Online video targets key trade market as poaching levels rise
WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) are launching their “Say No to Rhino Horn” campaign in Vietnam and China with graphic footage. The public service message, titled “The Sickening Truth,” is currently being shared online only and carries a warning since it contains explicit video of a rhino that was left for dead after her horn and a large portion of her face were brutally hacked off.
“More than 600 rhinos have been poached this year just in South Africa,” said Peter Knights, WildAid Executive Director. “This message confronts rhino horn consumers directly with the horrific consequences of their purchasing power.”
“With 24 poachers arrested over the last couple of weeks in South Africa alone, protected area authorities are doing all they can on the ground to protect rhinos and other wildlife,” said Patrick J. Bergin, CEO of AWF. “In spite of their heroic efforts, the killing of rhinos and other wildlife will continue so long as consumers demand illegal products like rhino horn. This campaign will educate those consumers about how rhino horn is ‘procured’ in the hopes of altering their buying behavior.”
The rhino featured in the video was discovered in March 2013 by Ranger Richard Sowry at Kruger National Park and was humanely euthanized. The message is cut with footage shot in Vietnam of grinding rhino horn for a liquid mixture.
“We took a unique approach with this message,” said Gary Yip, WildAid Video Editor. “The ranger filmed it and posted it on YouTube in April; however, we noticed that it wasn’t receiving the attention that it deserved. We reached out to Mr. Sowry at Kruger National Park and he quickly came on board with our concept to help his footage reach a broader audience.”
The footage is too graphic for many broadcast television outlets, so WildAid is harnessing online video platforms to share it with a global audience. The short video is available online in three languages—Chinese, English, and Vietnamese.
“The intent, as with all of the public service messages and films that we create, is to inform the public in consuming countries to change behavior through education. We are requesting the help of our supporters to share this video through their social media networks so that it can be seen completely uncensored,” added Knights.
The “Say No to Rhino Horn” campaign launched earlier this year in Beijing with Yao Ming, WildAid, and AWF. WildAid and AWF are currently in post-production on several public service messages addressing rhino horn consumption in Vietnam that will be released later this year. The Vietnam campaign will feature celebrities including Johnny Nguyen, Jackie Chan, Li Bing Bing, and Maggie Q.
WildAid is requesting the public’s support to continue funding their campaign to end the demand for rhino horn. To donate, please visit www.wildaid.org/donate.
To find out more about WildAid’s rhino conservation program, visit www.wildaid.org/rhinos. To learn more about AWF’s efforts to conserve wildlife and combat the illegal wildlife trade in Africa, visit www.awf.org. For information on this year’s escalating rhino poaching, please visit www.wildaid.org/rhino669.