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France, Britain Angry over Trump NRA Remarks; Giuliani Doubles Down on Porn Star Hush Money; Hawaii Volcano; Lebanon Votes; Alex Ferguson Recovering after Emergency Surgery; Indian Teen Raped and Burned to Death; NRA Protests; Endangered Black Rhinos Reintroduced to Chad. Aired 5-6a ET
Aired May 6, 2018 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Outrage from America's top allies after U.S. President Trump mimicked gunmen from a terror attack in Paris as part of a speech on gun rights before the NRA.
Also this hour, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani talks about the Stormy Daniels case again. Some still wondering if he's on the same page with his client.
Later, polls open in Lebanon for the first time in nine years. CNN is in Beirut following the election.
We are live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta. Welcome to our viewers around the world. All of these stories, much more ahead this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
ALLEN: Our top story: the U.S. president angering two of America's closest allies. France is upset over comments Mr. Trump made about the November 2015 terror attack in Paris. At least 130 people were killed, hundreds wounded.
He was speaking at a convention of the largest gun rights organization in the U.S. and certainly making it no secret that he is fully aligned with the National Rifle Association. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Paris, France, has the toughest gun laws in the world.
And we all remember more than 130 people...they died in a restaurant and various other close proximity places. They were brutally killed by a small group of terrorists that had guns.
They took their time and gunned them down one by one -- boom, come over here, boom, come over here, boom. If you were in those rooms, one of those people -- and the survivors said it just lasted forever.
But, if one employee or just one patron had a gun or if one person in this room had been there with a gun, aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: In the same speech, Mr. Trump angered Britain, saying it had a knife problem. At one point he compared a London hospital to a war zone, saying the floors were covered in blood from knife attack victims.
President Trump did speak with British prime minister Theresa May on Saturday. We don't know if they discussed his NRA comments. But they did talk about North Korea, Iran, China, trade and Mr. Trump's upcoming trip to Britain.
The U.K. foreign secretary Boris Johnson arrives in the U.S. in the coming hours. He'll meet with Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton.
The Trump administration has one week before it must decide whether to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. Right now it does not look promising. Former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, one of President Trump's newest lawyers and spokespeople on Saturday seemed to signal that the deal was as good as dead.
Listen to what he said to the Iran Freedom Convention for Democracy and Human Rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: And secretary of state Pompeo now, on his right hand, and his national security adviser, John Bolton, you remember John Bolton, on his left side, what do you think will happen to that agreement?
With that gone and sanctions back we have a real chance of escalating the protests.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Giuliani also weighed in on the possible release of these three Americans detained by North Korea. On Thursday he incorrectly stated the men would be freed that day. He now says there's a good chance North Korea will release them over the next few days.
Even though he was brought on to the Trump legal team for the Russia probe and said he would have a limited role at that, Giuliani is also speaking out again about the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels.
You may remember he created a firestorm earlier in the week when he announced President Trump had paid Michael Cohen for the $130,000 payment made to keep Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Mr. Trump.
In an interview Saturday night, Giuliani repeated his argument that the payment did not break the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NYC: The President of the United States did not in any way violate the campaign finance law.
GIULIANI: Every campaign finance expert, Republican and Democrat, will tell you that if it was for another purpose other than just campaigns and even if it was for campaign purposes, if it was to save his family, to save embarrassment, it's not a campaign donation.
Second, even if it was a campaign donation, the president reimbursed it fully with a payment of $35,000 a month that paid for that and other expenses. No need to go beyond that. Case over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: It's hardly case over even though Rudy Giuliani is saying that, Steven Erlanger is "The New York Times" chief diplomatic correspondent for Europe. He joins us from Brussels.
Let's start with Mr. Giuliani, trying to understand his role here for the president. He certainly had fun tearing up the Iran deal, which our European allies are pleading with the United States to stay in.
Why is it that the U.S. doesn't like this deal?
And how much of it is that fact that it was signed by President Obama?
