A group of port workers in East Africa pose for a photo holding WildAid campaign materials.

East Africa’s ports are on the frontline in the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking. Products from all over Africa pass through the region on their way to Asia and other destinations. But port workers are not necessarily aware of the value of wildlife to their countries, or trained in how to spot illegal shipments.

In 2022, WildAid launched a major campaign in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to raise awareness amongst people working in the cargo shipping sector about wildlife crime and wildlife trafficking, about why it is important, and about what they can do about it.

Leading footballers from the region, Victor Wanyama from Kenya, John Bocco from Tanzania and Bevis Mugabi from Uganda, joined the team against wildlife crime and encouraged both port workers and the general public to report suspicious activity.

The campaign recorded 15 million impressions on social media and 1.5 million video views on WildAid’s social media channels. Campaign videos were played 339 times during prime time on TV channels across the region, and recorded more than 19,000 plays on ad screens in buses and trains. Radio messaging played more than 1,100 times across seven radio stations in the region.

The campaign was publicized on 28 static billboards and 68,040 digital billboard slots near ports and dry ports across East Africa, while we distributed 18,000 leaflets and posters and 25,000 stickers.

Wildlife crime reporting hotlines were established and/or publicized in all three countries.

Based on an independent study conducted in December 2022, the campaign reached an estimated 9,000 to 11,000 port workers.

According to the study:

  • 97% of port-workers reported increased knowledge and awareness about illegal wildlife trafficking as a result of the campaign.
  • 97% of port-workers are more likely to report wildlife crime as a result of the campaign.
  • 99% of port-workers said that the campaign increased their sense of pride in their country’s wildlife.

“This campaign is what I would call a game changer,” one port worker said.

The campaign was designed under the UNDP, Global Environment Facility (GEF) and US Agency for International Development (USAID)  ‘Reducing Maritime Trafficking of Wildlife between Africa and Asia’ project. The project is financed by GEF and USAID and led by the World Bank’s Global Wildlife Program.

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About WildAid

WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too. 

Journalists on deadline may email communications@wildaid.org