First Rhino Sighting in Vietnam in Five Years

This Sunday 13 December Vietnam will see its first rhino in five years, since the last wild Javan rhino was illegally and tragically killed in the country back in 2010.


Sadly, due to the worst global poaching crisis in history, this will not be the real thing but one of Save the Rhino International’s 18 famous rhino costumes taking part in the ninth Hanoi Red Rivers Song Hong Half Marathon which has been organized by the Red River Runners in Hanoi, and have aptly themed it “Run for Rhinos”.


R4R feature picture


With Vietnam the key consumer country for rhino horn – now valued higher than gold – Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and its partners Save the Rhino International (SRI) who are based in the UK and the International Rhino Foundation who are based in the US have joined forces to translocate this unique endangered rhino costume from the UK to Vietnam to help raise awareness amongst Vietnamese citizens. In Vietnam rhino horn is increasingly used as a status symbol and perceived miracle cure for a variety of ailments from cancer to hangovers. 


Rhino poaching is currently at crisis point, with three rhinos killed every day in South Africa alone where over 75% of the world’s rhinos currently live. If poaching continues to increase at current rates rhinos could be extinct by 2026, in just 10 years’ time. This is why it is so important to raise awareness in Vietnam to stop the demand for rhino horn and why Ambassadors and embassy representatives from the UK, US, Holland, France, and South Africa are also taking part in the ‘’Run for Rhinos’’ race.


British Ambassador to Vietnam, Giles Lever says:

Ending the illegal trade in wildlife products is a priority for the British government.  In Vietnam, we’ve been working closely with the government and with NGOs and civil society to tackle this issue, and to reduce demand for rhino horn and other products from endangered species.  I’m delighted to be taking part in this year’s Hanoi Half Marathon for Wildlife, together with several of my British Embassy colleagues, in order to show our support for this important cause.


Josephine Gibson from SRI will be taking part in the ‘’Run for Rhinos’’ wearing one of the charities’ iconic 10 kg rhino costumes, named ‘Rocky’, to raise awareness on the streets of Hanoi. The famous rhino suits have travelled across the world, from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to the Atacama Desert in Chile, but this is their first visit to Vietnam.


Many Vietnamese citizens will be taking part in the ‘’Run for Rhinos’’ race joined by some of ENV’s corporate partners including the Sofitel Plaza Hanoi, Netco and Club M. This Sunday the people of Vietnam will be making their voices heard that they also feel passionately about protecting the world’s remaining rhinos.

Key facts

  • Vietnam is the key consumer country for rhino horn
  • The last Javan rhino in Vietnam was killed in 2010
  • Rhino horn is now valued higher than gold
  • In 2014, 1,215 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone
  • This represents one rhino killed every eight hours and a 9,000% increase of rhinos killed illegally in the last seven years in the country
  • There are approximately 29,000 rhinos left in the world, a mere 5% of the numbers from 100 years ago


Vu Thi Quyen, ENV’s Executive Director says:

We are thrilled that Vietnamese citizens and the international community in Vietnam are running together for rhino protection. We hope the Run for Rhinos will showcase to the world that we as a nation are dedicated to ending the killing of rhinos and consumption of rhino horn, and that the collaborative spirit of this event will continue as we fight to save this precious species.


Josephine Gibson of Save the Rhino comments:

With one rhino killed every eight hours on average in South Africa this year, urgent action is required to protect rhinos. I am delighted to be participating in the ‘Run for Rhinos’ in our iconic rhino costume. I look forward to joining Vietnamese and other international runners in raising awareness about the importance of saving this iconic species from extinction.