STEVEN ERLANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think that a lot of it is that it wasn't signed by Mr. Trump. And Bibi Netanyahu has been a big Trump supporters, has always hated the deal. He feels it's too soft. Trump, on the campaign trail, thought it was too soft.
What the Europeans are simply trying to do is say look, you don't have a plan B if you rip this up. The Iranians can start enriching again. Do you want war?
Maybe they do want war. Giuliani was implying regime change when he said, oh, if the sanctions might provoke more protests, is exactly what he said. So what the Europeans are doing -- and they will continue to try this -- is to say we accept your agenda. We know the deal could be improved. We know there needs to be new limits on ballistic missiles on Iran and their regional behavior.
Let's add on to the existing agreement in new negotiations with new sanctions but let's leave the current situation, deal unchanged because it protects us from an Iran breakout at least for the next 8- 10 years.
So we'll see. For domestic reasons, as Emmanuel Macron said, the French president, Trump is likely to kill it. But killing it is even complicated because there are built-in delays. There's a resolution procedure of a month. Different sanctions have waiting periods of 120-180 days. It's not a simple thing.
ALLEN: Right. He has done things like this before with issues, come out and said he's going to rip that up and not do this and then come back and (INAUDIBLE) again. So we will wait and see on that.
But he also is at odds with his allies, France and the U.K., over these almost bizarre comparisons of the American gun laws and the violence and the terrorism that they have seen in the U.K. and France, again, playing to his home base, playing to a domestic audience.
But it was still over the top, wasn't it?
ERLANGER: Well, it deeply offended America's best allies. One of the great benefits in the United States is we have allies. The Russians don't have allies. Chinese don't have allies.
We have allies. We have friends in the world. We have people with whom we share rule of law. We share freedom of the press. We share values. We share NATO together.
And for Trump to just idly insult the memory of the dead of other countries is, I think, what offended them. In fact, the French foreign ministry is quite explicit in saying it was offended. The former French president, Francois Hollande, who was the president when the (INAUDIBLE) happened said he was disgusted.
And the British, you know, there is no hospital in London -- I promise you, having lived there nine years of my life -- which is awash in blood from knife crime. Knife crime is up but one of the reasons knife crime may be up is that guns are not up. And it is a bizarre thing.
He seems to go -- the president goes into these riffs and maybe because he has been watching too much FOX television, it's not clear. But he takes a small thing and he exaggerates it. He turns it into a kind of anecdote of his own creation for his supporters, who obviously eat it all up because they think -- I don't know what they think. Maybe they think France and Britain don't deserve to be allies.
ALLEN: I know, it's like you say, it's no lightweight thing to have allies in this world and our allies have helped fight for democracy around the world with the U.S. as well.
It's been a complex week as far as with Rudy Giuliani coming into the mix. Let's recall that FOX News did kind of go after the president vis-a-vis what Giuliani has said. Someone likened this whole Stormy Daniels saga to the White House twisting itself into a pretzel and it's almost gotten to the point where it's just hard to follow all of the different roads that surround this saga, isn't it?
ERLANGER: It is. And pretzel is quite a good New York metaphor from Rudy Giuliani. Trump is, in a way, running out of lawyers. Giuliani's always liked him. He's liked Trump. But Trump was never willing to give Giuliani a job, I think, because he finds the -- the people around Trump find Giuliani --
ERLANGER: -- strange tangents, put it that way. And so while trying to protect the president from campaign financing violations on the Stormy Daniels payment, they ended up admitting, first of all, that it happened and then saying but he was trying to shut her up not because Trump had an affair with her, because he didn't have an affair with her.
And I'm not sure too many people find that very credible, $130,000 may not be a lot of money to Trump but it seems quite a lot of money to a lot of people, particular in the middle of a presidential campaign.
ALLEN: Steven Erlanger, thank you so much for joining us. We always appreciate your comments. Thanks.
ERLANGER: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: Let's turn to Hawaii, paradise. That's it right there. Ongoing earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and toxic gas are threatening thousands of people and their homes on the big island. The U.S. Geological Survey says cracks in residential areas are still spewing molten lava and toxic gas.
