By 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 Environmental 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. More....