The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
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 HCMC were forever altered by their experiences during a six-day hiking trail and educational workshop in the South African wilderness. Since returning home, these Wild Rhino Youth Ambassadors – passionately motivated by their new-found knowledge of and respect for nature and wildlife – have run various awareness campaigns to educate the people of Vietnam on the rhino poaching crisis. This week sees the launch of a poster campaign, presenting a personal appeal from each ambassador.
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 horn passing through Vietnam either for local use or for export to other countries, such as China.
In response to this, Wilderness Foundation Africa – in partnership with SOUL Music & Performing Arts Academy, Peace Parks Foundation and Olsen Animal Trust – implements the Wild Rhino demand reduction campaign that aims to educate and engage Vietnamese youth on the issue of rhino poaching through three separate yet cohesive components: the Wild Rhino Competition, the Youth Ambassador Awareness and Education Campaign, and the Rhino Ranger Super Hero Campaign
The overarching goal of these components is to incite passion for conservation, whilst motivating these young people not to use rhino horn. In addition, they are encouraged to assist in saving the rhino by becoming vocal ambassadors for the cause in their communities – and the poster campaign assists them in doing just that. As the faces and voices of this visual awareness campaign that is distributed throughout their schools and on various social media channels, the ambassadors are given a platform through which to share their message with their peers, family, friends and a broader Vietnamese audience. “Because when the youth speaks, the adults will listen” – Thanh Bui, Wild Rhino Ambassador and CEO of SOUL Corporation.
Since the launch of the first Wild Rhino Competition in 11 participating schools in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014, the campaign has reached about 25 000 Vietnamese youth directly, and nearly 1 million youth indirectly through campaign and youth ambassador social media activities.
For more information, go to www.wildrhino.org
Look out for the Wild Rhino Youth Ambassador posters at the following participating schools in Ho Chi Minh City and on the Wild Rhino social media channels (FB: @wildrhinovietnam; Instagram: wildrhino.vietnambemyhero; #vietnambemyhero) .