Though Kenya banned the ivory trade 25 years ago, growing affluence in Asia has produced a new class of ivory consumers who have reignited demand and stimulated the illegal ivory trade, resulting in an escalating poaching crisis. Across Africa, up to 33,000 elephants are killed annually for their ivory, with militant groups and international criminal syndicates profiting from the trade.
WildAid is launching an awareness campaign on the poaching crisis in Kenya led by Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, who returned to her home country in July 2015 to announce she will advocate globally for elephants through the Ivory Free campaign. Ms. Nyong’o spent time in Amboseli National Park with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi elephant orphanage, meeting with local conservationists and filming messages for international distribution in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States. These messages are designed to raise awareness of the elephant-poaching crisis and to reduce the demand for ivory in consuming markets. Ms. Nyongo also met with Kenya-based African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants who partner on these projects, as well as representatives of Wildlife Direct, and Ol Pejeta and Lewa Conservancies — all groups active in combatting poaching in Kenya.
“Brave and dedicated people are giving their lives to protect our elephants,” Ms. Nyong’o said at a June 2015 event in Nairobi. “They need all of our support, from people in the United States and Asia by not buying ivory, and from Kenyans in supporting anti-poaching by reporting wildlife crime. Poaching undermines national security and endangers jobs and community support derived from tourism.”
Special thanks to Villa Rosa Kempinski, sponsor of WildAid's Kenya program