As The Duke of Cambridge tours China this week — the first such visit by a senior member of the British Royal Family since the 1980s — WildAid and its partners are spreading the word for elephants and rhinos with public service announcements starring His Royal Highness across the country.
In 2013, The Duke was joined by WildAid ambassadors Yao Ming and David Beckham to film two PSAs (“Whole World” and “Fatherhood”) urging people around the world never to buy rhino horn, ivory or shark fin.
A new message running on the world’s largest video screen, seen by millions of people each day on the façade of Citi Tower on the Bund in Shanghai. This 40-story video screen is a prominent display on the city’s iconic waterfront.
Central China Television (CCTV), one of WildAid’s key media partners in China, is donating primetime placement for two WildAid-produced PSAs featuring The Duke. These ads will be shown a total of 150 times during the week of the royal visit. The Duke is also actively supporting efforts to reduce the wildlife trade as Patron of the Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife.
The Duke has also lent his support along with several other WildAid ambassadors to the Ivory Free campaign with partners the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants. Over 100 billboards have been placed at airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. All told, they’re spreading the word on ivory and rhino horn to hundreds of millions of people this week.
The Duke’s conservation message adds an important voice as more consumers in China have become aware of the wildlife poaching and illegal trade while momentum builds for stronger actions. In two reports published Tuesday, WildAid found a significant improvement in awareness on how rhino horn and ivory are obtained as well as how the market for such products is devastating elephant and rhino populations while supporting criminal networks in Africa and Asia. The surveys also found that 95 percent of respondents supported an ivory ban, while an equal percentage favored stricter punishments for rhino horn trade offenders.
Over the past 18 months, WildAid has seen an increasing commitment by the Chinese government to restrict the ivory market — most recently with last week’s announcement of a one-year ban on imports of African ivory carvings. A ban on the China’s domestic ivory market is what’s truly needed to save Africa’s elephants, and we’re very hopeful this can be achieved.
On Monday, The Duke met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where they discussed wildlife issues, according to the BBC. On Wednesday, His Royal Highness is scheduled to travel to China’s Yunnan province, home to an estimated 250 Asian elephants. There he will visit an elephant sanctuary and give a speech at a regional conservation conference.