GRASP Ambassador Joins UN Illegal Trade Campaign
Asian supermodel Nadya Hutagalung joined A-list celebrities to launch a United Nations campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction, robbing countries of their natural heritage and profiting international criminal networks.
#WildforLife was unveiled today at the 2nd U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi, and aims to mobilize millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade.
Hutagalung, who is an Ambassador for the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), is featured in the campaign along with football star Yaya Toure, supermodel Gisele Bündchen, and actors Ian Somerhalder and Li Bingbing, among others.
“Each year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organized criminal networks motivated by profit and greed,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I call on all Governments and people everywhere to support the new United Nations campaign, Wild for Life, which aims to mobilize the world to end this destructive trade. Preserving wildlife is crucial for the well-being of people and planet alike.”
#WildforLife is run by the U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
#WildforLife seeks to link participants directly with endangered species under the tagline “Wildlife Crime Just Got Personal.”
“Today, I am giving my name to change the game for orangutans,” said Hutagalung. “These smart, loving creatures are our closest living relatives, yet as their forest homes are being hacked away for development and palm oil plantations, they become victims of the illegal trade—for their parts and for a live trade that kidnaps them for zoos and as pets for wealthy individuals. Give your name and help me stop this shameful trade.”
Other species included in #WildforLife are tigers, rhinos, elephants, sea turtles, pangolins, helmeted hornbills and rosewood. Rock star John Kay donated the use of the classic Steppenwolf song, “Born to Be Wild” – one of the top three international music licenses of all time for Universal Music – to the campaign.
Between 2010 and 2012, 100,000 elephants were killed for their ivory in Africa. Three rhinos are killed every day, and the Western Black Rhino has already gone extinct. Pangolins – scaly anteaters – are the most illegally trafficked mammal in the world. Great Apes are already locally extinct in several African nations.
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.
Stopping this trade is also crucial to achieve the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as it threatens countries’ biodiversity and people’s livelihoods, and disturbs peace. SDG 15 in particular calls for the protection of wild fauna and flora as well as the ecosystems that they depend on – including targets on combatting and addressing the supply and demand of illegal wildlife products.
Politicians, celebrities and business leaders will be making pledges during UNEA-2 and in the run-up to World Environment Day (WED), which is themed “Go Wild For Life” to tie in with the campaign. Angola, the global host of WED, will be making significant pledges to tackle the illegal ivory trade at the event.
Join the campaign by visiting www.wildfor.life and using the #Wildforlife hashtag on Twitter to share your kindred animal and pledge.