WildAid, a world-renowned wildlife conservation group working to end the illegal wildlife trade and the poaching of elephant ivory, shark fins and rhino horn, has partnered with the filmmakers of Jurassic World, as well as star Bryce Dallas Howard, to produce a PSA campaign helping to save the endangered rhinoceros from extinction.
Shot on location during the production of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the PSA features Howard alongside the Sinoceratops — one of the incredible new dinosaurs featured in the film.
Directed by Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’s Executive Producer and co-writer Colin Trevorrow with the support of Universal Pictures and producers Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley, the PSA will be included as part of WildAid’s rhinoceros conservation campaigns in Asia and Africa. The materials will be distributed across multiple media outlets including movie theaters, television, billboards, print and social media in China, Vietnam, South Africa and additional global markets as part of the world’s largest wildlife conservation awareness program.
Although dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, the fate of the rhinoceros is firmly in human hands. While many endangered species are threatened due to loss of habitat to human expansion, African rhinos are solely threatened by demand for their horns for cures and carvings in China and Vietnam. There are fewer than 30,000 individuals of the five surviving rhino species left, and in March, the last male Northern White rhino, Sudan, passed away.
“The bad guys in the Jurassic movies look at dinosaurs and don’t see the miracle that they are,” says Howard. “They see money and use crime in order to control and trade these animals. There’s a clear parallel with the incredibly destructive rhino horn trade. When I was first shooting scenes for Jurassic World, interacting with dinosaurs, every single time, my mind would go back to that first encounter that I had at age of 11 in Botswana seeing an elephant. To be in the wild next to such an enormous and majestic creature that has been around way longer than you have is truly a privilege, and we must all fight to preserve that privilege and these incredible creatures.”
“We want to help people understand our relationship with the planet and the animals we share it with,” adds Trevorrow. “The Sinoceratops was originally found in the Shandong province of China. She has never been in any of the Jurassic movies before, and she is one of the most beautiful dinosaurs we’ve ever seen. She is similar to a rhinoceros in size and disposition — a peaceful herbivore. We felt she would be a perfect example of the kind of animal that we need to protect.”
Once used as a fever-reducing medicine, rhino horn, which is primarily keratin like human fingernails, is now used for carvings, for treating various ailments and is even falsely claimed to help cure cancer. More than 1,000 rhinos are poached each year just for their horns.
WildAid CEO Peter Knights states, “Just like in the Jurassic movies, these animals are threatened by corruption and greed. We hope this PSA can help wake people up to this unfolding tragedy around the world.”
WildAid’s rhino campaign, featuring Jackie Chan, Yao Ming, Li Bingbing, Sir Richard Branson, Prince William, David Beckham, Maggie Q and a host of prominent Asian stars, has helped to raise awareness and reduce demand for rhino horn. In the last three years, the price of rhino horn has fallen from $65,000 a kilo to around $22,000 a kilo. In Vietnam, rhino horn sales have been banned and awareness about the product has increased over the past few years: A 2016 campaign survey in Vietnam showed that just 23% of respondents believe rhino horn has medicinal effects compared with 69% in 2014, a 67% decline. Only 9.4% of respondents believe rhino horn can cure cancer, down from 34.5% in 2014, a 73% decline.
In South Africa, home to 80% of surviving rhinos, more than 1,000 rhinos a year have been poached since 2013. WildAid’s “Poaching Steals From Us All” campaign is calling on the new administration to prosecute the known rhino horn kingpins who have been let off or bailed out there and in Mozambique under the previous administrations. “President Ramaphosa has an opportunity to save the rhinos by countering the corruption that has protected the syndicates’ leaders,” added Knights.
The message was generously produced for WildAid by Universal Pictures, who are again teaming up with WildAid later this year through DreamWorks Animation to produce messages featuring Po, the Kung Fu Panda.
WildAid started the rhino horn campaign in partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation in China in 2012 and then in Vietnam in 2014 with the goal of reducing the demand for rhino horn. The campaign produced video messages and billboards featuring Yao Ming, Jackie Chan, Prince William, David Beckham, Sir Richard Branson, Maggie Q, Phan Anh, Thu Minh, Ma Weidu and dozens of other celebrities in China and Vietnam. Since its inception, the rhino campaign has leveraged over $169 million in pro bono airtime and media placement for campaign messages through an extensive network of media partners.