Rhino Ranger to the rescue!

22 September 2016

New superhero taps into Vietnamese culture to reduce rhino horn demand

September 22nd marks World Rhino Day, and Wilderness Foundation Africa in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation and SOUL Music and Performing Arts Academy launches its superhero Rhino Ranger to cut consumption of rhino horn in Vietnam, the world’s largest recipient of illegal rhino horn from South Africa.
Working with school going Vietnamese youngsters, Wilderness Foundation Africa is collaborating with a generation that will grow up, and be in a position to influence not only their peers but also their parents and family.
“It’s hard to change beliefs that are engrained in Vietnamese culture both old and new overnight, but by tapping into youth culture, we believe we can build awareness and reduce demand which will ultimately prevent rhino from being wiped out .” says Matthew Norval, Chief Operations Officer of Wilderness Foundation Africa.
The superhero character, Rhino Ranger, has been revealed through a series of posts on social media over a number of days, with the comic book itself due to be launched on November 1st in International schools across Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

The launches will comprise of a number of activities including having a life-size Rhino Ranger mascot handing out materials that support the campaign message. These include paper masks for the younger children and the comic books themselves. “This is all in the run-up to the launch of the next Wild Rhino competition, which forms the basis of the demand reduction campaign, where winners come to South Africa to learn about the rhino’s plight and to then spread the message on their return to Vietnam.” says Norval.
One of the Vietnamese Wild Rhino ambassadors with a rhino orphan
One of the Vietnamese Wild Rhino ambassadors with a rhino orphan
“We are proud to be working in Vietnam,” adds Brad Poole, Programme Manager at Peace Parks Foundation. “We now have 22 Vietnamese Wild Rhino youth ambassadors from 11 International schools in Ho Chi Minh City who have experienced rhino in the wild in South Africa and are an important component of the campaign”.

The rationale

The Vietnamese Wild Rhino youth ambassadors during their visit to South Africa
The Vietnamese Wild Rhino youth ambassadors during their visit to South Africa
The campaign is based on the understanding that the threats to wildlife are a universal problem and that the people of Vietnam and South Africa can work together to secure a shared natural heritage.

If the youth of Vietnam adopt the cause against the use of rhino horn, we have the ability to build authentic, credible ambassadors that the Vietnamese people will be influenced by and it allows them to feel like an integral part of the solution.
“By using a team of ambassadors from the Wilderness Foundation Africa’s Wild Rhino campaign within print advertising, posters, online and word of mouth, we can spread the message to prevent the purchase and sale of rhino horn”, says Andrew MacKenzie, MD of Boomtown.

Rhino Ranger, the second element of the campaign uses a comic book format as the platform to tell the story. In keeping with this theme there is always a hero who is central to the storyline who challenges evil and fights off crime.

Rhino Ranger and the Wild Rhino Initiative forms part of a broader five-year rolling implementation strategy aimed at curbing the demand for rhino horn in primary user countries such as Vietnam.

Issued by Wilderness Foundation Africa

World Rhino Day

World Rhino Day is on September 22 and celebrates all five species of rhino: black, white, Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhino.

19 March 2018Vietnamese youth appeal to their peers to stop using rhino horn

Vietnamese youth from Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are appealing to their friends, family and peers to stop using rhino horn. In July 2017, the lives of 11 students from various international schools in H

 read more

29 January 2018A new integrated anti-poaching approach for Ezemvelo rhino reserves

On 24 January 2018, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife officially opened a new central anti-poaching command and control, or so-called ‘nerve centre’, in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi (HiP) Park. The nerve centre forms th

 read more

27 November 2017Protecting the 'birthplace of rhino'

The birthplace of rhino” – this is the name often given to Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park (HiP) in KwaZulu-Natal where the southern white rhino was saved from the brink of extinction half a century ago.

 read more

27 July 2017'We can make a difference,' says Vietnamese Youth

The continued senseless killing of African rhino for their horn, is driven by the demand for horn in primary consumer countries in Asia, such as Vietnam and China. More than 90% of horn goes to or thr

 read more

6 July 2017Lions poisoned for bone trade

[Maputo, 5 July 2017] On 3 July 2017 the tracks of three poachers were detected in the Intensive Protection Zone of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. These were followed and it became clear that the

 read more

28 June 2017Dynamic alliance established to bolster rhino anti-poaching efforts

On the western boundary of Kruger National Park (KNP), private and community-owned game reserves - represented as the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) - have joined forces wi

 read more

12 May 2017More than 10 000 Vietnamese businesspeople reached

Quang Ninh, Viet Nam, May 2017—Since June 2015, more than 10 000 businesspeople across 45 Vietnamese cities and provinces have gained the tools and methods to adopt corporate social responsibility (

 read more

11 April 2017In order to stop the killing, we have to stop the demand.

The demand for rhino horn in Asian countries remains one of the main driving forces behind the escalation in poaching of rhinos in Southern Africa, with more than 80% of illegally trafficked rhino hor

 read more

16 March 2017No more ‘hiding in the dark’ for poachers entering Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park, South Africa – A group of three poachers move silently through the bushveld, hidden from the naked eye by the darkness of night. Armed with a rifle and carrying a grim collecti

 read more

19 January 2017 Cooking up a storm to encourage legal and sustainable foods for the Lunar New Year holidays, instead of threatened wildlife

Hanoi, Viet Nam — TRAFFIC and the Centre for Women and Development (CWD) held a cooking competition in Hanoi in January where nearly 100 people showed their commitment to wildlife protection.

 read more