IFAW Launches China-Africa Wildlife Ambassador Initiative

IFAW Launches China-Africa Wildlife Ambassador Initiative
Monday, 16 November, 2015
Beijing, China

Today, International Fund for Animal Welfare (www.IFAW.org) launched the China-Africa Wildlife Ambassadors (CAWA) initiative by taking the first group of Chinese wildlife ambassadors to Kenya. 

 “African elephants are facing an unprecedented surviving crisis. On average, every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory. Ivory trade and consumption is wiping out the largest and the most ancient species on the earth”, said Grace Gabriel, IFAW Asia Regional Director. “To reduce demand for ivory iconic figures from all sectors of Chinese society are speaking up against ivory trade and mobilizing society to stigmatize ivory consumption.”

In September this year, Chinese president Xi Jinping announced that China will take significant and timely steps to halt the domestic commercial trade of ivory. “From ivory destruction to  trade bans, China is determined to contribute to elephant conservation by eliminating demand for ivory.  In advance of President Xi’s trip to  the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa, the delegation of Chinese wildlife ambassadors will showcase that determination. More importantly, we hope these Chinese wildlife champions can mobilize Chinese nationals living in Africa to join the endeavor in conserving African elephants”

The delegation of wildlife ambassadors comes from IFAW media partners including JC Decaux China, iFENG.com, Beijing MTR Corporation, Shenzhen Press Group, Fulong Media and DEEP magazine. The in-kind support from these media corporations, valued at tens of millions of US dollars, enabled IFAW’s campaign to penetrate 80% of urban China in a short eight-month period. .

“Every media should assume the mission of delivering truth and advocating for ethical consumption. As members of the media, we need to not only lead the public to reject wildlife products such as ivory, but also show them the beauty of wildlife we need to preserve all together. We need them to understand that wildlife are worth more alive than dead”, said Maggie Cheng, JC Decaux’s Tianjin branch manager.

IFAW protects elephants in Kenya through habitat conservation and enhancing anti-poaching and enforcement capacity. “If combating wildlife crime is to succeed, it requires that wildlife range states, transit and consumer countries all work together to break every link on the illicit trade chain”, said James Isiche, IFAW’s East-Africa Regional Director, “This visit to Kenya is timely and I am extremely delighted that the CAWA initiative is building the bridge between China and African countries to join their effort in saving elephants.”

In the following 7 days, the IFAW CAWA delegation will have discussion with Kenyan officials from Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya Wildlife Service and Ministry of Tourism. They will also meet with China Embassy in Kenya and representatives from Chinese communities in Kenya. The delegation will also present on a wildlife conservation forum at the 40th Africa Travel Association conference, and interact with representatives from the tourism industry.

IFAW Wildlife ambassador, well-known China Central Television anchor and the founder of China’s first animal welfare foundation, Yue Zhang said:” In the coming days, Chinese citizens and companies in Africa will assume heavier responsibility of conserving wildlife. While contributing to the economic prosperity between China and African countries, they also need to make effort in boosting eco-tourism development and protecting the natural heritage we all share together.

“IFAW China-Africa Wildlife Ambassadors are coming to Kenya with good wishes and in good faith. We welcome Chinese companies and citizens in Africa join our initiative. In future, we hope they can proudly show the world that where there are Chinese people, there is hope for animals.”

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About IFAW

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Photos are available at www.ifawimages.com

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jimmiel Mandima at IFAW
Deputy Vice President of Conservation
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime