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Rhinos

'Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming' Nominated for an Emmy Award

We're thrilled to announce that Saving Africa's Giants with Yao Ming has been nominated for a News & Documentary Emmy Award!

This one-hour special that premiered in November on Animal Planet was nominated for Outstanding Nature Programming alongside PBS — for Ireland's Wild River, Snow Monkeys and Touching the Wild — and National Geographic Wild, for Wild Hawaii. WildAid CEO Peter Knights and Animal Planet's Erin Wanner share executive producer credits on the film. 

Yao Ming has been one of WildAid's most influential ambassadors for nearly a decade. In Saving Africa's Giants, WildAid and Yao joined forces and traveled to Africa to educate consumers about the perilous state of rhinos and elephants. The film is narrated by Edward Norton and features the work of WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation, Save the Elephants, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Daphne Sheldrick and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Dr. Will Fowlds, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Tusk Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service and South African National Parks.

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Recent Spike in Large Seizures of Ivory, Rhino Horn, Pangolin Scales

Over the past two weeks, authorities in multiple countries have arrested smugglers and seized major shipments of illegal wildlife products in Africa and Asia, including rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolin scales.

The largest such seizure occurred earlier this week in Singapore, where an estimated $6 million in ivory tusks, rhino horn and teeth believed to be from cheetahs and leopards were found stashed in a shipping container filled with bags of tea leaves. 

In each of these six separate cases, the shipments were en route to Vietnam and/or China, or involved smuggling by nationals of those countries.

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Supporting Washington State's Initiative 1401 to Fight Illegal Wildlife Trade

WildAid is proud to support Initiative 1401, a campaign in Washington state to strengthen penalties on the criminal enterprises that buy and sell products made from endangered species.

While most of WildAid’s media messages to combat the illegal wildlife trade are broadcast overseas, the United States remains one of the world’s largest markets for ivory and other products. 

Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, have enacted laws to crack down on intrastate trade. Other state legislation currently is pending, including California’s AB 96 (also endorsed by WildAid), which would close longstanding loopholes that have allowed illegal ivory sales to flourish. 

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Crime Scene, Kruger National Park

On Sunday, the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs announced that rhino poaching in this country is set to reach a new, macabre record: 393 rhinos have been illegally killed so far in 2015, compared with 331 at the same time last year.

The increase in Kruger National Park, which has the world’s largest rhino population and the worst poaching problem, is alarming — 290 rhinos poached this year versus 212 at the same time in 2014.

Today, two days after the Minister’s announcement, I drove out with South African National Parks investigators, police and a small media contingent to a remote part of the Crocodile Bridge section in the southern part of Kruger, the crown jewel of South African national parks. WildAid is facilitating the visit of a Taiwanese film crew to South Africa, which is producing a Mandarin-language documentary on the poaching crisis.

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Maggie Q Visits Vietnam to Help Save the Rhino from Extinction

With its status symbol allure and alleged medicinal properties, rhino horn is a luxury item in Vietnam, a primary market for horn that’s driving the slaughter of rhinos in Africa.

That’s why in 2014, WildAid and our conservation partners launched “Stop Using Rhino Horn," a three-year campaign with support and cooperation from the government as well as business leaders and media partners, who have contributed $1.6 million in donated media that has reached millions of consumers.

On Friday, WildAid’s Vietnam team welcomed actor Maggie Q, star of the hit CBS TV series "Stalker," and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy Claire A. Pierangelo to a launch event in Hanoi for the second year of Stop Using Rhino Horn, which now boasts over 40 Vietnamese celebrities spreading this important message.

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Uncharted Territory in Rhino Conservation

WildAid South Africa staffer Adam Welz recently penned an authoritative op-ed for Ensia the challenges in saving Africa's rhinos. As detailed often on this blog, poaching in South Africa has reached alarming levels: 1,215 rhinos were killed in the country last year, compared with 448 in 2011 and 83 in 2008. 

Welz writes:

The high-profile plight of [rhinos] has brought forth a bewildering array of proposed solutions, many of which trigger serious ethical dilemmas, risk unintended and troubling consequences or rely on unproven technology. We’re charging headlong into an era in which new technology may allow us to save species once considered doomed, but also in which threats come in previously unimaginable forms that mainstream wildlife protectors cannot handle. ...

... The steps being taken to save southern white rhinos from the relentless onslaught of ever more organized poachers and traffickers — who sell their horns for extraordinary sums in Asia to consumers who believe that rhino horn cures cancer and other ailments and businesspeople seeking status symbols — are no less fraught with uncertainty.

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Consumer Awareness of Ivory and Rhino Horn Trade’s Impact Grows Rapidly in China

SAN FRANCISCO (March 3, 2015) — Chinese consumer awareness of the ivory and rhino horn trade’s devastating impact on African wildlife has grown rapidly over the past two years, the result of major public awareness campaigns by wildlife organizations and state media, according to two new reports from WildAid, the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants as part of their joint campaigns in China.

Oped: Anti-Poaching Efforts Must Focus on Reducing Demand

The war against poaching doesn’t have to suffer the same failures as the war on drugs. But on its current course, American foreign policy risks failure at a time of unprecedented poaching across Africa. 

In a Monday oped for the Los Angeles Times, WildAid CEO and co-founder Peter Knights argues that the administration’s implementation plan for its "National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking" may compromise much-needed efforts to measurably reduce global demand for rhino horn, elephant ivory and other wildlife products by failing to marshall adequate resources.

WildAid Convenes Religious Leaders to Fight Poaching in Tanzania

WildAid: Tanzania interfaith workshop

Photo: 52 prominent religious leaders attend an interfaith workshop for wildlife hosted by WildAid in Tanzania on February 11. Courtesy Salome Gasabile

2015: A Critical Year for Saving the World’s Rhinos

Thandi and calf, photo by Adrian Steirn/Kariega Game Reserve

Whether Thandi and her new calf will be enduring symbols of survival or merely a blip of good news in the tragic war against brutal rhino poaching has yet to be seen. Despite hundreds of South African National Defence Force troops and sophisticated drone technology being deployed to intercept poachers in South Africa’s parks, numbers of dead rhino continue to increase. A record 1,215 rhinos were illegally killed in that country last year, up from 1,004 in 2013 and 668 in 2012. The high prices paid for rhino horn on black markets in China and Vietnam are financing corruption and sophisticated international criminal networks that are very difficult to defeat as we have in the “war on drugs.”

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