They say there's no evidence that the Kilauea volcano will slow down anytime soon. On top of that, they're expecting even more earthquakes adding to the hundreds that have rocked the island this week.
Officials say anyone choosing to stay in the eruption zone is making a grave mistake. One resident here describes how emotional it was to leave his home behind.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tears, a lot of tears saying goodbye to my house. I have an acre of land. I have an acre lot. The beautiful plants and trees that I have planted. Tears. I can do that right now. It's just, you know, I'm a blue-collar man and I worked for my house and now my house might be gone. So that's just devastating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk more about all of this with Ken Rubin. He's a professor at the University of Hawaii and the chair of the Department of Geology and Geophysics. He joins me now from Honolulu.
Ken, thanks for joining with us. We just heard from that one resident who is so worried about losing his home and that whole neighborhood is under duress of that.
What initially caused this eruption of Kilauea and caused the lava flow to an area that doesn't normally see this?
KEN RUBIN, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII: So the event that initiated this sequence started at the beginning of the week, the first at Pu'u 'O'o Crater. This is where Kilauea has been erupting nearly continuously since 1983.
And a large earthquake happened there, the volcanic cone collapsed. A significant amount of lava drained out of that crater. Right after that, a series of earthquakes started to migrate down what we call the East Rift Zone about 15 kilometers to the area of Leilani Estates.
And for a couple of days there was significant shaking, more than 300 earthquakes. And then ground cracks started to open up. And over the course of the last little bit more than two days, some of these cracks have become what we call eruptive fissures.
We're currently up to eight fissures that have opened and have been erupting for some period of time, although --
RUBIN: -- as far as I know, only two of them are currently active right now.
ALLEN: As far as the volcanic cone that collapsed, was that in any predicated and is the outcome here typical of what would happen because of that with the volcano?
RUBIN: It is the one thing we learn with almost every volcano is that it's very hard to say what is typical. Kilauea volcano is one of the best instrumented and best studied volcanoes in the world. It's nearly continuously active.
So we have lots of examples of activity there. Even in the week or so before the Pu'u 'O'o cone collapsed, the volcano was inflating and we can see those with various kinds of instruments, including satellites an instruments on the ground.
We knew that a new pulse of magma was coming into the upper part of the volcanic structure. Now there was no way to predict, based on what we were observing, that Pu'u 'O'o was going to shut off as it did. We don't know if the eruption will go back to that site or not.
But the best evidence that we have for similar activity are two eruptions that happened in the immediate area of Leilani Estates, one in 1955 and one in 1960. In fact, the lava is from this current eruption are very, very close, less than 1 kilometer away from the edge of the 1955 lava.
That eruption lasted for 88 days. And its precursors weren't exactly like this one but similar enough. And over the ensuing few initial days of the eruption, the fissures erupted more intensely and larger and larger lava flows were produced.
And we don't know that's what's going to happen this time. But until the people at the observatory who are watching the volcano stop seeing ground shaking and deformation that indicates magma moving into the area, then we have to expect that the eruption will continue.
ALLEN: My goodness. Meantime, Ken, what's the environmental danger to people who've been exposed to these lava fountains, the toxins, the gas that's been released in the atmosphere?
How could that impact people's health?
RUBIN: So there's two primary gases that come out of the volcano itself. And the most noxious of those is sulfur dioxide. It's a respiratory irritant, very high concentrations that it can cause a series of different pulmonary problems, problems with your lungs and eyes.
It's an acrid smelling gas and it's blue. And most people are able to see it in the atmosphere and hopefully move away.
The other gas is hydrogen sulfide, which has a very strong smell and is also toxic in low concentrations.
And then in addition, because we have lava, molten lava interacting with manmade structures, for instance, streets and road asphalt, roofing materials, et cetera, those burn and the incineration of those materials also produces some rather nasty gases, including gases that are high in organic particulates called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
None of those are good for people who are in the immediate vicinity. The good news is that as long as the winds are blowing and people stay upwind of the sources of these gases, which right now are localized along these short fissure segments, then they should be OK.
