Denver Nuggets star and one of the hottest young NBA players, Carmelo Anthony gives endangered animals a voice by starring in a new WildAid public service announcement to raise awareness of the illegal demand for endangered species parts and products. The illegal wildlife trade, now estimated by Interpol to be worth $10 to 20 billion a year, has drastically reduced numerous wildlife populations and has some teetering on the brink of extinction – all because of growing consumer demand.
The public service announcement backed by Anthony’s agency BDA Sports Management, will be broadcast on stations including CBS. The adverts will be translated into several languages including Chinese, Hindi and Thai and distributed for broadcast internationally. Bill Duffy of BDA stated, “We all need to work together if we are to save animals like tigers and rhinos for future generations.”
“The U.S. is one of the world’s largest consumers of illegal wildlife products with imports of everything from live parrots to illegal caviar. This demand stimulates an illicit trade that generates billions of dollars for criminal enterprises, devastates fragile ecosystems and exposes us to the risk of a catastrophic health crisis,” says Peter Knights, Executive Director of WildAid.
“We urgently need to raise awareness to reduce demand and raise funds for conservation in the field,” Knights concludes.
Founded as a nonprofit wildlife conservation organization in 1999, WildAid’s mission is to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade, by disrupting the trade at every level – reducing poaching, stopping illegal traders and smugglers, and lowering consumer demand for endangered species parts and products. Uniquely 100% of public donations to WildAid are spent on field projects.
The PSA spot, entitled “Lessons”, opens with Carmelo Anthony standing on a practice basketball court, sweaty, intense and ostensibly in the middle of conducting a heated defensive clinic with his beleaguered teammates…the spot cuts to reveal the faces of his class – a tiger, bear and elephant.
“We can’t teach defense to our endangered animals, but we can defend them. Support wildlife conservation and we can stop the illegal wildlife trade”, says Melo.
Carmelo, WildAid’s first NBA Basketball Player, joins other athletes including track stars Maurice Greene, Dwight Philips, Allen Johnson and Cathy Freeman who have sacrificed precious training time to star in a series of cutting-edge, inspirational and empowering PSAs to protect our earth’s endangered animals. These spots were produced by award winning advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson.
Regarding his personal reasons for cutting the ad Carmelo said “I was shocked to learn that my favorite animal, the tiger, may be down to less than 5,000 in the wild and they are still being poached for their skins and bones. I felt I had to do something. When WildAid asked me to participate, I jumped at the opportunity.”
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes. 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 $230 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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