Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Richard Branson Speaks Out Against Rhino Horn Trade

Animals
Richard Branson Speaks Out Against Rhino Horn Trade

By Richard Branson, Virgin.com

In recent years, few species have faced a greater threat from poaching and the illegal wildlife trade than the magnificent rhino. After wild populations in Africa enjoyed a few years of relative safety, the number of animals brutally murdered for their horns has increased dramatically lately. In 2014, more than 1,200 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. First estimates for 2015 don't look much better.

Most of this spike in wildlife crime is driven by increased consumer demand in China and Vietnam, where rhino horn is used primarily as a remedy for all sorts of ailments, even though it has long been shown that it doesn't have any medicinal properties whatsoever. It's a sad story of superstition and misinformation on one end of the chain that is responsible for mass slaughter and suffering on the other.

I've long argued that the illegal wildlife trade must be addressed along the entire supply chain. Strengthening the capabilities of those brave rangers fighting what looks like a losing battle in many of Africa's national parks is part of the solution, and it has to go hand in hand with better governance, greater accountability, and more effective law enforcement. Yet, supply reduction can only work when we tackle demand at the same time. In other words: only when the buying stops, the killing can, too.

Photo credit: WildAid

This is one of the reasons I went to visit Vietnam in September last year and met with local business leaders and other stakeholders. Our conversations about wildlife and the role of Vietnamese business in ending this madness were productive and fruitful. Over dinner, several dozen business leaders pledged to start a movement to end the use of rhino horn once and for all.

It's an uphill battle, for sure. But thankfully, people are beginning to understand that rhino horn is in essence nothing more than keratin, the same substance that human hair and nails are made from.

To illustrate the point, I joined forces with actress Maggie Q and a few others to support a new campaign by WildAid. Starting this week, you will see yours truly biting my finger nails on billboards all across East Asia. It's perhaps not the most flattering photo shoot I've ever participated in, but it certainly drives home the message: In other words, if you think that rhino horn is a magical substance that can cure disease, you may as well be chewing your toe nails.

Head over to www.wildaid.org to learn more about rhino horn the campaign to end its use.

Update: Great news from Hong Kong as the government has signaled the end to the domestic ivory trade. Congratulations to Hong Kong for their example to the rest of the world.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Huge Victory for Elephants: Hong Kong Bans Ivory Trade

Elon Musk's Tesla Launches All-Vegan Car

Outraged Republican Senator Vows to Block Appointment of FDA Commissioner Over GMO Salmon

Federal Lawsuit Filed Over North Carolina Anti-Whistleblower Law

People Have the Power - VOTE 2020

Climate-action nonprofit Pathway to Paris first launched in 2014 with an "intimate evening" of music and conversation after the People's Climate March in New York City.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Heo Suwat Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. sarote pruksachat / Moment / Getty Images

A national park in Thailand has come up with an innovative way to make sure guests clean up their own trash: mail it back to them.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2020 presidential election poses a critical test of climate conservatives' willingness to put their environmental concerns before party politics. filo / Getty Images

By Ilana Cohen

Four years ago, Jacob Abel cast his first presidential vote for Donald Trump. As a young conservative from Concord, North Carolina, the choice felt natural.

But this November, he plans to cast a "protest vote" for a write-in candidate or abstain from casting a ballot for president. A determining factor in his 180-degree turn? Climate change.

Read More Show Less
Headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva amid the COVID-19 outbreak on Aug. 17, 2020. FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Read More Show Less
Exterior of Cold Tube demonstration pavilion. Lea Ruefenacht

By Gloria Oladipo

In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch