Africa’s rhino population is currently estimated at 25,000 and it is suggested that if poaching continues at current rates, there will no longer be any rhino left in the wild by 2025. Photo by Billy Dodson.
Partnership Aims to Curb Demand for Rhino Horn Through Multimedia Campaign Educating Rhino Horn Consumers in China
NAIROBI, Kenya, May 4, 2012 -- The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and WildAid have entered into a strategic partnership whereby the two conservation organizations will jointly develop and conduct a multimedia public awareness campaign in China, one of the countries with the largest demand for rhino horn, to educate people on how the horn is procured illegally by killing rhinos.
The partnership and campaign are aimed at dismantling the black market demand for rhino horns, which has led to an alarming rise in rhino poaching in Africa in the past few years.
"Rhino poaching is taking place on African soil, but the crisis doesn't end in Africa," said Patrick Bergin, CEO of African Wildlife Foundation. "While real efforts are being made on the ground to halt the poaching, we also need to reach out to those who buy the horn and show them the damaging effects of their actions. This partnership leverages African Wildlife Foundation's expertise around rhino conservation and WildAid's network and experience operating in Asia to put an end to the demand for rhino horn."
This demand has been steadily increasing in the past few years due to a growing urban middle class in China--projected to grow by another 250 million in the next 15 years--and the emergence of a new market in Vietnam. As the buying power of these Asian economies has burgeoned, so, too, has rhino poaching. Whereas only 13 rhinos were poached in 2007 in South Africa, 448 were killed in 2011. Currently rhinos are being poached at a rate of almost two a day in Africa.
The AWF/WildAid campaign will develop a series of high-impact public service announcements (PSAs) featuring leading Asian figures in sports, entertainment, and business to generate social pressure against rhino horn consumption. Outreach will be conducted in China, via television broadcasts, online short films, billboards and transit ads, airport advertisements, and an extensive social media campaign. Particular attention will be paid to developing government support for the campaign.
WildAid has previously conducted similar public awareness campaigns in China, using star power from Chinese celebrities such as retired NBA player Yao Ming and action star Jackie Chan to educate the public about shark finning, tiger poaching, and other devastating effects of the unsustainable wildlife trade. The campaigns used the slogan, "When the buying stops, the killing can too."
"Our campaigns have reached hundreds of millions of Chinese on a repeat basis," said Peter Knights, WildAid Executive Director. "The rhino campaign will build on this. The partnership with African Wildlife Foundation gives us the chance to also reach Chinese living or working in Africa."
The campaign will kick off with an online survey that will assess current public awareness in Asia about Africa's rhino poaching situation.
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About African Wildlife Foundation
Founded in 1961, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is a leading conservation organization focused solely on the African continent. AWF's programs and conservation strategies are based on sound science and designed to protect both the wild lands and wildlife of Africa and ensure a more sustainable future for Africa's people. Since its inception, AWF has protected endangered species and land, promoted conservation enterprises that benefit local African communities, and trained hundreds of African nationals in conservation--all to ensure the survival of Africa's unparalleled wildlife heritage. AWF is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Kenya and registered as a 501(c)(3) in the United States. For more information, visit www.awf.org.
WildAid's mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection. The illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth over US$10 billion per year and has drastically reduced many wildlife populations around the world. Just like the drug trade, law and enforcement efforts have not been able to resolve the problem. WildAid is focused on reducing the demand for these products, with the strong and simple message: When the buying stops, the killing can too. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and global network of media partners, it is able to deliver high-impact, culturally sensitive multimedia campaigns, leveraging well over US$200 million in pro-bono media support, and reaching up to one billion people every week. For more information, visit www.wildaid.org.
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