Demand Reduction Campaign
Wildlife crime is decimating Africa’s iconic species of elephant, rhino, lion and leopard and threatening the very existence of Africa’s protected areas where ecotourism is a major GDP contributor. The alarming rise in rhino poaching stands at the forefront of this wildlife crime crisis. Currently approximately 4 800 black and 20 000 white rhino are fighting for their survival in the wild, with more than 80% of these rhinos found in South Africa.
At the current poaching rate, 2017 might still see more rhinos killed than are born, and if this trend continues then it is possible that by 2025 all rhino in the wild could be extinct.
The demand for rhino horn in Asian countries has been identified as one of the main driving forces for the escalating poaching of rhinos, with over 80% of poached rhino horn passing through Vietnam.
As part of our Demand Reduction Campaign, Wildermess Foundation Africa joined forces with Peace Parks Foundation to research, develop and implement a youth awareness and engagement campaign aimed at reducing the use of and demand for rhino horn in Vietnam.
The Demand Reduction Campaign comprises of 3 elements which are run on a rolling scale over a 2 year period. These are the Wild Rhino Competition which results in 22 Vietnamese youth attending a Wilderness Trail in the iMfolozi and a one day educational workshop on rhino poaching; the Youth Ambassador Campaign and the Super Hero Campaign, which are introduced to 11 participating schools in Ho Chi Minh City, with a reach of over 500 000 Vietnamese youth.
2014 | The Wild Rhino Competition
A first phase of the campaign, that was launched in 2014, saw 15 000 Vietnamese youth from 12 international schools in Ho Chi Minh City introduced to the crisis of rhino poaching and invited to enter a competition to win a rhino conservation experience in South Africa. The 22 senior students who submitted the most substantial essays on the topic of rhino conservation, were chosen as winners and visited South Africa in June 2015, spending a week on wilderness walking trails in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve.
Through this competition, we received 1 056 junior entries, comprising of either pictures or poems on the rhino poaching crisis. The Senior competition comprised of an essay on how they would educate friends and family on the rhino poaching crisis, of which we received 307 entries.
2015 | Vietnamese Youth Trail
The purpose of the Vietnamese Youth Trail is to nurture awareness, insight, empathy and understanding - allowing these young students to return home as dedicated and informed emissaries for conservation and rhino protection. (Learn more about their journey here: https://youtu.be/3l5ph6VU9Uw). Besides attending a 5 day wilderness trail, the students spent time with rhino calves orphaned as a result of poaching, and also participated in educational workshops facilitated by Wilderness Foundation Africa where they were educated on the true reality of the rhino poaching crisis through presentations by specialists in the field.
The impact of this experience on the young Vietnamese, exceeded expectations and they departed South Africa as anointed Rhino Youth Ambassadors - with new insight into the plight of the rhino, and passion for the protection of this iconic species. Inspired, and armed with the facts, these young people have gone on to actively engage their communities with powerful messages to stop using rhino horn. Their messaging and actions were received very well by their communities and the local media. As examples, please see www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFRApoHC2Ao and www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j_31vxGZNs.
2016 | Vietnamese Youth Awareness Campaign
In order to build on the success of the first engagement with Vietnamese youth, WFA and PPF initiated a second phase of demand reduction efforts. The project is called Vietnam, Be my Hero and encompasses two major components:
Youth Awareness Campaign
The Youth Ambassador campaign launched in Vietnam in May 2016. Material such as posters, decals, brochures, etc. was developed utilizing personal messages from each of the 22 Wild Rhino Youth Ambassadors . These young rhino ambassadors play a leading role in this campaign as peer educators, role models and faces of the campaign. Having visited South Africa and interacted with rhinos, they can speak first-hand about the pertinent issues – thus offering credibility and age-appropriate messaging to the campaign.
A super hero character, Rhino Ranger, was launched in Vietnam on World Rhino Day on 22 September 2016.
Rhino Ranger hopes to be the driving force behind bringing a stop to all the false beliefs around rhino horn. The Rhino Ranger comic book has been released and distributed to the 11 participating schools.
Through the use of a variety of marketing materials, from face masks and magnets to Rhino Ranger cut-outs and pin-on badges Rhino Ranger is fighting his way into the hearts of the youth in Vietnam to help save our rhino.
2017 | The Wild Rhino Competition
The 2nd Wild Rhino Competition was launched in Ho Chi Minh City in November 2016. Entries close on 31 January 2017 and senior winners of the competition will attend a Vietnamese Youth Trail in South Africa in July 2017, whereafter they will return to Vietnam as the next group of Wild Rhino Youth Ambassadors.
- Wilderness Foundation Africa
- +44 (0)20 7357 7474
Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative
"Every 8 hours, another rhino is killed in South Africa...and the number is growing"
Follow the link below to download more information about the Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative.