Rhino ambassadors make an impact – Zululand Observer

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Rhino ambassadors make an impact – Zululand Observer

Rhino ambassadors make an impact

The youth ambassadors – Monique Theron, Phelisa Matyolo, Jared Robinson, Jacome Pretorius,Emma van der Meulen, Richard Mabanga, Nadav Ossendryver and Grant Fowlds PHOTO: Ilan Ossendryver

AT the invitation of the Vietnam and US governments, six South African Youth Rhino Ambassadors made their way to Hanoi, Vietnam to help promote the prevention of rhino poaching.

In an area known as the epicentre of rhino horn trade, the team’s task was to present the World Youth Wildlife Declaration to the people of Vietnam at Wild Fest, the country’s first wildlife film festival.

Engaging the hearts and minds of Vietnamese youth and opinion leaders, their main goal was to unite the power of young African and Asian voices calling for an end to the brutal slaughter of the world’s endangered rhinos and speak out against all forms of illegal wildlife trafficking.

The rainbow nation troops joined forces with two youth representatives from One More Generation (US) and a representative from 1 000 000 Footprints To Save Africa.

The ambassadors spread a positive message of Ubunto and used African cultural song and dance to add vibrancy to every event.

Passionate articulation of the bloody ‘war’ playing out in South Africa’s magnificent game reserves brought clarity to many Vietnamese, who did not know that poachers gun down rhinos for profit to feed Asian demand for rhino horn.

Spreading awareness

‘Every day we spent engaging with the community, as half of the population is unaware of the cruelty involved in rhino dehorning,’ said Project Ambassador and team leader Grant Fowlds.

‘The traditional Zulu elements radiating from the ambassadors were an incredible revelation for the Vietnamese people and made a huge impact in spreading awareness.’

The team’s busy 10 days included a Rally for Rhinos Cycle Tour through Hanoi’s busy streets, high-level meetings with the US and South African Embassies and Vietnamese leaders, meeting medical students at the Pharmaceutical University, presentations to schools and youth centres and hosting Rhino Art and other youth awareness activities.

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