WWF takes Rhino war to Vietnam consumers

2014-09-22 18:29

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Cape Town – The World Wide Fund for Nature has launched a campaign to change the behaviour of Vietnamese men with the message that that they don’t need rhino horn to bolster their self-esteem, as the world marks Rhino Day.

“The target group is men aged 35-50, wealthy upper middle class businessmen, entrepreneurs, and even senior government officials,” WWF-SA rhino programme manager Dr Jo Shaw told News24.

“The key to the future of our rhinos will ultimately be determined in Asia, not Africa. It is imperative that we work strategically along the illicit supply chain, from rhino to consumer, if we hope to win this war,” she said.

South Africa is home to 75% of the world’s rhino population. According to WWF statistics poaching has soared from only 13 animals in 2007 to 1004 in 2013.

'Chi' campaign

The “Power Comes From Our Will” campaign or “Chi” (i.e. will) campaign for short was launched on Monday to coincide with World Rhino Day.

The campaign aims to inspire behavioural changes in elite urban Vietnamese males and will address perceptions that rhino horns can rid the body of toxins, enhance business relationships, symbolise good fortune, and promotes success, masculinity and luck as measures of internal strength of will and character.

"Targeting behaviour change by users is important. New users and new markets have emerged, resulting in the spike in poaching," WWF chief executive Morne du Plessis told reporters in Cape Town.

"The horn was primarily for medicinal use. Now there is a form of new consumption by affluent businessmen who use it as a social status and for corporate gifts."

Du Plessis said most rhino horns went to Vietnam.

The Asian country is at the centre of the illicit rhino horn trade where it has been used for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicines as a cure for various fevers.

The WWF is collaborating with two other NGO’s on the campaign – the wildlife monitoring network Traffic and PSI, a social marketing group with expertise in behaviour change.

The campaign’s key messages include:

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Read more on:    wwf  |  cape town  |  vietnam  |  poaching  |  conservation

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