Vietnam is one of the world’s largest consumers of rhino horn, contributing to the continued poaching of rhinos in the wild. Last year in Africa 1,100 rhinos were killed by poachers. And today there are only about 29,500 left in the world. Considerable efforts have been devoted to reducing the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam. In 2015, the government of Vietnam increased sanctions on the illegal trade and use of rhino horns. Aside from being used as medicine, rhino horn is considered a status symbol. Consumers said that they shared it within social and professional networks to demonstrate their wealth and strengthen business relationships. Gifting whole rhino horns was also used as a way to get favors from those in power. Researchers found that the use of rhino horn doesn’t attract a stigma in Vietnam. The consumers we interviewed said they weren’t concerned about poaching or the plight of rhinos. The killing of rhinos in Africa was seen as a remote issue, something that happened far away, out of their influence because they didn’t kill the rhinos themselves.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA