15 schools join fight for animals

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 October, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 October, 1994, 12:00am

SOME 15 schools have signed up to take part in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) campaign jointly organised by Body Shop, Friends of the Earth (FoE) and EarthCare.

The three groups will organise a series of seminars in these schools. They include the Hong Kong International School, King George V and the Delia School of Canada. Some 6,000 students are actively involved in the projects.

The CITES campaign will start this month, with a four-pronged attack to raise awareness of the illegal international trade in endangered species.

The CITES campaign in Hong Kong is part of a worldwide campaign organised by Body Shop International. The main aim is to collect around 10 million signatures on a global petition demanding world leaders to enforce CITES regulations and take sanctions against those countries which fail to do so.

The petition will be presented to world leaders at the United Nations' CITES, which will be held in Florida in November.

CITES has 125 member nations which govern the trade in 34,000 species of threatened animals and plants. Since its inception in the 1970s, it has passed many resolutions to protect these species from exploitation through trade, but the reality is that in many countries these resolutions are not enforced.

One of the results is that the black rhino population has dropped by 96 per cent in the last 20 years, while the number of South China tigers is as low as 30.

Stalls will be set up to collect signatures in Pacific Place next Wednesday. They will be open from 10 am to 10 pm. It is hoped that stalls will be set up in KCR and MTR stations during the coming months. Some 30,000 signatures have already been collected through the various Body Shop outlets and participating schools. The target is 100,000 signatures.

The school seminars will focus on a short play specially written for the purpose and targeted at Forms One to Three students. A wide range of materials will be used, in both English and Cantonese, giving information on the following animals: the tiger, the rhinoceros, the whale, the bear and the bird trade.

An 'Eco-Detective' Information Network is also being organised with the objective of gathering information from Southeast Asian countries. This information will be used by FoE and EarthCare. The network will function through the co-operation of the Body Shop outlets and related animal welfare organisations throughout Southeast Asia. Information is already being gathered in Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

Through personal experiences and from stories in newspapers, students will gather a mass of 'eco-information', which they will collate into a report reflecting the situation facing the endangered species around the region.