As one of China’s most popular actresses, when Li Bingbing speaks up for a cause, millions hear it. And thanks to her partnership with WildAid, that’s exactly what’s about to happen.
As a WildAid Ambassador, Li will appear in a series of PSAs to air in China. The five spots are part of the “Say No To Ivory and Rhino Horn” Campaign, the world’s largest wildlife awareness campaign. The project was launched in Beijing last month by fellow star Yao Ming and WildAid, Save the Elephants, and the African Wildlife Foundation.
China is the world’s leading country in ivory consumption, which makes Li’s cause even more important. Reducing the Chinese demand could have a huge impact on worldwide poaching. It’s a fact that Li points out in the first PSA.
“There is a war in Africa you don’t hear about in the news. A war that kills 25,000 elephants a year, for ivory. A war that sponsors civil wars and criminal gangs, paid for with ivory. But this is a war we can stop, by simply saying no to ivory. When the buying stops, the killing can, too.”
As part of her education for the campaign, Li recently embarked on an official United Nations Environmental Programme (she’s also a Goodwill Ambassador) trip to Kenya, where she learned firsthand about the impacts of poaching and the increasing threat to elephants and rhinos.
“We are incredibly thankful that Li Bingbing is joining our campaign as a WildAid Ambassador to shift China’s view of ivory and rhino horn consumption,” said WildAid Executive Director Peter Knights. “Due to the ivory and rhino horn trade as many as 25,000 elephants are killed every year and up to 95% of the world’s rhinos have been lost in the past four decades, with the last of the species in Mozambique recently falling victim to poachers. We must act now to save these endangered animals from extinction.”
WildAid’s Chinese campaigns have been successful in the past. In 2012, the group launched an effort to reduce shark fin consumption in China, which eventually resulted in a 70% decline. Knights hopes for the same kind of results with the new campaign.
“Our shark fin campaign proved that our model of targeting the consumer has a tremendous impact on the lives of endangered animals,” he said. “Today marks another successful step in our partnership with China’s leading conservationists as well as the nation’s broadcast media and government.”
Li isn’t the only international star speaking out against the horn and ivory trade. Earlier this month Princes Charles and William spoke about the importance of wildlife protection in Africa.
To check out the first of Li’s PSAs, entitled WAR, check out the video below. It’s subtitled, but does contain graphic images of elephant poaching.