News / Africa

Chinese Actress Urges Greater Effort to End Illegal Ivory Trade

Reuben Kyama
Film actress Li Bingbing, one of China’s most popular celebrities and a rising Hollywood star, is urging governments and consumers to do more to combat illegal wildlife trade in Africa.

Speaking on a trip to Kenya this week, Li, who is also a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Program,  said citizens and the business community in Asia can play a crucial role in preventing the illegal killing of elephants in Africa by saying no to ivory products.

“I’m telling people (and businesses) in China that we can do without these ivory products, " she said.  "They need to know every time there’s an ivory made product an elephant is killed. The current poaching crisis raises major concerns about the survival of elephants and rhinos here in Kenya.”

The number of elephants illegally killed in Africa has doubled over the last decade – reaching 25,000 killed in 2012, while the ivory trade has tripled in size,  according to a recent UNEP study called Elephants in the Dust.

Rise in Illegal Killing of Elephants

Experts say the major recent spike in elephant killings is threatening the future of some elephant populations and the livelihoods of millions of people linked to tourism.

Patrick Omondi, a Kenya Wildlife Service official, said the demand for illegal ivory remains highest in the rapidly growing economies of Asia, particularly China and Thailand.

“The demand is very high especially among the Asian countries, mainly Thailand and China," he said. "Humankind can do without ivory… ivory is not medicine. It’s being used for necklases, for rubber stamps; it’s for status something human kind can do without. Our messege is that ivory is for the elephant.” 

Besides illegal killings, elephants are also threatened by the increasing loss of habitat in around 29 per cent of their range areas - primarily as a result of human population growth and agricultural expansion. According to the UNEP study, this figure could rise to 63 per cent by 2050, posing a major additional threat to the long-term survival of the species.

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner says rising wildlife crime in Kenya and other parts of Africa is an issue of global concern, impacting many regions of the world.

"The reason why we’re here with someone like Li is because she can speak to millions of people around the world in ways that most of us can’t," he said. "Li Bingbing’s work to highlight the multiple costs of illegal trade can reach millions of consumers, and encourage sustainable choices that can support the survival of Africa’s elephants.”

Li's high-profile visit to Kenya is a joint effort by the Kenya-based NGO Save the Elephants and UNEP. Her campaign is expected to reach millions of people in China and beyond, and will highlight the cost and impact of the demand for ivory on elephants in Africa.

The World Wildlife Fund estimates the global illicit trade in wildlife to be worth at least US$19 billion per year, making it the fourth largest illegal trade in the world after narcotics, counterfeiting and human trafficking.
Listen to report on Kenya elephants
Listen to report on Kenya elephantsi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid