The Wilderness Foundation, through its Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative, has announced that it will be further expanding its operations in Vietnam in order to address the demand for rhino horn in this key user country, forming part of the broader fight against poaching.
The success of the Wild Rhino competition, which saw 22 Vietnamese youth and 4 teachers from various international schools in Vietnam experiencing the rhino in the wild during a wilderness trail in South Africa, has subsequently generated incredible support from these young ambassadors, their teachers and schools. This support will be harnessed into various interventions in order to address the important issue of reducing the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam.
Matthew Norval, Chief Operations Officer of the Wilderness Foundation, says “The reality is that Vietnam is currently one of the major users of rhino horn. Although the user group represents a small percentage of the Vietnamese population, many people are unaware that rhino are brutally killed in order to remove the horn. We are encouraged to be working with our partners in Vietnam who are committed to ensuring that this senseless slaughter is stopped”.
“Our expansion into Vietnam focusses on implementing a range of activities as part of a broader demand reduction initiative in Vietnam. The activities will be implemented in partnership with Vietnamese singer/song-writer/educator Thanh Bui. Our Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative project office will be based at the SOUL Music Performing Arts Academy (SMPAA), with a specific focus on reducing the use of and demand for rhino horn in Vietnam, as well as raising awareness on issues related to general wildlife crime”.
“As citizens of Vietnam, which is one of the major users of rhino horn, we need to make every effort to support and work with our partners in South Africa to protect the rhino. With the recent Wild Rhino competition some of our children had the opportunity to experience rhino and other African wildlife for themselves and we need to ensure that future generations are also able to enjoy this privilege”, says Thanh Bui, Principal of SMPAA.
“The protection of rhino is a priority for Wilderness Foundation Global, represented by Wilderness Foundation Africa, the Wild Foundation in America and Wilderness Foundation UK. Opening a project office in Vietnam is a significant milestone as it demonstrates our commitment and that of our Vietnamese partners in ensuring that future generations have the benefit of protected landscapes and wildlife that promote the wellbeing of our people.
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