For the past six years, Rhino Rescue Project has been of the view that the rhino poaching crisis should not only be addressed by attempting to supply the demand for rhino horn (the exact scale of which remains unknown) in end-user countries and exploiting the ignorance of buyers, but by taking pro-active steps towards eradicating demand for good.
It is no secret that our efforts to develop and refine a methodology whereby the horns of live rhinos could be stripped of their commercial value, have been aggressively opposed by a handful of key stakeholders in the industry. We have had damaging research articles on our work published by industry “experts” (which also led to our efforts being denigrated on the well-known television show, Carte Blanche). We were publicly thrown to the wolves by conservation bodies that had profited handsomely off the concept of horn devaluation before withdrawing their support, putting hundreds of treated rhinos at risk in doing so.
Despite these setbacks, support for our way of thinking has continued to grow globally, and recently Rhino Rescue Project’s demand reduction efforts in Vietnam (in collaboration with international advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather) were finally rewarded. Our yearlong multimedia campaign (see link below) that ran in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City won a gold APAC Effie award in Singapore in April 2016 and has further been nominated for no less than ten Cannes Lions awards (winners to be announced in June 2016). The fact that ours is the only conservation-related campaign this year to be recognized at the prestigious event, at which delegates like former UN secretary Ban Ki Moon will be in attendance, speaks for itself. It further raises doubts about the global community’s ongoing support of South Africa’s die hard views regarding the legalized trade in rhino horn.
Rhino Rescue Project has, to date, received no public funding for our research or our marketing activities, making this achievement even more remarkable. Further, it should be noted that Ogilvy & Mather, as well as the organizers and judging panels of these awards were fully aware of the controversy surrounding Rhino Rescue Project and the 2 vitriolic criticism we continue to be subjected to, and yet all chose to support our work, regardless.
Perhaps because they are not so shortsighted as to believe that the buyers and consumers of rhino horn are motivated in any way by science.
For more information about the categories in which this campaign have been nominated, feel free to contact
Lorinda Hern: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorinda will be attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity at the invitation of Ogilvy & Mather Vietnam from 18 to 25 June 2016.