Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) has just released its newest Public Service Announcement (PSA), “When Rhinos Lose Their Face, Consumers Lose Face Too,” a short film that emphasizes how respect is earned through honorable acts, not by trying to impress others with rhino horn.
In this comedic film, the protagonist is a young, ambitious businessman on his way to an important meeting. Immediately, the audience is drawn to him, a respectable person who helps strangers through acts of kindness. However, while his good deeds are well-intentioned, he is motivated by a futuristic app that awards him a point for each good deed. As he tries desperately to earn more and more points, he eventually makes a fatal flaw rooted in ignorance, and shamefully presents rhino horn to a business partner.
“Demand for rhino horn in Vietnam is driven by the false belief it will benefit social status,” explains Nguyen Phuong Dung, ENV Vice Director and Head of Public Awareness. “Those who buy rhino horn for honor or gifts must soon realize that respect is not earned through superficial animal products, but rather by living life through moral and ethical actions.”
Vietnam is widely recognized as one of the biggest consumers of rhino horn in the world. However, in recent years, the Vietnamese public has shown an increasing interest in ending demand and trade of rhino horn in Vietnam. Nonetheless, the illegal trafficking, sale, and possession of rhino horn continues to be one of the biggest wildlife conservation issues of our time. Despite Covid-19 restrictions, from January 2020 to March 2021, ENV recorded 99 rhino horn violations which resulted in the confiscation of 194.69 kg of rhino horn. Fortunately, these confiscations accompanied the arrest of 11 rhino horn traffickers, 4 of whom have thus far been prosecuted and received sentences ranging from 6 to 12.5 years in prison.
This PSA release is ENV’s 47th PSA that addresses the Vietnamese public to end demand for wildlife and encourage public reports of wildlife crime to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline. Effectively, ENV’s PSAs and other public awareness campaigns have steadily amplified public participation in ending wildlife trade, with increasingly more public reports of wildlife crime being sent to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline. In fact, from 2019 to 2020, the amount of daily reports to ENV’s hotline more than doubled, from 4.7 new wildlife crime cases a day, to nearly 10 a day by the end of 2020.
“We must eliminate the outdated belief that wildlife products carry any benefit to our health or social status,” warns Dung. “Let’s show the world that we can come together as a nation and end this illogical demand: don’t lose face by taking the face of rhinos.”
ENV would like to acknowledge International Rhino Foundation, Save the Rhino International, and Oak Foundation for sponsoring the production of this PSA and helping us combat the demand and trafficking of rhino horn in Vietnam.