‘Little victories!’ That’s the motto conservationists often use to gain inspiration in the fight against illegal poaching in Africa.
Well, today we can happily announce something substantially more than a little victory.
Its been reported that the governments of South Africa and Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will improve co-operation between the two states on biodiversity conservation and protection, including tackling illegal wildlife trafficking.
Although the memorandum refers to illegal wildlife trafficking in general terms, there are clear indications that anti-rhino-poaching efforts will be top of the list.
This is a huge step as Vietnam is believed to be the prime destination for illegal rhino horn.
This MoU has been a long time coming and recent delays from the Vietnamese side with regard to signing the document had many people wondering when, if ever, it would happen.
“WWF and TRAFFIC welcome the new agreement, which marks a turning point in efforts to protect Africa’s rhinos,” said Dr Jo Shaw, Rhino Co-ordinator for WWF-South Africa. “We now look forward to seeing joint actions being undertaken by both countries to combat the current rhino poaching crisis.”
The MoU was signed by South Africa’s Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, H.E. Edna Molewa and Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, H.E. Cao Duc Phat, with both talking explicitly about the mutual goal to stop rhino horn transportation from South Africa to Vietnam.
Dr. Naomi Doak, Coordinator of TRAFFIC Southeast Asia–Greater Mekong Programme said, “Rhino poaching is a key burning conservation issue, and through the public commitments of the two Governments at this signing ceremony today, we have seen promising beginnings of collaborative action. This commitment now needs to be turned into urgent action to turn the crisis around.”
It’s reassuring to know that the powers on the demand side of the rhino horn trade are willing to step up and do something about it.
Now is the time to apply the pressure more than ever – to share, care and to let the world know that Africa is more serious than ever about protecting its wildlife heritage.
Info sourced from WWF South Africa press release