Seems Tom’s documentary on poaching in Africa might have some serious impact beyond just viewers in the UK (and fans of Tom). Here’s a press release from the US embassy in Hanoi where it’s being screened:

Hanoi, September 18, 2013 – The U.S. and British Embassies in Hanoi hosted a documentary screening to raise awareness of the need to protect the world’s rhinos and elephants.  Nearly 130 representatives from the Vietnamese government, conservation organizations, diplomatic corps, and students attended the screening of Poaching Wars to mark World Rhino Day.

In 2012, 668 rhinos were poached in South Africa, home to the majority of the world’s remaining wild rhinos; in 2013, that number is expected to reach nearly 1,000 rhinos.  Poaching at this rate threatens to wipe out the world’s wild rhinos.  The rhino horn stolen from these murdered animals is often illegally trafficked to Asia, including Vietnam, due to the false belief that rhino horn has medicinal value or the backward belief that it is a status symbol.

“The assault on the world’s rhinos has devastating consequences not only for Africa, but also for Asia,” said Joakim Parker, Director of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in Vietnam. “The trafficking of rhino horn into and through Vietnam, which saw its last Javan rhino poached in 2010, threatens border security and undermines the rule of law.”

The British Ambassador, Dr. Antony Stokes, added, “Vietnam has a real opportunity to affect the long-term survivability of the rhino.  I hope the Government will seize the opportunity to prolong the existence of these magnificent animals.”

Nguyen Minh Thuong, International Cooperation Officer, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora Management Authority, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said, ”Vietnam is committed to implementing CITES in a responsible manner. Vietnam is willing to cooperate with all CITES member states as well as all domestic and international organizations to strengthen the effectiveness of CITES implementation and combat illegal trade in wildlife, including rhino.  Vietnam calls for international organizations, domestic organizations, and all Vietnamese citizens to improve awareness for wildlife protection and stop demand for using rhino horns in all forms.  By doing so, we will have made a useful contribution to protect our natural environment for human beings and future generations.”

Poaching Wars, produced by ITV, follows Tom Hardy, star of the most recent Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, through South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and Tanzania.  There, Mr. Hardy uncovers the brutal tactics to slaughter rhinos and elephants for their horns and tusks by criminals, some of them from Vietnam.  Despite efforts by African governments to protect their rhinos and elephants, the seemingly endless demand in Asia for rhino horn and elephant ivory threatens the existence of these majestic creatures.

The U.S. and British embassies in Hanoi have repeatedly called for Vietnamese citizens to stop buying rhino horn, as it has no medical value.  The United States supports efforts to stop all wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia through the USAID-funded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program, which works to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products, and strengthen law enforcement, regional cooperation, and anti-trafficking networks.



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