BY WILDAID TAIWAN
We’re pleased to announce that Jay Chou, one of Asia’s biggest celebrities, has joined the fight with WildAid in a new campaign against rhino horn, shark fin, elephant ivory and other products that are decimating wildlife around the world.
Chou is a native of Taiwan, once a hotbed for rhino horn trafficking and consumption. In fact, in the early 1990s, Taiwan was the biggest consumer of rhino horn, contributing to a poaching crisis at the time that decimated rhino populations. But thanks to decisive new laws and a mass education campaign, Taiwan ended its trade in rhino horn. Since then, rhino populations rebounded, until new demand for developed in Vietnam and mainland China, where rhino horn is peddled as a panacea for ailments and diseases, from hangovers to cancer. Currently about 1,200 rhinos are killed each year in South Africa.
The changes in Taiwan to end rhino horn consumption were a model for others to follow,” WildAid CEO Peter Knights said at a Tuesday launch event in Taipei with Chou. “We hope once again Taiwan can show leadership in banning ivory sales and reducing consumption of shark fin.”
Fins from up to 73 million sharks per year are used for shark fin soup. In the video message on shark fin entitled “Don’t Buy It,” Jay Chou says: “For your health, for the sharks and for the oceans, please say no to shark fin soup.” Evidence from mainland China shows a 50 to 70 percent reduction in shark fin consumption in recent years as a result of awareness campaigns and a ban on shark fin at government banquets, but Taiwan continues to both supply and consume significant amounts of shark fin.
Chou also urges people to be “Ivory Free.” Up to 33,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year. While the United States, mainland China and Hong Kong SAR have announced that they plan to end all ivory sales, Taiwan has yet to make this commitment.
Pangolins — reclusive, nocturnal mammals found in Asia and Africa — are used for their meat and keratin scales in traditional medicine, with up to one million traded illegally over the past decade.
“I can’t imagine a world without these amazing animals, but that could happen if we don’t stop the illegal trade,” Chou said Tuesday.
With media partnerships, the messages will appear on TV networks, transit, cinema and digital media in Taiwan. They will also be used as part of WildAid’s broader campaigns in mainland China (including Hong Kong SAR) as well as Vietnam, such as the WildAid and African Wildlife Foundation partnership on a rhino horn demand reduction campaign.
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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 $218 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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