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Jackie Chan, Yao Ming back ad campaign against ivory, shark fin and rhino horn trade

David Beckham, Lupita Nyong’o, Britain’s Prince William are among the celebrities to have joined charity WildAid’s drive to change attitudes towards the selling of endangered animal parts

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 11:44am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 March, 2018, 12:44pm

Chinese basketball great Yao Ming and Hong Kong martial arts star Jackie Chan are among the celebrities taking part in global conservation organisation WildAid’s latest campaign to end the illegal trade in wildlife.

Called “Partnership for the Wild”, the campaign – launched on March 14 in Africa, the US and Asia – aims to raise awareness and cut consumer demand for illicit products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup.

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Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang and actresses Li Bingbing and Angelababy are also campaign ambassadors, as is singer Jay Chou. Britain’s Prince William, former soccer player David Beckham, actresses Lupita Nyong’o and Maggie Q, and businessman Richard Branson are also supporters.

The campaign, created in partnership with outdoor advertising company JCDecaux, will help spread WildAid’s message that “when the buying stops, the killing can too”. It has been translated into six languages and will be launched in more than 10 countries by the end of this year.

More than 600 billboards featuring Yao are on display at the Beijing Capital International Airport and in other major cities in China. The campaign will be rolled out in Tanzania, East Africa, this month, and shark protection messages will be promoted in Hong Kong and Thailand.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says the huge demand for shark fin, regarded as a delicacy at Chinese banquets, is a major reason for the drop in shark numbers. Shark fin is still on the menu in Hong Kong restaurants.

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WildAid chief executive Peter Knights said: “Thanks to JCDecaux’s generosity, we will be able to reach more people in more places with messages that will help protect imperilled wildlife.”

WildAid estimates up to 30,000 elephants are killed illegally every year.

In January, Hong Kong lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to ban the trade in ivory, a move environmentalists described as “a lifeline for elephants”. Ivory sales in the city will be phased out gradually, stopping completely in 2021.