Vietnam has no rhino campaign

2011-09-28 18:13

Johannesburg - Vietnam has no rhino-specific campaign to educate its citizens about poaching, the Vietnamese embassy in South Africa said on Wednesday.

"We have been running several [conservation] programmes and campaigns... but we are looking towards a specialised species campaign," diplomat Nguyen Trung Kien told reporters in Johannesburg.

He said the wildlife campaigns were spearheaded by both the Vietnamese government and non-governmental organisations.

Tuan Cong Ha, from the Vietnamese environment affairs department, said a specific campaign was needed to dispel the myth that rhino horn was a cure for cancer.

"I don't believe in that rumour. I want to request medical research institutes to verify if it can be a cure for cancer and make it public."

A Vietnamese delegation met its South African counterparts this week to discuss wildlife protection and law enforcement. It was agreed that sharing information on the illegal trade of rhino horn would be key in fighting poachers.

"We should share more information and intelligence to investigate on this matter... this will be a key point to solve the problem," Tuan Cong Ha said.

"We agree that we can understand each [other] better."

Work together

Both countries would soon finalise and sign a memorandum of understanding, said South Africa's deputy director-general of biodiversity and conservation, Fundisile Mketeni.

The agreement included closer co-operation in awareness, law enforcement, monitoring systems and capacity building and training.

The countries agreed to work together on the issuing of hunting permits.

Mketeni said the department was tightening up its verification process when it came to permit-issuing.

It planned to record more information about hunters and make sure the trophy was still in the hunter's possession after a year.

The department intended involving other consumer states, including China and Thailand, in similar efforts to combine planning, research and monitoring, Mketeni said.

A total of 309 rhino had been poached this year, according to the department of environmental affairs. In 2009, 333 rhino were poached.

Mketeni said 180 people had been arrested since the start of the year in connection with poaching.