By Kevin Wafula
On a fact-finding mission to Kenya, film actress Li Bingbing––one of China’s most popular celebrities and a rising Hollywood star––has urged greater effort by governments and consumers to combat illegal wildlife trade.
Li Bingbing 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. The major recent spike in elephant killings––now at their highest levels in around a decade––is threatening the future of some elephant populations and the livelihoods of millions of people linked to tourism.
The visit marks the first overseas engagement for Li Bingbing, recently named ‘Asian Star of the Year’ by Variety magazine, in her role as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
A dedicated environmental campaigner, Li Bingbing founded the L.O.V.E Green Movement in 2009 which encourages Chinese citizens to adopt resource-efficient, low-carbon lifestyles. She has extensively promoted the Think.Eat.Save: Reduce Your Foodprint campaign by UNEP and partners across social media networks in China. The campaign aims to reduce food waste and food loss worldwide.
Earlier today, Li Bingbing visited the renowned David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust near Nairobi, where young elephants, many of whom have been orphaned due to poaching, are cared for and often returned to the wild.
“The current poaching crisis raises major concerns about the survival of elephants and rhinos here in Kenya,” said Li Bingbing during a press conference at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi.
“But there are also other, far-reaching impacts. Illegal killings of elephants are being linked to organized crime and the funding of armed militia groups. Many consumers in Asia do not realize that by buying ivory, they are playing a role in the illegal wildlife trade and its serious consequences. As global citizens, we need to take responsibility by learning more about the potential impacts of our lifestyle choices,” she added. More....