The media was urged to devote more coverage to the major threat facing the world’s population of rhinoceros, which has declined by 90 percent over the last 40 years due to surges in poaching for rhino horn.

Participants made the call at an informal discussion on “The media’s role in raising public awareness and improving Vietnam’s image in the rhino horn crisis”, which was held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 27 by the Vietnamese non-governmental organisation CHANGE, the WildAid organisation and the African Wildlife Foundation.
Due to rooted traditional belief that rhino horn can cue a range of diseases including cancer, Vietnam and China are the two largest consumer markets for rhino horn.

The last rhino in Vietnam was killed in April 2010.

In South Africa, research shows that 1004 rhinos were poached in 2013; while the number for this August already reaching 658, a dramatic rise on both accounts compared to the 13 rhinos killed in 2007.

If this trend is not reversed, rhinos will become extinct in approximately 6 years.

Doctor Nguyen Chan Hung, President of Vietnam Cancer Association, cited research results announced by the World Wide Fund for Nature as early as 1983 as saying that rhino horn has no healing power, as it is made of the same material as human’s finger nails or hair.

Several public information campaigns have been launched in the country with the aim of changing public misconception and reducing demand for the horn.

The CHANGE organisation, in coordination with WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and the Centre for Environment Training and Communication, started the Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign in Hanoi on March 3. Many local TV channels, radio stations and newspapers pledged to join the drive.-VNA