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Tens of millions reached on World Rhino Day 2017

A series of awareness campaigns from WildAid and partners released on World Rhino Day have reached tens of millions of people worldwide, predominately in rhino horn demand countries China and Vietnam.

Early indications show that recent awareness-raising campaigns are making a difference. The number of people in China who think that poaching is a serious or very serious threat to rhinos has risen from 74% in 2012 to almost 94.6% in 2017.

Additionally, WildAid's recent survey in Vietnam shows that our ongoing campaign has helped to reduce the belief that rhino horn has medicinal benefits. Now fewer than 10% of Vietnamese people surveyed believe that rhino horn can cure cancer, down from almost 35% in 2014. At the same time, awareness that rhino horn is made of keratin, the same substance as hair and fingernails, increased from 19% in 2014 to 68% in 2016.

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Ma Weidu Speaks Out Against Rhino Horn Collectables on World Rhino Day

Media and conservation groups joined renowned Chinese antiques collector Ma Weidu on World Rhino Day to release a new campaign to protect rhinos. Hosted by National Geographic's Traveler magazine along with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and WildAid, the "Travel for Earth" event focused on ecotourism, highlighting experiences to see rhinos.

Ma Weidu is the premier antique collector and appraiser in China. He is also an esteemed author and opened China's first private museum, Guanfu Museum. In the new PSA, Ma Weidu shows the brutal truth behind these beautiful collectables, and that antique collectables should be an extension of culture, not a force of destruction.

Ma Weidu noted that "in the course of collecting cultural items, I've realized that though these items are historical, they can have a significant impact on the world today. I have not only pledged to no longer purchase any ivory or rhino horn items, I'm also persistently conveying the message that if we must choose between protecting wildlife or cultural collectables, wildlife is far more important."

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WildAid documentaries bring stories of imperiled wildlife to Chinese viewers

Celebrity star power is helping raise awareness of the plight of endangered wildlife through a stunning new Chinese documentary series. The five-part film series was launched in Shanghai today with the Shanghai Media Group's New Media Business Unit and WildAid.

The series pairs a celebrity with a different animal, telling the story of tigers, manta rays, sharks, rhinos, the Yangtze finless porpoise, and the vaquita. The documentaries were filmed in China, India, the United States, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Kenya.

Taiwan Busts $3.2 Million Wildlife Trafficking Network

TAIPEI (October 28, 2016) — Raids led by officials from the Taipei District Public Prosecutors Office have uncovered caches of illegal wildlife products throughout Taiwan, including rhino horn and bear bile.

According to government officials, a total of 21 packages of powdered rhino horn, 50 packages of bear bile powder, 124 packages of musk, and 18 pieces of suspected rhino, bull and antelope horns were seized from multiple locations.

Officials also confirmed that they are interrogating 12 individuals regarding the illegal wildlife products including the Honorary Chairman of the Taipei Traditional Chinese Medicine Association, Lien Chun-ying.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Lien used his trading company as a cover to smuggle wildlife products into Taiwan from mainland China. He is alleged to have run a secret supply chain via social media to sell products such as rhino horn to his customers, claiming to offer “life saving medicines.”

Patients and their families paid high prices for these products, and after discovering that they did not possess the promised medicinal effects, alerted officials to Lien’s operation. Lien and his associates are alleged to have made about $3.2 million over the past three years of smuggling and selling the illegal wildlife products.

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In Vietnam, Building Religious Support to Save Rhinos

WildAid and CHANGE host a rhino horn event at a Buddhist pagoda (CHANGE)

Though banned for over 20 years as traditional medicine in China, rhino horn consumption has recently surged in countries such as Vietnam, where horn powder is marketed as a “cancer cure” to desperate patients who lack access to adequate medical care. It’s also used as a non-traditional “recreational drug” and hangover cure. Despite these new uses, rhino horn has no unique medical properties and is primarily composed of keratin, the same protein found in human hair and fingernails.

 “Say No to Rhino Horn,” a three-year project of WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and the Vietnamese nonprofit organization CHANGE, is working to dispel widespread myths of rhino horn’s potency by partnering with influential celebrities, entrepreneurs, media partners and religious leaders.

Over the past few months, our Vietnam team organized a nationwide effort to build support among Buddhist communities in speaking out against rhino horn trafficking and consumption. Supported by some of Vietnam’s most-respected monks, the campaign has attracted over 14,000 Buddhists across Vietnam, and has been featured on dozens of Buddhist popular media channels such as Giac Ngo (Buddhist Enlightenment) newspaper and Hoang Phap pagoda website.

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