Influential Vietnamese 'Nail it for Rhinos'
Rhinos are being poached at alarming rates in Africa and Asia to feed the illegal demand for their horns in countries like Viet Nam, even though the horns are made of keratin - the same substance that makes up human nails.
In Viet Nam, rhino horn is purchased for its purported medicinal value or as a status symbol. But this event symbolised the zero tolerance of senior members of Vietnamese society towards rhino horn consumption.
Three of the leaders - composer and producer Huy Tuan, internationally-renowned designer Khai Silk and LUALA CEO Do Ngoc Minh - are using their influence to share the message through a video premiered at the event that success comes from strength of character and hard work, not from a piece of rhino horn.
"I believe that each person has their own secret to success in life. However, rhino horn definitely cannot help you to be successful...success only comes when you are diligent," said Do Ngoc Minh.
The World Rhino Day event, hosted by TRAFFIC and WWF with financial support from the French government, the South African and Netherlands embassies, and VietJet Airlines, acknowledged the important leadership demonstrated by key figures in Viet Nam in the fight against wildlife crime.
“In addition to bringing the best products and services to our customers, Vietjet also cares about social responsibility and actively supports meaningful social initiatives. We hope to shift public perceptions about using rhino horn for medical and other purposes. As an airline, we commit to support wildlife protection and combat wildlife trafficking through the activities we have done, are doing and will do together with Freeland and TRAFFIC in the future,” said a representative of Vietjet Airlines at the event.
“With the collaboration of leaders from across Vietnamese society, we've seen great progress in efforts to change attitudes towards rhino horn consumption,” said Madelon Willemsen, Head of Office for TRAFFIC in Viet Nam. “As more and more leaders in society ‘nail it for rhinos’ and act as role models in the fight against the illegal consumption of rhino horn, next year we will have even more to celebrate on World Rhino Day.”
Participants at the event symbolized their commitment to changing attitudes towards rhino horn consumption through the donation of their fingernail clippings. The clippings filled a plastic horn to complete the event’s centerpiece, a life-size rhino model. This one-of-a-kind rhino will be used in future awareness-raising events, helping people make the connection between horns and their nails and discouraging them from consuming rhino horn.
The Nailit4rhinos concept was originated by Save the Rhino International as part of the international efforts to reduce the poaching pressue on the world's rhinos by reducing the demand for their horns.