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Rhino Ranger returns to stop the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam

Vietnam is the world’s largest recipient of illegal rhino horn from South Africa. To reduce rhino horn consumption and therefore demand, Wilderness Foundation Africa is working with school-going Vietnamese youngsters to create a generation of ambassadors who will grow up to be in a position to influence their peers, parents and families to reduce and ultimately stop the demand for rhino horn.

Building on the story and campaign developed with the expertise of Boomtown in 2015, Rhino Ranger returns this month for a second instalment of the Rhino Ranger comic book. Rhino Ranger is a superhero character that was conceptualised and created to spread the message of the ‘Wild Rhino | Vietnam, be my Hero’ campaign to the target audience in Vietnam. The story of Rhino Ranger continues as he travels to Vietnam to discover why his mother was killed in South Africa.

‘Our first edition was incredibly popular, and our competition to become a Wild Rhino Youth Ambassador has been a huge success,’ remarked Cheryl Reynolds, Relationship and Communications Manager of Wilderness Foundation Africa. ‘To target a younger audience, we are adding an activity book for those under 12. It’s incredibly exciting to see the campaign grow and reach more young Vietnamese children and mould future generations.’

Using cultural insights, the personal experience of the Wilderness Foundation Africa team who have been to Vietnam on various occasions throughout the campaign, Boomtown was able to create a comic that was truly believable to its readership. ‘The appearance of streets and the depiction of the culture need to be a true reflection of Vietnam,’ remarked Andrew MacKenzie, Boomtown Managing Director, who has visited Vietnam with the Wilderness Foundation Africa when it first launched Rhino Ranger. ‘We need the youth that we engage with to buy into the campaign and become ambassadors for change. We cannot do that if they cannot connect with our content.’

The story for each edition is left open-ended to feed a hunger to know more and create word of mouth between children in the playground, in the classroom and at home. Published alternate years, the comic is complimented by a competition to become a Wild Rhino Youth Ambassador and visit South Africa to experience rhino in their natural habitat. Junior children are chosen through a competition to draw a picture and write a poem, and senior children are tasked to write an essay on reducing the demand for rhino horn.

In addition to expanding the Rhino Ranger story and material, the campaign is extending to international schools in Hanoi. ‘We have already had a great reception from the international schools we are working within Ho Chi Minh City, and the team is excited to launch in Hanoi this September,’ added Reynolds. The Wilderness Foundation Africa team visited Vietnam in September 2018 to launch the third round of the Wild Rhino competition, and distribute the Rhino Ranger comic book and activity book, along with other marketing collateral to the participating schools in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

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