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Vietnam's Biggest Pop Stars Come Together for Rhinos

Last week, a who’s who of Vietnamese celebrities and Vietnam Idol alumni appeared on VTV for “The Call of the Wild,” a two-hour special to raise awareness about the fate of Africa's rhinos, relentlessly targeted by poachers for their horns. The special was aimed at Vietnamese youth, who are highly influential in persuading elders to reject the consumption of rhino horn, considered by many to be luxury item due to beliefs that when ground into a powder and ingested, it can improve health, cure disease and even prevent hangovers.

This event was part of “Stop Using Rhino Horn,” a three-year campaign launched in 2014 by WildAid and African Wildlife Foundation to educate and persuade the people of Vietnam, one of the world's largest markets for rhino horn. Our goals are to raise awareness of the rhino poaching crisis, to support Vietnamese lawmakers in strengthening enforcement efforts and to measurably reduce consumer demand for rhino horn. 

WildAid Vietnam writes of the VTV special:

We believe that music has the power to guide young people to become ambassadors for nature who will protect rhinos as well as other endangered species, and preserve Vietnam’s natural heritage for future generations.

Through this event, the Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign also hopes to contribute to improving the image of Vietnam in the eyes of international communities, by conveying a positive image of young people in Vietnam taking action for nature conservation and contributing to the country’s sustainable development.

Singer Thanh Bùi and youth ambassadors perform "We Are the World" (WildAid Vietnam)

Among the pop stars appearing on the show was Thanh Bùi, who along with fellow singer Thu Minh traveled to Africa last year to speak out against poaching. “When I arrived in South Africa, being a Vietnamese, I was held for interviews for four hours at the airport,” he said. “I felt I was treated like a criminal. Later, when I learned about and witnessed with my own eyes the horrible massacre of the rhino in South Africa, I got to understand why. 

“However, I do not want the Vietnamese youths to have bad experiences,” Bùi continued. “Last month, 22 Vietnamese young people had a chance to visit South Africa … and they became excellent ambassadors, bringing messages of true love of nature to their families and community.” 

In April, WildAid Vietnam welcomed Vietnamese-American actor Maggie Q, star of the hit CBS series "Stalker," who has starred in several WildAid PSAs for sharks, rhinos and other species.

In addition to raising awareness, we're committed to assisting the Vietnamese government in strengthening the nation's law enforcement efforts. The campaign will provide professionally trained detector dogs to Vietnam Customs in a joint partnership between WildAid, Working Dogs for Conservation (WDFC) and Vietnam Customs. Two dogs currently are being trained in the US to be able to detect several different wildlife scents, including rhino horn, ivory, tiger, and pangolin products, at Hai Phong Seaport in September. 

Singer and 2009 Vietnam Idol winner Quốc Thiên (WildAid Vietnam)

Phương Vy, winner of the first season of Vietnam Idol (WildAid Vietnam)

Singer Mai Khôi (WildAid Vietnam)

The Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign receives the generous support from a number of media agencies and outlets, including Vietnam Television (VTV), Digital Vietnam Television (VTC), An Vien Television, Star Media, Chicilon Media, FBNC Channel, YanTV, B Channel, TVShopping, Dat Viet Newspaper, Nhip Cau Dau Tu Magazine, Dep Magazine, The Thao Van Hoa & Dan Ong Magazine, Doanh Nhan Magazine, Outlook Magazine, Cam nang mua sam Magazine, Phong cach doanh nhan Magazine, Oi Viet Nam, XoneFM Radio Channel, POPs Vietnam, online news such as tinmoitruong.vn, tiep thi va tieu dung (tttd.vn), hotnow.vn, chame.vn, and creative partner Creative Hunts.