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Tens of millions reached on World Rhino Day 2017

A series of awareness campaigns from WildAid and partners released on World Rhino Day have reached tens of millions of people worldwide, predominately in rhino horn demand countries China and Vietnam.

Early indications show that recent awareness-raising campaigns are making a difference. The number of people in China who think that poaching is a serious or very serious threat to rhinos has risen from 74% in 2012 to almost 94.6% in 2017.

Additionally, WildAid's recent survey in Vietnam shows that our ongoing campaign has helped to reduce the belief that rhino horn has medicinal benefits. Now fewer than 10% of Vietnamese people surveyed believe that rhino horn can cure cancer, down from almost 35% in 2014. At the same time, awareness that rhino horn is made of keratin, the same substance as hair and fingernails, increased from 19% in 2014 to 68% in 2016.

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WildAid and CHANGE launch Ivory Free Campaign in Vietnam

High level representatives from Vietnamese government agencies and foreign consulates joined WildAid and CHANGE in Ho Chi Minh City to support the global effort to save elephants from poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. WildAid ambassadors Pham Huong, Le Hang, and Trac Thuy Mieu also participated in the campaign launch along with partner organizations and others. 

Revered in Vietnam's culture, elephants are protected by the government, and trade in ivory is prohibited. However, for the past few years, large shipments of ivory have been illegally trafficked though Vietnam. The Ivory Free Vietnam campaign aims to highlight the ivory poaching crisis decimating elephant populations in Africa, encourage people not to buy ivory, and help the government further strengthen its enforcement of illegal ivory shipments passing through to other markets.

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Chinese Superstar Angelababy Speaks Out for Pangolins

Pangolins are small mammals sometimes referred to as “scaly anteaters” for their defining physical trait: large, overlapping scales composed of keratin, the same protein that makes up human fingernails as well as rhino horns. When threatened, pangolins curl up into a tight ball, a defensive posture that can protect them from predators — even lions.  

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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