But it definitely important to not be close to where these gas sources are.
ALLEN: Well, very good information. We so much appreciate you joining us and helping us understand. Ken Rubin from the University of Hawaii, thank you.
ALLEN: All right. Coming up here for the first time in almost a decade, Lebanon votes for parliament. We'll have a live report from Beirut ahead.
Plus one of President Trump's closest friends questioned in the Russia investigation.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (MUSIC PLAYING)
ALLEN: Welcome back.
A whole generation in Lebanon is finally getting to vote for parliament. Polls have been open for about five hours in the country's election. The last parliamentary vote was nine years ago.
That means as many as 800,000 voters under 30 are now casting ballots for the very first time. That could have a major impact on sectarian politics. But Prime Minister Saad Hariri is still expected to form a new government.
A new voting law is also paving the way for more independent candidates. For what that means for this election, we are joined by CNN's Ben Wedeman, who joins us live from Beirut.
Many people to choose from, hope in the air but the question is, will the system change?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Natalie. There are around 600 candidates running on 77 --
WEDEMAN: -- different electoral lists for 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament. This new law, there are some important changes. It is no longer a winner-take-all system but rather proportional representation.
Also for the first time since Lebanese independence, in 1943, people living outside of the country are able to vote. There are millions of Lebanese working all around the world. But according to official statistics, just over 82,000 of those living abroad registered to vote.
So there are important changes we're seeing in this election, the first one in nine years, many more civil society candidates, people not necessarily affiliated with the normal parties that are largely based upon sectarian lines.
So perhaps there may be three, four or five civil society members of parliament. But by and large the overall picture of Lebanese politics are not expected to change dramatically.
Many people you speak to say this is the beginning of a process, they hope, where the sectarian angle will be reduced somewhat in Lebanese politics because increasingly feel that the situation need to change. Something's got to give.
Many people I spoke to today worried about the brain drain, the young Lebanese who are very well educated, simply don't have opportunities for employment in this country. People are fed up with the perennial garbage crises that fill the streets with rubbish, they're fed up with daily electricity cuts here in Beirut every single day. There are three-hour electricity cuts. So you end up having to have
pay generator operators. So plenty of grievances for Lebanese politicians to listen to.
The question is, will they act on them?
ALLEN: I certainly hope so. My goodness. The folks there deserve better and you were talking with a woman who is running as well. We'll see how women fare from this on the election. Ben Wedeman for us, Ben, as always, thank you
One of the biggest names in football is on the mend. Coming up, we'll have details of Alex Ferguson's emergency surgery and an update on his condition.
Also hear why the head of the Donald Trump inauguration committee was questioned in the ongoing Russia investigation.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from Atlanta, I'm Natalie Allen. Here are our top stories. (HEADLINES)
ALLEN: One of the most decorated and successful managers in the history of football, Sir Alex Ferguson, is recovering after emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.
Ferguson managed Manchester United for more than a quarter century. The club says his surgery went very well but that he will need a period of intensive care.
We want to discuss more about it with our "CNN SPORT'S" Don Riddell, who joins us.
Don, thank you so much.
First of all, what do we know about his surgery and his prognosis?
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very little, to be honest. We were all quite surprised and shocked to get the statement from Manchester United on Saturday, saying that he had undergone emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage.
As you say, they reported that this surgery went very well. But he will now need a period in intensive care to ensure or optimize the best possible recovery. So we really don't know what the future holds for Sir Alex Ferguson. But as I said, we were very surprised. It was just a week ago that he
was seen at Old Trafford, Manchester United's home ground before the game against Arsenal, presenting the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wegner, with a sort of commemoration for his 22 years at Arsenal.
So Ferguson, although he's retired from managing -- 2013 was his last season with United -- he has remained incredibly active in the game. He is a man who is very much in demand. He is an absolute legend within the British game, the most successful manager in British football history and revered all around the world for everything he has achieved.
