Public awareness about rhino conservation should be strengthened hinh anh 1Illustrative image.

Hanoi (VNA) - World Rhino Day is on September 22, and it was first announced by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in South Africa in 2010. After more than 10 years, the day is observed by many countries, contributing to raising public awareness about rhino conservation.

Statistics from the Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) revealed that efforts to prevent poaching and illegal trade in rhino horn around the world have achieved some positive results in recent years. Accordingly, the number of rhinos poached annually in South Africa has decreased from more than 1,000 individuals in 2017 to nearly 400  last year.

In Vietnam, the amended Penal Code, which has been in effect since 2018, has stipulated stricter punishments for wildlife crimes in general and rhinos in particular. Accordingly, a crime related to rhinos and rhino horn can be punished with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, almost double the seven years of imprisonment of the old Penal Code.

As many as 20 cases related to the illegal trade in rhino horn have been arrested since 2018, of which 14 cases have been brought to trial, ENV said.

The average prison sentence for rhino horn-related offences from 2018 to July this year was 6.15 years, two years higher than the average punishment for wildlife crimes. It has partly met the goal of preventing the illegal import, trafficking, and transportation of rhino horn, according to ENV.

Bui Thi Ha, ENV Deputy Director, said the organisation hopes that relevant authorities across the country continue to strengthen their efforts to combat violations of wildlife in general and rhino horn in particular. In particular, it is necessary to focus resources on investigating and clarifying the illegal rhino horn trafficking and transportation and those involved in the activities.

Strict punishment should be applied for rhino offenders to deter this type of crime, she said.

ENV also suggested the authorities enhance dissemination to raise people's awareness about the serious legal consequences of the illegal trade and consumption of rhino horn.

People are encouraged to contribute to the protection of rhinos by reporting rhino violations to the toll-free wildlife protection hotline 1800-1522 or the nearest local authorities, Ha said./.