What better start to a campaign than to interest a larger-than-life world famous basketball player? Yao Ming’s stay with us at our Samburu research centre has led to a powerful campaign using billboards and TV public service announcements to tell the world that When The buying stops, the killing can too. ‘Save the Elephants’ David Daballen made great friends with Yao, and went to China to launch the campaign, a collaboration between STE, Wildaid, AWF and of course, the Yao Ming Foundation.
Next, we got actress and UNEP Goodwill ambassador Li Bingbing involved. Bingbing, actress in Resident Evil got exposed tot the same beautiful elephants we know so well in Samburu, and then came face to face with a poached matriarch. Bingbing’s reaction was to start a campaign that is taking a Chinese social media by storm. Managing to clinch title of strongest trending topic on Weibo since 2009 it has dawned a new era for elephant awareness.
At a higher level, 2014 was a year that rekindled old ties formed through Iain’s trip to China courtesy of the Heritage Foundation, as well as a visit to Save the Elephants’ research facility from Chinese government officials. Presenting leaders of consumer states with hard facts will be crucial to winning the battle against disobliging policy which inadvertently fuels the killing of thousands of elephants each year.