ALLEN: There really just aren't enough adjectives to describe his iconic status.
RIDDELL: There's really not. You can look at the figures and what he achieved, 39 years in the game, 49 trophies he won with several different clubs. Of course, he was with Manchester United, where he already made his mark, winning the Premier League 13 times.
I mean that was a league title every other year that he was in charge of United. He won the Champions League twice. He won handfuls of other trophies. He managed some of the best players in the game -- David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo to name just three.
And you saw this outpouring of emotion yesterday from, of course, Manchester United players and fans but just --
RIDDELL: -- everybody was in the game, rival clubs, Manchester City, Liverpool, UEFA, FIFA, so a lot of people really crossing their fingers --
RIDDELL: -- that Ferguson can make a good recovery.
ALLEN: Well, if support and love and adoration play into someone's recovery, he certainly has that going for him. Don Riddell, Don, thank you.
All right. Unfortunately, we have to talk about a barbaric crime in India. It is attracting international attention. This is even hard to say.
A teenage girl in a rural village was allegedly gang-raped last Thursday, then burned to death in her home the next day by those who were behind her gang-rape. For more on this, CNN's Nikhil Kumar has our report.
NIKHIL KUMAR, CNN NEW DELHI BUREAU CHIEF: Horrific allegations of rape and murder involving a teenage girl have once again turned the spotlight on sexual violence in India. The latest case comes from a northeastern section of the country in a village deep in the countryside in the rural state of Charkon (ph). It is one of the poorest parts of India. It is where, on Thursday a 16-year-old girl is alleged to have been kidnapped and then brutally raped.
What happened next is added to pressure on authorities to act. On Friday, the girl's family approached the village council, local elders with influence in the village, demanding justice.
Now these councils don't have any legal authority. But in these distant parts of the country, they can sometimes wield enormous influence. But there was no justice. The council imposed a fine of $750 and the accused were ordered to do 100 sit-ups. That's right, money and sit ups. That's all.
And then things got even worse. In a chilling act of retribution, the accused men are said to have set the family's home on fire. It's in this attack later on Friday that the 16-year-old is alleged to have been killed. She was burned to death.
The case is now with the local police, more than a dozen men have been arrested, including the head of the village council. But sadly, this isn't the first horrific case to come to light in recent weeks.
In April, a rape and murder case involving an 8-year old and another rape case involving a different 16-year old triggered nationwide protests. India's rape laws were tightened back in 2013 after the gang-rape and murder of a young medical student in Delhi generated international headlines.
But activists say enforcement has again and again lagged behind new laws. There's also India's entrenched patriarchy which they cite as a major cause. They want better education to end what many say is a cultural problem where women are routinely marginalized often with violent consequences.
These latest cases underlying in the most tragic ways just how much more needs to be done -- Nikhil Kumar, CNN, New Delhi.
ALLEN: Absolutely sickening.
Both sides of America's gun debate faced off this weekend. Tempers are running high on both sides after the recent school shooting in Florida. More about that coming up here.
(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: A Russian company says it will plead not guilty to charges it
conspired to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Concord Management and Consulting was charged in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. The company has ties to the Internet Research Agency, a troll group linked to the Kremlin; 13 Russians and three Russian entities, including Concord, were indicted in February.
We are also learning more about Mueller's office interviewing one of President Trump's closest friends and former chairman of the Trump inaugural committee. Our Boris Sanchez reports from the White House.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN confirmed on Saturday that one of the president's closest friends, Tom Barrack, a man that he's known for some 40 years, was interviewed by the special counsel in December of last year for approximately two hours.
A sources familiar with the matter spoke with my colleague, Gloria Borger, and they indicated that Barrack was asked specifically about his relationship with Paul Manafort and Rick Gates; that is, Trump's former campaign chairman and his deputy.
Manafort and Gates are both facing a slew of charges related to financial crimes and fraud. Manafort has denied all of the allegations while Gates has pled guilty. Notably, this source tells CNN that Barrack was not asked about his relationship with the president, though the two men are very close, consider that Barrack spoke at the 2016 Republican convention.
