The American Center in Ho Chi Minh City has organized an event for high school students to meet with several ‘youth rhino ambassadors’ to increase public awareness of the importance of combating the ongoing trade in illegal wildlife products, including rhino horn.
The event, called “Rhinos – Rights to Growing, No to Poaching,” attracted some 100 students keen to ask questions and share their ideas on raising awareness about wildlife protection and combating the illegal rhino horn trade.
Eight of the 11 youth rhino ambassadors, who are also high school students, shared their stories of how they were inspired to become rhino ambassadors, following a field trip to South Africa.
“I love art. Art helps me to explore my limits and learn about myself. I think art will help me to make the world a better place. When I found out that rhinos were endangered, I wanted to make a movie to call for rhino protection and stop their slaughter for their horns,” said Phan Le Ha Long.
The sadness he felt when the last rhino in Vietnam was killed in 2010 inspired Nguyen Ha Chi to study rhinos as a way of redeeming the mistakes people made in Vietnam.
|Two ‘rhino youth ambassadors’ (right) share their stories at the event. Photo: Hong Van/Tuoi Tre News|
Nguyen Viet Duc said: “When I first learned about the global rhino horn trade and the crimes being committed by poachers and traffickers, I thought there was nothing I could do about it because there are people out there who have the money to hire anybody to do anything for them.
“But after I did further research, I realized that there are many organizations and individuals in this world fighting for the survival of rhinos and I told myself that I should think positive and join them.
“Action is better than silence. The last rhino in Vietnam was killed, but the world's remaining rhinos still deserve to live.
“One day, I will have children. Maybe in the future, my children will ask me: Where were you when the last rhino in the world was killed?”
Each day, more than 3 rhinos are killed for their ivory horns
CHANGE, an organization responsible for multiple activities aimed at raising awareness about rhino protection in Vietnam, wants to debunk the myth about the medicinal value of rhino horns.
Rhino horn has no medicinal value. It is composed of keratin, the same substance that human fingernails and hair are made up of. The myth that rhino horns can cure diseases drive poaching and the illegal trade in wildlife.
One rhino horn can be sold for US$300,000 and each day, more than three rhinos are killed for this reason.
U.S. Consul General Mary Tarnowka remarked: “South Africa, home to 80 percent of the rhinos left on earth, reported 530 rhinos killed in the first six months of this year. Vietnam remains both a consumer destination and a transit point for rhino horns.”
|“Environmental and wildlife protection is every easy to practice. It only needs you to have a loving heart and want to share that love with all living creatures on earth."|
|Matthew Parvin - qualified Safari Guide in South Africa|