The number of people who buy rhino horn in Vietnam has decreased 77 percent while there has been a 60 percent plummet in the number of people who think rhino horn has medical value, newswire Vietnamplus reported Wednesday.
The figures were released yesterday during a working session in Pretoria between a Vietnamese delegation, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, and relevant agencies to review their partnership in the conservation field.
The Vietnamese government is willing to enhance cooperation with South Africa and other countries in biodiversity conservation, both bilaterally and multilaterally, Vietnamese Ambassador to the African nation Le Huy Hoang said.
Vietnamplus cited statistics released at the session as showing that rhino horn buyers in Vietnam has declined 77 percent while there has been a 60 percent decrease in the number of people who think rhino horn has medicinal properties, one year after the “Stop Using Rhino Horn” communication campaign kicked off.
The campaign was jointly run by WildAid, the African Wildlife Foundation, and Vietnamese non-governmental organization CHANGE, and was launched in Hanoi in March 2014. It will be run until 2016.
Do Quang Tung, director of the Vietnam Management Authority for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), highlighted Vietnam’s efforts and determination in coordinating with other countries to prevent illegal wildlife trade by promulgating new regulations and launching campaigns to raise public awareness.
Skumsa Mancotywa, acting director with the South African department’s Biodiversity and Preservation Branch, spoke highly of the effectiveness of the two countries’ multifaceted cooperation, including biodiversity conservation.
The South African representatives appreciated Vietnam’s stringent measures in its law enforcement process and running campaigns to educate people to abandon the misconceptions about the use of rhino horn to cure incurable diseases.
Before coming to South Africa, the Vietnamese delegation also visited Kenya, Tanzania, and Mozambique to share experience in promoting cooperation in the conservation of biodiversity with the authorities of these countries.
Official statistics released by South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs in March 2014 showed that poachers killed 172 rhinos for their horns from the start of 2014, while 1,004 were killed in 2013.
Vietnam is considered one of the major hot spots of the illegal rhino horn trade.
According to a survey using door-to-door and face-to-face interviews of 400 individuals, both females and males in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, conducted by AC Nielsen in late 2014, 75 percent of the respondents thought rhino horn has health and medical benefits, particularly treatment of diseases.
Sixty-one percent believed rhino horn can cure a disease while 30 percent reckoned the horn can be used to strengthen health, according to the survey.
Twelve percent thought rhino horn can be used to prevent sickness, the study said, adding that 69 percent knew rhino horn has medical effects based on word of mouth.
Of the participants who believed rhino horn has medical effects (75 percent), half thought it can be used to cure cancer, 42 percent to treat rheumatism, 22 percent to treat impotence, 22 percent to ease effects of a stroke, 16 percent to treat fever, and 15 percent to soothe hangovers.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Health has concluded that rhino horn is not able to treat cancer, rheumatism, strokes, or to enhance sex life.