He also chaired the president's inaugural committee and was offered a senior role in the administration though he reportedly turned it down. We understand that Barrack was also not asked about financial issue; his role on the inaugural committee and further he was told that he is not a target of the special counsel's investigation.
Still, this is notable considering just how broad the special investigation's reach has become. How this plays into things moving forward for Robert Mueller, still unclear -- Boris Sanchez, CNN, at the White House.
ALLEN: The NRA, the National Rifle Association, is hosting annual convention in Dallas. And just blocks away, protesters gathered on Saturday demanding stricter gun regulations. This is the first convention since the mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school and a concert in Las Vegas, which that massacre killed more than 50 people.
Both events sparked a renewed national debate on gun laws. For more about the protests, our Ed Lavandera is in Dallas.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As a political divide over the gun control issue really symbolized here in the streets of downtown Dallas as just a few blocks away from here, the National Rifle Association has been holding its annual meeting.
Tens of thousands of people inside that convention hall with tens of thousands of weapons on display.
And many members that we've talked to here feel like the NRA and its organization has been under assault and criticized wrongly for many of the mass shootings that have taken place in this country, especially in the wake of the Las Vegas attack and the Parkland school shooting as well.
One of those members we spoke with talked just about that, how they fully believe the NRA does more good than harm.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are law-abiding citizens that have the Second Amendment right to carry a gun. We have the right to bear arms. Our right to bear arms is not governed by the government. It's governed by the Constitution, which our founding forefathers wrote for our protection against a tyrannical government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: But outside the convention hall this day has also been a day of protests and demonstration, a number of protests taking place just outside. One of those protests we caught up with Fred Guttenberg. He has become a familiar face in the --
LAVANDERA: -- gun control debate here in the last few months. His daughter, Jaime, was killed in the Parkland school shooting and he has the NRA very much in his sights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FRED GUTTENBERG, JAIME'S DAD: They need to hear that their words, their attempts to push an agenda, are not going to be accepted. They need to know that we have a message. They need to know we are here and we are not going away.
And they need to know that we think they are not telling the truth. They need to know that when they say they're all about good guys with guns, if they believed that, their highlight item this weekend would not be that gun that folds up into a cellphone-looking device.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LAVANDERA: So here on the streets of Dallas you really get a sense of just how widely divided this country is over the gun control issue, just how different people inside that NRA meeting hall have been talking about these issues and how demonstrators and protesters of the NRA are talking about this issue on the outside.
Really kind of captures just how politically divisive this issue is for millions of people across this country.
ALLEN: Coming up here, it is a victory for an engendered species. Details of the black rhino's long road back from the brink of extension and why poachers kill them anyway.
ALLEN: Welcome back.
Black rhinos once roamed across the African continent in large numbers. Today only about 5,000 are left in the wild, victims of relentless and senseless poaching. An ambitious project now aims to bring them back to the places where they once thrived. Six black rhinos were recently transported from South Africa, where they were protected, back to their native habitat in Chad.
The hope is that the rhinos will multiply again.
Let's talk more about this with Peter Knights. He is the executive director at WildAid. That's a non-profit and conservative organization to help save endangered animals.
Peter, thank you for being with us.
PETER KNIGHTS, WILDAID: Good evening.
ALLEN: You've worked to save rhinos for many years. So these endangered black rhinos were moved to another country for their safekeeping and now they are headed back to Chad.
Why now and what are the conditions that will hopefully make it safe for them to be back in their environment and perhaps thrive?
KNIGHTS: This is part of a program where African Parks has taken over the management of the park. So they are in charge of the anti- poaching and they bring in a lot more resources in than the government had previously done.
So they feel they have now got the protection for these animals to be reintroduced. They were there originally. And that's a hope we have, I think, for the black rhinos in many parts of East and West Africa, to get them back to where they were.
There used to be thousands of rhinos in this place and they've all been poached. So we can't put them back until we have the security.
