Changing the Rhino Poaching Crisis Through Operation Game Change


Dec 1 2015

 

Nadav Ossendryver, CEO Latest Sightings was one of the Wildlife champions and young Rhino Ambassadors from South Africa who arrived in Hanoi on October 24 for an outreach exchange (Operation Game Change, a national campaign in order to attract attention) to address the rhino poaching crisis in South Africa. This included the presenting for signing the World Youth Wildlife Declaration - a world-wide call to action from young people against rhino poaching, illegal wildlife trade and to help give them a voice to support conservation.  

Passionate about the conservation of rhinos, and all wildlife, Nadav through technology drives this passion! He founded the world’s largest wildlife crowdsourcing site and has since become an integral part of wildlife research. He, through Latest Sightings urges people to use social media in order to curb the problem of poaching. “Each of us has an integral role in efforts to stop poaching, and wildlife trafficking,” says Nadav.  You can download and use the below mentioned apps to report any suspicious behaviour: 

 

  • iOS App Store
  • Android App Store
  • Windows Phone Store

 

On Sunday 25 October, the Rhino Ambassadors were joined by U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius for the Rally for Rhinos, a bike ride tour around West Lake, with local cycling enthusiasts. Supported by Freeland, Fusion BodyWorks, Tour De Fun and Vietjet, the Rally for Rhinos brought much needed public attention to South Africa’s rhino poaching crisis and initiated a groundswell of support! Nadav says, “We also met with Hanoi University of Pharmacy and Nguyen Binh Khiem School students who were all very receptive and open to receiving our message”.  Together, they pledged not to: 

1) Use rhino horn

2) Gift rhino horn

3) Accept rhino horn.

Taking concrete action to save the planet, they put their feet in paint and imprinted footprints on cloth as part of the One Million Footprints to Save Africa. In conjunction with Operation Game Change, WildFest, the first film and musical festival of wildlife in Vietnam was held on Sunday November 8th 2015 at 17h30 at Hanoi Imperial Citadel. It was established to encourage creative approaches to tackling the illegal wildlife trade, and a tool that encouraged all those passionate about film to make a difference. 

Lisa Bess Wishman, representative of the US embassy says, “Building up to WildFest, which approximately 2500 people attended, we reached at least 2500 other Vietnamese - mostly students - with awareness raising campaigns. They, in turn, are the messengers to their parents and grandparents who are the potential users, gifters and acceptors of rhino horn.  They will become a generation of environmental and conservation conscious citizens who can engage on other important issues for their country, their region and our world.”

With the same film genre and subject matter about trafficking wildlife, three young directors of Vietnam film industry all have a different point of view, and way of telling their own story. But a common theme is that their films all directly mention the problem relating to the killing of rhino for their horns. This is example about Vietnamese people trying to fix their faults regarding wildlife. 

The Rhino Ambassadors also met with leaders of Biodiversity Conservation Agency (BCA) to discuss South Africa’s poaching crisis and the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam. In addition to signing the Declaration book that calls for an end to rhino poaching and wildlife crime, Nadav says, “We shared ideas about ways in which Vietnam and South Africa can work together under their Memorandum of Understanding to end illegal wildlife trade and keep the money out of the hands of international terrorists and crime syndicates.” 

The importance of Operation Game Change/WildFest is that it gave a platform not only to highlight the will of the Government of Vietnam and members of the diplomatic community to combat wildlife trafficking but also to the young people of Vietnam to let their voices be heard, concludes Lisa Wishman.

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