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Rhino poaching is a worthwhile fight, says WWF

Rhino poaching is a worthwhile fight, says WWF

Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town – The war against rhino poaching can be won, despite the increasing poaching that has seen rhino species go extinct in several countries, an environmental organisation has said.

“I think we absolutely can still win this battle in terms of conservation. We need to see wild rhino in wild places,” Dr Jo Shaw, Rhino co-ordinator for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-SA) told News24.

The WWF released its research into the consumption of rhino horn in Vietnam on Tuesday and the results show that status is one of the main rivers for rhino poaching in SA.

The survey, which was conducted in conjunction with wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic found that typically, consumers viewed rhino horn as a status symbol.

The archetype of a male horn consumer is 48, wealthy and uses the product to ensure health and virility, the research found.


The survey showed that while a relatively small percentage of consumers bought the horn for their own purpose, there is a larger group known as “intenders” who would buy and use rhino horn if they had the income.

“In-tenders want to become buyers and users of rhino horn as it is favored and valued by those they want to impress,” said Dr Naomi Doak of Traffic’s Greater Mekong Program.

The WWF said that of the 87 million Vietnamese, the greater worry was that those who were entering the middle class would place additional demand on rhino horn, driving up the attraction for poachers.

“Of these 87 million people, about two thirds are under the age of 35,” said Shaw.

“We need a combination of enhanced law enforcement and reduction campaigns to shift attitudes and behavior against the trend in rhino horn use within the growing middle class in Vietnam,” said Doak.

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