Richard Branson: Rhino poaching can be crushed like it was in 1993

In preparing for Davos 2015, I’ve been going through old notebooks from previous attendances at the World Economic Forum. One that caught my attention was from 2006 where I was part of a small group interviewing entrepreneur Richard Branson. The Virgin founder came across as humble, friendly and very down to earth. In answering my question, he spoke of a deep love for Africa and determination to help via initiatives like his School for Entrepreneurship. Branson added that he has a strong affinity for South Africa, visiting regularly and spending a lot of time at his Ulusaba Farm in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. From that vantage, Branson knows more about the scourge of rhino poaching than most. Here’s his appeal for others to join in, as they did in 1993, to crush the hideous practice. – AH  

RICHARD BRANSON:  Africa’s rhinos are facing a real crisis.  In 2012, 660 rhinos were poached in South Africa alone.  Some lose their horns whilst still alive, only to later die from the wounds.

Rhino horn is used in traditional Asian medicine for a range of ailments.  In the past 40 years, rhino populations have declined 95 percent worldwide.

We faced a similar crisis in 1993 until international pressure and public awareness led to sales bans in Asia and reduced demand in places like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

Up until 2008, rhino populations were recovering due to successful breeding programs in parks and private reserves.

In 2011, the Western Black rhino is declared extinct.

But Vietnam has emerged as a new market in addition to China, with its growing economy.  We need your help now, to raise awareness and reduce demand in these new markets before it’s too late.

Join us now.  Wildaid, African Wildlife Foundation, and Virgin Unite are teaming up to bring this message to consumers and we have some influential friends.  Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, and a host of movie stars and top athletes are involved.

Every year, Wildaid receives up to $200m of donated media space in China, and has changed attitudes surrounding wildlife products, like Shaopin Tsui.  We need your help to take the rhino’s message directly to consumers so please help support this work because when the buying stops, the killing can too.

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