United Nations: Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen among others are lending their support to a global campaign launched by the United Nations against illegal trade in wildlife.
The ‘#WildforLife’ campaign, launched yesterday at the 2nd UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, aims to mobilize millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade in wildlife.
The initiative is being backed by celebrities from across the globe, including UN goodwill ambassadors.
Fernandez, a Sri Lankan model, who has starred in Bollywood movies, has lent her support for saving the tiger, while Bundchen said she will fight for sea turtles. “Jacqueline Fernandez is a tiger,” the campaign says.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said each year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organized criminal networks “motivated by profit and greed.”
The UN Chief called on governments and people across the world to support the campaign, which aims to mobilize the world to end the destructive trade. “Preserving wildlife is crucial for the well-being of people and planet alike,” he said.
The UN said profits from the illegal wildlife trade sometimes go into the pockets of international criminal networks, threatening peace and security, and damaging the livelihoods of local communities who depend on tourism.
The campaign is run by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Other celebrities battling to conserve species are Lebanese singer and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Ragheb Alama, who is supporting the helmeted hornbill, Chinese actress and UNEP Goodwill Ambassador Li Bingbing rooting for the elephant, Indonesian-Australian model Nadya Hutagalung giving her support for the orangutan, Vietnamese pop singer Thu Minh supporting the rhino, US actress Nikki Reed for the rosewood and US actor and “Vampire Diaries” actor Ian Somerhalder rooting for pangolins.
The celebrities are calling for citizen support to end the demand that is driving the illegal trade.
“It saddens me that in the 21st century, with all our knowledge and power, we are hearing more and more stories of possible extinctions due to people´s choice. We are responsible for our choices and the only ones capable of changing our future,” said Bundchen.
Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa, while three rhinos are killed every day, and the Western Black Rhino has already gone extinct, the UN said.
Pangolins – scaly anteaters – are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world while great apes are already locally extinct in several African nations.
The campaign asks participants to find their kindred species and use their own spheres of influence to end the illegal trade, however it touches or impacts them.