September 13: Back to Africa

We touched down in Kenya late this evening, a little over a year since I first visited this beautiful country. In London we have just been filming public service announcements with the Duke of Cambridge Prince William and soccer icon David Beckham, who are helping to get the word out on the rhino horn and ivory horn issues.

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It was a real pleasure to meet both of them. Wildlife conservation is a team effort and I really look forward to working together in the future.

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I was very impressed with the Duke’s personal warmth and his dedication to conservation. He even recorded the message “when the buying stops, the killing can too” in Vietnamese and Mandarin. I’m not sure how good my Vietnamese was but I gave it a go!

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I am looking forward to tomorrow’s visits to some of the wonderful organizations that I met with last year. I am eager to hear how they are doing and the progress they are making. I am worried that the poaching may of even of got worse but at least we are starting to get the word.

As I landed in Nairobi my cellphone told me “Welcome to Saudi Arabia” which was pretty confusing!!! However, I was very encouraged to read a message from the Chinese government asking people not to buy ivory and rhino horns. This kind of thing should really help.

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TRANSLATION: The State Department wishes you safe travels. Please follow Kenyan law, do not carry illegal ivory, rhino horn, or any other wildlife products. Please do not feed or disturb wildlife. Respect local customs and remain polite and friendly. Please be aware of your surroundings, do not travel alone at night. Cars drive on the right hand side. Chinese consulate in Kenya phone number: 00254719235543.National Forestry Warning: Please do no poach, take, or use wildlife or plants to sell, carry, or mail. Pay close attention to ivory, rhino horn and other products derived from endangered animals. 

I hope that this trip will open more eyes and bring additional support to stopping the demand for endangered wildlife products like ivory and rhino horn.

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2 responses

  1. I’m so grateful for your efforts, Yao, as well as for the efforts of Prince William and David Beckham. You are all giants on the international stage and as such can have a outsized role in changing perceptions about ivory and elephants – namely, that ivory is fashionable, and that elephants don’t have to die for ivory to be harvested. People need to know the magnitude of the slaughter they are perpetuating. You are doing the most critical work possible, and I hope you ALL keep going until we can guarantee a secure life and future for our elephants!

    September 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

  2. CQ

    I agree with Melinda’s comment. Hats off to the Duke of Cambridge and the princes of basketball and soccer, respectively.

    Recently I sent iworry’s international walk for elephants announcement to an elderly friend in the U.S. who was seen sporting a very large ivory ring on her finger. I trust she’ll get the message that wearing the spoils of suffering — even if the ivory was purchased years ago — is unacceptable among people of conscience in this day and age.

    October 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm

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