WWF and TRAFFIC are calling on Viet Nam to increase efforts to address the illegal trade of rhino horn, which is threatening rhino populations in both Africa and Asia. Already the number of rhinos poached for the year stood at 381 in August in South Africa to meet demand in Asian consumer markets, particularly Viet Nam.
“Viet Nam used to be a range country of rhinos. The extinction of the presumably last Javan rhino in Cat Tien National Park in 2010 was a big lesson for protecting endangered wildlife,” said Dr. Nguyen Ba Ngai, Deputy Director General of Viet Nam’s Administration of Forestry, Agriculture and Rural Development.
“The demand for rhino horn is the main reason for the fact that rhinos are being poached all days and nights and illegally cross-border traded with the involvement of international crime organizations. To join hands with global efforts Viet Nam has been closely working with related agencies to strengthen the law enforcement and enhance awareness of the whole society to combat against illegal trade in wildlife,” he said.
WWF-Viet Nam and officials of Viet Nam’s CITES management authority are bringing together government representatives from Viet Nam, South Africa and the United States, as well as traditional medicine experts, to examine global efforts to conserve rhinos.
“Rhino horns don’t belong on a wall or in a misguided pharmacy. They belong on a healthy rhino living in its natural habitat,” said Laura Stone, Economic Counsellor at the United States embassy in Hanoi. “World Rhino Day is a great opportunity to dispel the myths related to rhino horn.”
WWF urges Viet Nam and South Africa to formalize their joint commitment to stopping rhino horn trade by signing a memorandum of understanding at the highest political level,” said Elisabeth McLellan, Species Programme Manager for WWF. “Words are not enough to end the killing of rhinos and trafficking of their horns. Both countries need to do more by putting promises into action.”