ALLEN: Absolutely. Let's watch one of your non-profit videos about the plight of these animals. And you utilized famous people to try to wake others up, would-be poachers, and people who would buy rhino horn. And you tried to wake them up to how bad the situation is. Let's watch for a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM, DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE: Sadly, all the wild rhinos in the world can, with room to spare. For some species it's almost too late.
YAO MING, NFL STAR: And we could fill this stadium and many more if we can stop the illegal trade.
DAVID BECKHAM, FOOTBALL STAR: Ask your friends and family never to buy rhino horn.
PRINCE WILLIAM: And together we can save our wild rhinos.
When the buying stops...
BECKHAM: The killing can, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: When the buying stops, the killing can, too. That's a sentence that you utilize a lot. We know who was in that video there.
Are your videos working?
I know you played them in Asia, where there is a belief that rhino horns have healing powers. Talk with us about that and how you've been able to debunk that you're your videos.
KNIGHTS: Yes. And of course, Yao Ming there, who's a huge icon in many senses of the word in China, we've -- that ad, in fact, was played 72 times on national television when Prince William visited. So it has been backed by the Chinese government and supported.
And the slogan, when the buying stops, the killing can, too, is well- known all over China now. So we have really seen a massive raising awareness on things like rhino horn, elephant ivory and things like that.
And the price in rhino horn, in fact, the wholesale price has gone down from 65,000 a kilo a few years ago, it's now around 22,000 a kilo. So it's a third of what it was. So we're definitely making progress in the right direction.
But the challenges are still there. In Vietnam, which wasn't traditionally a country using rhino horn that started really after 2008, started to use rhino horn, people were told that it cured cancer.
And we've made considerable progress on reducing the number of people in Vietnam who believe it cures cancer. And it really is a horrible thing because they are approaching people who have relatives dying of cancer and saying, only this will help your relatives.
So it is really preying on very vulnerable people.
ALLEN: And it's not true.
KNIGHTS: No. Rhino horn is keratin. It's your fingernails; it's your hair. It's a basic building block. But it doesn't have any special issues. It'll never be able to address cancer. In very large quantities it does marginally reduce fever. And this was the traditional use in China (INAUDIBLE).
But of course we have many very simple and cheap drugs now --
KNIGHTS: -- and many other plans like that. And so the traditional Chinese medicine really in China has moved away. Actually, that's the 25th anniversary when China banned rhino horn. And the China, the legal Chinese traditional medicine has moved away from rhino horn.
There's a very few individuals that are still doing this. But of course it doesn't take that many individuals to damage rhinos when there's less than 30,000 rhinos left.
ALLEN: Well, it's nice to know that your campaign is helping educate people that are killing these animals for --
ALLEN: -- no reason.
In your dream of dreams, Peter, what can ultimately keep them safe from poachers?
And what is it about these animals that makes them unique and spirited?
What do we not know about them that you know about them?
KNIGHTS: Rhinos are pretty amazing animals. They are the second largest land mammal after the elephant. They once roamed all over Africa in many different ecosystems. So really were an important part of the whole setup.
And the only reason they have gone is poaching. There's no shortage of habitat for rhinos, unlike many other endangered species. And so it's very sad that we still have habitat intact and don't have these beautiful animals in there.
So I think we can save the rhino for sure. We have brought the white rhino, for example, back from only 50 individuals, now 20,000. So if we can control the poaching -- and that's a culmination of (INAUDIBLE) security on the ground and in the case of South Africa and Mozambique, where a lot of poaching is going on, it's not so much even the anti- poaching.
It's that they're not prosecuting the people who are organizing these poaching gangs. And so we need better prosecutions. And then in Asia, we need to reduce the demand.
ALLEN: Well, your organization is WildAid, people can find it on the Internet to figure out how to support your campaign. Peter Knights, thank you so much for the work that you do. And we are all pulling for the black rhino. Thank you, Peter.
KNIGHTS: Thanks, Natalie.
ALLEN: And thank you all for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen. See you later.