Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Chinese star power enlisted to battle rhino poaching
by Staff Writers
Entabeni Game Reserve, South Africa (AFP) Sept 22, 2013

Rhino conservationists are harnessing Chinese celebrity power in a bid to cut Asian demand for rhino horn, which has caused record slaughters in South Africa over the past six years.

Chinese-American actress Bai Ling has been deployed to South African game reserves as part of an awareness campaign on illegal rhino killings, which look set to break last year's record 668 poachings.

The actress, who is in her 40s but remains coy about her age, is known for roles in the US television series "Lost" and "Entourage" and films like "Wild Wild West" and "The Crow".

The spate of rhino killings has been triggered by demand for horn in Asia where consumers, especially in China and Vietnam, believe they have medicinal value.

Wealthy businessmen, celebrities and public officials in Vietnam buy rhino horn as a status symbol, according to a study recently released by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

In fact, the horns are made up of the same substance as human fingernails.

Bai, who was born in Chengdu in southwest China, expressed shock at the brutality of the rhino killings.

"I didn't know how badly they were hurt and wounded and treated, and how lonely. And how they're going to die," she told AFP after seeing a video of brutally maimed rhinos.

Poachers shoot bullets or a dart at the rhino, then hack off its horn with machetes, often cutting into the skull while the animal is still conscious.

"On my Chinese blog, I've written a story about how cruel it is to kill a rhino to cut off its horn," she said following an emotional reaction to the screening.

'They don't know what's going on'

Chinese consumers have to be educated about rhino poaching, Bai added.

"They don't know what's going on. They believe there are thousands and thousands of rhinos over there, and they don't know how the rhino horn is produced. Maybe they think this is just like cows or chickens," she said.

In fact the number of rhinos has dwindled to about 25,000.

"Basically you have 85 percent of all the rhinos in South Africa," she said during a visit to the Entabeni Game Reserve in South Africa's northern Limpopo province.

"If we don't stop this, they're going to be finished. So no rhinos anymore."

Campaign organiser Dex Kotze hopes Bai's active social media profile will promote the message in Asia.

"This was the first group of celebrities invited to Africa to assist us in creating global awareness about rhino and elephant poaching," Kotze told AFP.

"This is a social media operation, social media marketing, that's why we needed celebrities active on social media," he said.

"We invited Bai Ling because she has more than two million fans and followers in Asia, especially in China, where the market for rhino horn and elephant ivory is."

Bai has already posted pictures of herself petting a young rhino at Entabeni's orphanage for animals whose mothers have been slaughtered on weibo, China's version of Twitter or Facebook, as well as English and Mandarin blogs.

"Please help me to spread the word to find a way to stop poaching and save those precious rhinos!!!" she blogged.

Christie Brinkley also campaigns

Sophisticated international syndicates run the rhino trade, while prosecutors have mostly targeted lower-level poachers.

New hunters are easily drawn from the impoverished communities surrounding Africa's nature reserves.

Even the South African army's deployment in the world-famous Kruger National Park, along with hi-tech surveillance equipment, have failed to curbed the killings.

Over 600 rhinos have been poached in South Africa this year, up from 13 in 2007.

"If you don't find the mother's body, the baby will stay next to it for days on end and just die of starvation and dehydration," said American model and actress Christie Brinkley, who has also been involved in the campaign.

Brinkley, 59, who has been involved in environmental activism in the past, said multiple strategies were needed to target the poaching.

They involve "mainly raising the consciousness of the people who are creating the demand, and also trying to replace the income that the poachers desperately need to feed their families," she said.

Bai and Brinkley will next travel to Kenya to extend the campaign to elephant poaching for Asia's ivory trade.

Over 25,000 elephants were poached last year, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).


Related Links
Darwin Today At

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Experts to probe deaths of 64 elephants in Zimbabwe park
Harare (AFP) Sept 20, 2013
Zimbabwean wildlife authorities will dispatch a team of experts to the country's largest game park Saturday to investigate the poisoning deaths of 64 elephants, an official said. "Experts drawn from seven ministries will travel to Hwange National Park tomorrow (Saturday) to make findings on the disaster at the park where 64 elephants have died from cyanide poisoning," the director general of ... read more

Australians should be told of boat turn-backs, ex-navy chief

Obama: Navy Yard shooting must inspire gun law change

In Mexico, storms dredge up human errors

Fukushima town protests Abe's global promise on crippled plant: reports

Environmentally friendly cement is stronger than ordinary cement

X-ray science taps bug biology to design better materials and reduce pollution

Catalysts team up with textiles

Raytheon, Falck Schmidt unveil remotely operated long-range surveillance system

Malaysian natives protest as dam begins to fill

Antibacterial products fuel resistant bacteria in streams and rivers

U of M researchers discover early-warning system to prevent fishery collapse

Online citizen scientists: Classify plankton images

Russia mulls piracy charge against Greenpeace protesters

Trail of melting Swiss glacier shows climate change in action

Research: Australian Aboriginals showed adaptability in last ice age

Unprecedented rate and scale of ocean acidification found in the Arctic

Brazil rancher's conviction upheld in US nun's death

Vaccinating cattle against E. coli O157 could cut human cases of infection by 85 percent

Sensors allow for efficient irrigation, give growers more control over plant growth

Different forage affects beef cattle weight, taste

More than 100 killed in Mexico landslides, flooding: official

Mexico looks to rebuild from deadly, costly twin storms

Flight chaos as typhoon lashes southern China, killing three

25 dead as typhoon hits China, flight chaos in Hong Kong

160 UN peacekeepers desert Mali posts: military

Three Ivorian police killed in attacks

Uganda suspends 24 officers over Somalia corruption

Mali ministers met by hail of stones in Tuareg stronghold

Findings in Middle East suggest early human routes into Europe

Paleorivers across Sahara may have supported ancient human migration routes

Orangutans plan their future route and communicate it to others

New evidence that orangutans and gorillas can match images based on biological categories

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement