices.

2. Not to purchase, possess or give as gifts any illegal wildlife products, such as rhino horn.

3. To encourage friends, family and employees never to purchase any illegal wildlife products.

4. To support efforts to conserve Vietnam's rich natural heritage and protect wildlife. 

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Vietnam's Biggest Pop Stars Come Together for Rhinos

Last week, a who’s who of Vietnamese celebrities and Vietnam Idol alumni appeared on VTV for “The Call of the Wild,” a two-hour special to raise awareness about the fate of Africa's rhinos, relentlessly targeted by poachers for their horns.

The special was aimed at Vietnamese youth, who are highly influential in calling on older generations to reject the consumption of rhino horn, considered by many to be luxury item due to beliefs that when ground into a powder and ingested, it can improve health, cure disease and even prevent hangovers.

This special was part of “Stop Using Rhino Horn,” a three-year campaign launched in 2014 by WildAid and African Wildlife Foundation to educate and persuade the people of Vietnam, one of the world's largest markets for rhino horn. Our goals are to raise awareness of the rhino poaching crisis, to support Vietnamese lawmakers in strengthening enforcement efforts and to measurably reduce consumer demand for rhino horn. 

WildAid Vietnam writes of the VTV special:

We believe that music has the power to guide young people to become ambassadors for nature who will protect rhinos as well as other endangered species, and preserve Vietnam’s natural heritage for future generations.

Through this event, the Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign also hopes to contribute to improving the image of Vietnam in the eyes of international communities, by conveying a positive image of young people in Vietnam taking action for nature conservation and contributing to the country’s sustainable development.

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Tanzania: Poaching Threatens Tourism Industry Growth

Poaching in Tanzania is threatening to undermine the East African nation’s growing tourism economy, one otherwise poised to add hundreds of thousands of jobs in the coming years. 

Adelham Meru, Tanzania’s Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, warns that poaching could affect as many as 3.8 million tourism jobs across Africa, including guides, drivers, and hotel and restaurant staff. 

All Africa reports: 

Tanzania, like many African nations, has been hard hit by poaching over the past decade. Last year a survey revealed that the country had lost more than half its elephants, with populations declining from 110,000 in 2009 to fewer than 44,000. Tanzania's iconic giraffes, the country's national symbol, have also suffered, as has much of its other wildlife. 

While poachers are profiting from these beloved species, tourism could suffer. Meru said Tanzania has 700,000 tourism-related jobs and predicts that number could double, but only if "the ongoing rampant killings of wildlife" stops. "If the current situation will remain unattended, these jobs would vanish in air," he said[.]

Leading Voice Against Hong Kong Ivory Trade Visits Africa

Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat, a leading voice for dismantling one of the world's biggest commercial ivory markets, is currently in Africa to engage in field studies and talks with officials in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. This is Quat’s second visit to Africa in less than a year at the invitation of WildAid and partner conservation groups. On this trip, she recently met with Richard Bonham, head of the conservation group Big Life Foundation founded by photographer Nick Brandt, to discuss the elephant and rhino poaching crisis embroiling the continent.

Upon arriving in Kenya, Quat was informed about the latest brazen poaching incident: On the morning of July 28, a patrol team found the bodies of five poached elephants — a mother and four offspring — in Tsavo West National Park. Two suspects have since been arrested.  

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