Demand reduction is vital to the survival of rhino in the wild. Wildlife crime is decimating many of Africa’s iconic species. Rhinos have suffered the most severe effects of this illegal trade. Fuelled by the demand for rhino horn products in specifically Vietnam and other Asian countries, the rhino poaching crisis has pushed these majestic creatures alarmingly close to extinction. South Africa – home to more than 80% of the world’s remaining wild rhino – is utilising all available resources to keep the rhino safe, and bring to justice the ruthless criminal syndicates responsible for these illegal activities. However, as long as there is a demand – which means there are people in the world who believe that rhino horn holds value, and will pay for the horn – wildlife criminals will continue to poach rhino. As part of a multifaceted approach to the poaching crisis, demand reduction initiatives are being launched in primary consumer countries with the aim of educating consumers of rhino horn on the realities of the situation, so as to affect attitudes, change behaviour, and ultimately – stop the demand.
Many of the people who still buy rhino horn do so because they don’t have the correct facts about the horn, how it is obtained, and the devastating impact it is having on the conservation of rhino in Africa and Asia. Futhermore, as many adults are already set in the ways, and the senior generation continues to embrace their beliefs, imprinting on young people hold the most potential for affecting social change in Vietnam. Being the next generation of decision-makers, the Vietnamese youth hold the key to ending the use of rhino horn in their country. With this in mind the Wild Rhino Demand Reduction campaign uses, multimedia marketing channels, competitions and first-hand African wildlife experiences to engage and educate young Vietnamese students. The campaign also aims to inspire these young people to become true Ambassadors for the cause – bringing the campaign to life through them, and dismantling the myths and false beliefs that surround the use of rhino horn products amongst their communities and peers.