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Elephants

Lupita Nyong’o Joins WildAid as Global Elephant Ambassador

NAIROBI, Kenya (30 June 2015) — Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has returned to her native Kenya and announced today that she will advocate globally for elephants with international conservation organization WildAid, as well as promote women’s issues, acting and the arts in Kenya.

“I am proud of my Kenyan heritage, and part of that heritage is the incredible wildlife haven that is in our care,” Ms. Nyong’o said. “I have come to realize that when you know more, you do more. I want to encourage people all over the world to learn more about these incredible animals. From reading a conservation website like WildAid.org to visiting one of the many, unforgettable, world-class national parks. I ask the world to end the current elephant poaching crisis by being ‘Ivory Free.’ It is time to ban sales of ivory worldwide and to consign the tragedy of the ivory trade to history.”

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.

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CNN Features WildAid Hong Kong Campaigner

CNN has a great segment on WildAid Hong Kong's Alex Hofford, a leading voice in the campaign to put an end to Hong Kong's ivory market, one of the world's largest, as well as other key issues such as the shark fin trade. Check out the video below.

Scenes from the NYC #IvoryCrush

On Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) destroyed 1 ton of ivory in New York’s Times Square — a remarkable show of support and solidarity with Africa’s elephants and the people working to stop poaching and the illegal trade. 

WildAid was on hand to witness the destruction of these carvings in a 25-ton rock crusher — check out more photos/video of the event below.

During his remarks, USFWS director Daniel Ashe announced that his agency will be working with WildAid on an upcoming domestic campaign aimed at ending the illegal wildlife trade in the United States. We look forward to working with USFWS and we'll keep you updated on this campaign as it takes shape!

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In Hong Kong, a Student-Led Rallying Cry: Say No to Ivory

With three-quarters of Hong Kong citizens in support of a commercial ivory sales ban, schoolchildren have played a leading role in confronting one of the world’s largest ivory markets.

This past Saturday, 20 children from ESF Clearwater Bay School in Sai Kung District chanted the slogan “Say No to Ivory!” as they delivered to the Hong Kong government’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) a giant elephant collage made up of 120 individually hand-written messages, urging the government to ban ivory sales. 

The children, along with their teachers and parents, made up a boisterous crowd of around 50 people in the ground floor lobby of AFCD’s headquarters. 

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Tanzania: 'Poaching Steals from Us All'

DAR ES SALAAM (18 June 2015) — Tanzania's Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, in association with WildAid and the African Wildlife Foundation, has launched a new public awareness campaign to inform the public about the severe poaching crisis currently facing Tanzania and to generate widespread support among civil society for the protection of elephants and other wildlife species.

The campaign will use television, radio, social media, newspapers and magazines, billboards and videos in public spaces in order to reach as many members of the public as possible, including the residents of remote rural villages.

Tanzania has lost 60% of its elephants in the past six years, mainly because of poaching for ivory. Very large profits from this illegal activity are made in China and other consumer nations, while Tanzanians are left to bear the cost.

Award-winning singer-songwriter Alikiba has become an ambassador for the campaign. "I'm honoured to lend any support that I can to this effort to protect our wildlife,” Alikiba said. "Our beautiful elephants must be allowed to live — free and wild — instead of ending up as a carving on somebody's coffee table."

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife to Destroy 1 Ton of Illegal Ivory

Elephants by Shannon Benson

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which enforces federal wildlife laws such as the Endangered Species Act, announced earlier today that it will crush 1 ton of illegal ivory on Friday, June 19 in the middle of New York’s Times Square.

The Times Square crush follows a similar event held two years ago in Denver, where the Service destroyed 6 tons of ivory, seized over a 25-year period.

Several nations have also held their own ivory crush or burning events over the past several months ­— the most recent being China, where Beijing officials presided over the destruction of nearly 1,500 lbs. of raw tusks and carvings. During the event, State Forestry Administration Zhao Shucong announced that China would “strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.” This commitment, if fulfilled, would be the greatest single step to reducing elephant poaching.

The U.S. has shown increasing resolve to address the American ivory market, considered to be the world’s second-largest after China’s. 

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China's Pledge to End the Ivory Trade: Why it Matters

In statements made this week by a top Chinese official to the Washington PostChina has pledged a high-level commitment to ending its current legal commercial ivory trade.

While a concrete timetable has yet to be developed, the official, Dr. Meng Xianlin of the CITES Management Authority of China, confirmed the action could happen "very quickly."

WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, who have mounted the world’s largest ivory public awareness campaign with Chinese media, have welcomed this action as a historic move in the fight to save African elephants from rampant poaching. An estimated 33,000 elephants are being killed every year to supply ivory markets in China, Thailand, Hong Kong, the U.S. and other nations.

“Ending legal sales of ivory in China is the greatest single step that can be taken to reduce elephant poaching in Africa and we hope it can happen as soon as possible. We applaud China for its leadership and will continue to work closely with Chinese state and private media in our campaigns to reduce demand for ivory," WildAid CEO Peter Knights said.

Lang Lang Urges Chinese Travelers to 'Say No to Ivory’

Lang Lang, one of the world’s most famous classical pianists performing today, has stepped up to fight the global ivory trade in a stirring new public service announcement (PSA) to be distributed throughout his native China, the world’s largest market for ivory. 

As part of the Ivory Free campaign sponsored by WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, Lang Lang’s PSA aims to educate the public on the toll that both legal and illegal ivory sales are taking on Africa’s elephants: An estimated 33,000 are poached annually.

Hong Kong Public Supports Ivory Ban

HONG KONG (May 26, 2015) — The Hong Kong public overwhelmingly supports a comprehensive ban on elephant ivory sales, according to a survey by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme released Tuesday. 

The new poll found that 75% of residents interviewed expressed support for outlawing ivory sales, which are currently poorly regulated in Hong Kong. Of those in favor, 55% “very much support” a ban, while 21% “quite support.” Additionally, three-quarters of respondents agreed that the Hong Kong government should stop issuing new ivory possession licenses.

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Recent Spike in Large Seizures of Ivory, Rhino Horn, Pangolin Scales

Over the past two weeks, authorities in multiple countries have arrested smugglers and seized major shipments of illegal wildlife products in Africa and Asia, including rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolin scales.

The largest such seizure occurred earlier this week in Singapore, where an estimated $6 million in ivory tusks, rhino horn and teeth believed to be from cheetahs and leopards were found stashed in a shipping container filled with bags of tea leaves. 

In each of these six separate cases, the shipments were en route to Vietnam and/or China, or involved smuggling by nationals of those countries.

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