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Efforts at combating rhino horn trade continue

Released at: 16:27, 28/08/2018

Efforts at combating rhino horn trade continue

Photo: The US Embassy

Third phase of Chi Initiative launched by USAID Wildlife Asia.

by Hai My

The USAID Wildlife Asia project has launched the third phase of the Chi Initiative, a program designed to help cut consumer demand for rhino horn in Vietnam.

“The US Government remains committed to collaborating with countries around the world to combat wildlife crime and end demand for illegal wildlife products,” said Mr. Craig Hart, Acting Mission Director of the US Agency for International Development in Vietnam.  

Demand for rhino horn in Asian countries, including Vietnam, drives the illegal poaching of rhinos in Africa, putting the species at risk of extinction. The Vietnamese Government has made strides forward in countering wildlife crime, notably with a new penal code that features stricter penalties for the possession and trade of illegal wildlife products. Despite these efforts, Vietnam is still considered a major consumer market and transit hub for rhino horn.

The “Chi”, or “Strength of Will”, social marketing initiative seeks to reduce demand for rhino horn by using a social behavior change communication approach to tackle consumption driven by social status. USAID Wildlife Asia’s Chi Phase III will continue to use targeted, evidence-based behavior change communication solutions to reduce key categories of users’ demand.

“We were excited to welcome representatives from government, civil society, businesspeople and the media to the launch, which showed an increasing consensus for wildlife protection in Vietnam,” said Ms. Sarah Ferguson, head of TRAFFIC in Vietnam. “As part of USAID Wildlife Asia and with a strong commitment from Vietnamese partners, we will continue to explore innovative behavioral change solutions and work to further reduce illegal wildlife consumption in the country.”

USAID Wildlife Asia works to address wildlife trafficking as a transnational crime. The project works to reduce consumer demand for wildlife parts and products, strengthen law enforcement, enhance legal and political commitment, and support regional collaboration to reduce wildlife crime in Southeast Asia, particularly in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. USAID Wildlife Asia focuses on four species: elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers, and pangolins.

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