Recent statistics showing that the number of rhino horn buyers in Vietnam has slumped have no truck with the “Stop Using Rhino Horn,” the coordinator board behind the communication campaign said Monday.
“Stop Using Rhino Horn,” jointly run by WildAid in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation and Vietnamese non-governmental organization CHANGE, was launched in Hanoi in March 2014 and is running until 2016.
On Thursday, VnExpress News reported that a Vietnamese delegation on Wednesday attended a working session in the South African capital city of Pretoria with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and relevant agencies to review their partnership in the conservation field.
Statistics released at the session showed 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 launch of the “Stop Using Rhino Horn.”
The figures are in fact “not related in any way” to the campaign, its coordinator board in Vietnam said in an email to VnExpress News.
As many as 75 percent of the respondents surveyed by AC Nielsen in late 2014 believed that rhino horn has health and medical benefits, particularly treatment of diseases. The survey used door-to-door and face-to-face interviews of 400 individuals, both females and males in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
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.
“There is no scientific evidence that rhino horn cures any serious disease,” the “Stop Using Rhino Horn” coordinator board underlined in the same email to VnExpress News.
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 that year, while 1,004 were killed in 2013.
Vietnam is considered one of the major hot spots of the illegal rhino horn trade.