As explained on their website, "WildAid works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products and to increase local support for conservation efforts." They are the only organization in the world focused on reducing demand for endangered species products and they target many of their efforts in Asia where demand is highest.
After watching this very high quality intro video, I learned the following shocking statistics about the illegal animal trade:
- 33,000 elephants are killed each year for their ivory
- the world's tiger population has dropped from 100,000 in 1900 to 3,800 today
- 90% of the world's rhinos have been poached in the last 40 years
- since 2000, 1 million pangolins have been trafficked for their meat and scales
- 73 million sharks per year are killed so their fins can be used for soup
In order to get the message across that conservation can be exciting, WildAid uses a small budget and lots of donated media to deliver messages with the quality of the worlds best tv ads. You can see examples of these videos here.
In addition to slick production value, WildAid harness the power of celebrity. They have an impressive roster of celebrity ambassadors who all champion different animals: Yao Ming (sharks), Lupita Nyong'O (elephants), Zhang Ziyi (pandas), Leonardo DiCaprio (tigers), Jackie Chan (pangolins), and Prince William and David Beckham (elephants and rhinos and sharks, oh my).
Their awareness campaigns have made a difference. Consumption of shark fins in China has gone down 50-70% in recent years. Three years after a 2012 campaign against the ivory trade featuring Yao Ming, prices for ivory had dropped 50% and the governments of China and Hong Kong announced they would ban ivory sales. In Kenya, elephant poaching has dropped from 390 per year to 90.
You can see what WildAid is doing for your favorite animal by checking out their programs page. To support their work you can make a donation, apply for a job or spread the word on social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @WildAid. Now do yourself a favor and go to the website to learn more about pangolins!