HONG KONG (July 3, 2016) — Activists dressed in blood-stained shark costumes demonstrated Saturday outside a FedEx depot in Hong Kong to protest the shipping continued shipments of cruel and unsustainable shark fin.
With over 100 million sharks slaughtered annually, in large part driven by the demand for shark fin soup in Hong Kong and China, many shark species are being driven towards extinction. Over the past 15 years, Hong Kong has accounted for 50% of the global shark fin trade.
“Logistics companies like FedEx provide critical links in a long supply chain from the illegal fishing boats in far away oceans to the mouths and throats of Hong Kong consumers,” said WildAid Hong Kong’s Alex Hofford. “We urge FedEx to do the right thing, and take a bold step to protect sharks – just as its industry competitor UPS did so in 2015, and Hong Kong's flag carrier Cathay Pacific did last month.”
NEW YORK (June 30, 2016) — A year ago this week, the illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe galvanized international outrage against an American trophy hunter, and a new awareness of the plight of the African lion. Beyond Cecil: Africa’s Lions in Crisis published today by Panthera and WildAid, with Oxford University’s WildCRU, exposes the gravest threats that, one year later, place the African lion in an ever tighter race against extinction, and outlines a roadmap to save the species.
In a new partnership, Panthera and WildAid launched an online campaign today coinciding with the report, one that calls upon the global community to "Stand with Africa to Let Lions Live” at LetLionsLive.org.
Over the past two decades, the African lion population has declined by an estimated 43%, with only 20,000 lions remaining across the entire continent. Habitat loss, bushmeat poaching and conflict with livestock owners are the primary killers of Africa’s lions today. Compared to trophy hunting, these threats combined are estimated to kill 5-10 times as many lions each year.
We are so grateful to everyone who donated for our World Oceans Day challenge! WildAid raised a total of $100,000 to support our marine program in Ecuador and endangered sea turtles thanks to a generous matching gift! All proceeds will support marine protection in Ecuador and its endangered marine species.
Cathay Pacific today joined over 30 other global passenger airlines in banning the carriage of all shark fin cargo. We are delighted and applaud Cathay for taking this positive step. By imposing a 100% total ban with immediate effect, Hong Kong's flag carrier has shown it is serious about protecting sharks and our global marine ecosystem.
Today, WildAid’s 5 To Do Today climate action campaign, in partnership with the Chinese Nutrition Society kicked off a new campaign focused on reducing meat consumption in China, which is currently expected to rise by 50% by 2030.
BANGKOK (14 June 2016) — International martial arts actor Tony Jaa (Furious 7, Ong-Bak 3) and Thai National Football Team Coach “Zico” Kiatisuk Senamuang will lead an all-star team of celebrity ambassadors calling for an end to Thailand’s ivory trade, one of the world’s largest.
The new campaign, created by WildAid and WWF-Thailand and launched Monday, highlights the impact of the Thai ivory trade on elephant poaching in Africa, where an estimated 33,000 elephants are killed each year for their tusks. Public service announcements and print billboards will be widely distributed throughout the country, from BTS SkyTrain stations in Bangkok to several national TV channels and multiple social media platforms. WATCH: Tony Jaa’s new PSA for WildAid and WWF-Thailand. This PSA was produced by WildAid with the support of WWF, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants.
The ivory trade has been banned in the United States, and proposed bans in China and Hong Kong are in motion, leaving Thailand alongside Japan as the largest remaining markets. Thailand also plays a key role as a transit point for smuggled ivory: Current Thai law allows trading of ivory from domesticated Thai elephants, but conservationists are concerned that illegal African ivory is laundered through this loophole.
Thailand made several major illegal ivory seizures last year: Since October 2015, Thai customs has made four seizures of ivory originating from Africa, totaling more than 800 kilograms. The latest seizure in April 2016 was more than 300 kilograms.
“With historic announcements from the US, China and Hong Kong to shut down their ivory markets, the time has come for Thailand to join the herd and do its part to save Africa’s elephants,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights.
Illegal fishing continues to pressure Ecuador’s numerous protected areas and fisheries. Funding for conservation efforts on mainland Ecuador is minimal, and due to recent earthquakes, protected area managers have even fewer resources to carry out patrols that protect their marine spaces. WildAid’s work in Ecuador is more important than ever to prevent exploitation of its unique marine life as we celebrate World Oceans Day.
Machalilla National Park along coastal Ecuador is one of the world’s most important sites for manta aggregation as it is home to the largest population of Giant Manta Rays (Manta birostris), estimated at 1,500 individuals. It’s also home to five species of sea turtles, 20 species of whales and dolphins, hammerhead and whale sharks, and countless species of fish and coral reefs.
Listed by the IUCN as “Vulnerable,” the primary threat to manta species is unsustainable fishing. As manta rays have few natural predators, their recent decline is due in large part to direct human predation, driven by the growing demand for their gills or death as bycatch. Compounding matters, mantas are among the slowest to reproduce of all sharks and rays, usually birthing one or two offspring every few years. Their low reproduction rates mean that mantas cannot sustain or survive commercial fishing for long.
WASHINGTON (June 2, 2016) — In a bold effort to save Africa’s elephants, the Obama Administration has released strong, clear rules aimed at effectively shutting down the U.S. ivory market, one of the world’s largest.
Released Thursday, the final Endangered Species Act special rule for the African elephant substantially limits imports, exports and sales of African elephant ivory across state lines, while carving limited exceptions for certain pre-existing manufactured items, such as musical instruments, furniture pieces and firearms that contain less than 200 grams of ivory. The rule was finalized after a lengthy review period that drew 1.3 million public comments overwhelmingly in favor of protecting elephants.
The new rules issued Thursday by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service follow landmark commitments made last fall by President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to abolish the domestic ivory markets in their respective nations.Hong Kong officials announced in January their intentions to do the same, followed by France, which announced a ban on the ivory trade soon after the historic ivory burn ceremony in Kenya on April 30.
Anger at Cathay Pacific for their stubborn stance on shark fin cargo shipments has been building for some time. This past weekend, it erupted in a flashmob protest at the airline's check-in counters at Hong Kong International Airport.
The members of the public who voiced their disgust during this weekend's protest were obviously not doing so for fun, but as a last resort.
Fins from up to 73 million sharks are used each year for shark fin soup. After removing the fins, poachers return sharks to the ocean, often still alive.