On the occasion of World Rhino Day, the U.S. embassy in Hanoi, in cooperation with the U.S. Consulate in Durban (South Africa) is pleased to announce its support for a group of six Vietnamese middle and high school students to attend the World Youth Rhino Summit, September 21 – 23, at the ImFolozi Game Reserve in Kwa-Zulu Natal province in the Republic of South Africa. The students, chosen through a nation-wide art competition sponsored by WildAct Vietnam, the Humane Society International and the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, will be among 140 students from 20 countries to participate in this first- ever event to bring Vietnamese youth together with their African peers to directly address the rhino poaching crisis and develop solutions needed to stop burgeoning wildlife crime. The students attend a range of schools in Hanoi, HCMC and Dak Lak. The delegation will also have programs with One More Generation, Dance to Be Wild, African Educational Stories and Latest Sightings prior to its return to Vietnam.
The U.S. government, through its embassies and consulates worldwide, actively promotes President Obama’s February 2014 National Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking. In Vietnam and in the Republic of South Africa, these efforts are part of Operation Game Change that focuses on demand reduction for rhino horn and, in collaboration with the Government of Vietnam, seeks to boost Vietnam’s role internationally to tackle the problem. As of September 2014, 771 rhinos have been slaughtered in South Africa. No scientific evidence exists that rhino horn, comprised of keratin which forms finger nails and hair, has any scientific or medicinal value.