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.
Last year, more than 1,000 rhinos were poached in South Africa, and an additional 529 have been killed in the first half of 2017. China and Vietnam are still considered to be the main end markets for rhino horns. Recent undercover investigations report that rhino horn products remain available in China, and that much of the supply enters through the country’s border with Vietnam.
Produced in collaboration with African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), the “Talking Rhino” video series features celebrity voiceovers from three WildAid ambassadors: Chinese musician and The Voice China coach Liu Huan, Vietnamese television MC Phan Anh and South African television presenter Masego “Maps” Maponyane.
The messages have been viewed 2 million times in China alone, and have reached more than 4 million additional social media users globally across AWF and WildAid platforms.
In Vietnam, WildAid, AWF and CHANGE mobilized public support on World Rhino Day through a social media engagement activity. The “Rhino Vegan Challenge” campaign reached over a million people online and received coverage from 15 prominent news outlets in Vietnamese, English and French languages with combined readerships of more than 20 million people.
Additionally, 8 Vietnamese celebrities supported the campaign: television MC Phan Anh, singer Phuong Vy, singer/songwriter Thanh Bui, actor Diem My 9X, journalist Trac Thuy Mieu, director/actor Hong Anh, model Truong Thi May, and model/actor Jack Quan.
Also on World Rhino Day, venerated antiques historian Ma Weidu joined WildAid, AWF and National Geographic Traveler in Beijing to release campaign messages targeting the rhino horn carving market.
Earlier this year, Ma Weidu visited South Africa to witness first-hand the rhino poaching crisis and wildlife conservation efforts. The visit was made possible through support from Investec Rhino Lifeline, Cathay Pacific and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre.
More than 20 Chinese press agencies attended the event, which helped to drive nearly 20 million views of the campaign across social media channels. Ma Weidu also dedicated an episode of his popular online show to the rhino horn issue. The 30-minute program has been streamed 1.7 million times on the Youku video platform.
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, the recent survey in Vietnam by WildAid, AWF and CHANGE 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.
WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages nearly $230 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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