Ahead of the Hanoi Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, the Humane Society International’s wildlife team are at the first elephant ivory and rhino horn crush and burn event.
With elephants and rhinoceroses facing an increasing poaching crisis, Vietnam today destroyed 2,177.5 kg of elephant ivory, 70.1 kg of rhinoceros horns, together with a number of specimens from wild tiger and bear that were confiscated from the illegal trade. The destroyed ivory and horn – estimated to be worth more than USD 7 million – came from the slaughter of an estimated 330 African elephants and 23 rhinos.
Vietnam , together with twenty other countries have also crushed or burned their seized ivory and rhino horn, sending a clear message to consumers and wildlife criminals that they will not tolerate poaching and trafficking that threaten to fuel transnational crime and cause the extinction of these iconic species.
HSI has been working with the government of Viet Nam since 2013 on a national, government-led campaign to reduce demand for rhino horn in the country. The multi-faceted campaign has reached an estimated 34 million people—approximately one third of the national population. According to national poll results, over the three years of the campaign, the percent of people who believe that rhino horn has medical value, and those who use and buy rhino horn, decreased significantly.
Teresa Telecky, Ph.D., director of the wildlife department for HSI, said: “Elephants and rhinos are dying at an alarming rate across Africa to feed demand for their tusks. We are immensely proud to have supported Viet Nam’s first ever destruction of confiscated ivory and rhino horn, and hope that this will help to bring the plight of these iconic animals to the public’s attention and discourage them from buying ivory and rhino horn. The global community must come together to show that the world values living rhinos and elephants, not only their horns and tusks.”