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April 22, 2015

It’s Our Turn to Lead - Elephant Awareness Month Launch Ceremony

Guardian of the Elephants Alliance

  • A child colors a picture of an elephant during an Elephant Awareness Month event in Beijing. Iris Ho/HSI

On the 46th World Earth Day, Roots & Shoots, the flagship environmental education program of the Jane Goodall Institute China, together with National Zoological Museum China, Humane Society International and Renmin University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources—known as the Guardians of the Elephants Alliance—celebrated the launch of the Elephant Awareness Month at the National Zoological Museum China. Roots & Shoots and hundreds of college students from Renmin University of China, China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing Forestry University and Beijing Foreign Studies University encouraged the public to protect endangered elephants by stopping the consumption of ivory.

Elephants, the biggest existing land mammals on earth, are facing an unprecedented threat. Guardians of the Elephants project aims to ensure the voices of young Chinese leaders are heard on this issue. A series of online and campus activities will be held during the Elephant Awareness Month from April 22 to May 22 to spread greater awareness about elephant protection to the Chinese public.

During the launch, Dr. Jane Goodall, the founder of Roots & Shoots and the UN Messenger of Peace, through a video message, urged university student leaders to get involved by sharing the cruel truth about the ivory trade.

Juan Chen, executive director of JGI China, said: “In partnership with Humane Society International, Roots & Shoots started the Guardians of the Elephants alliance at the Roots & Shoots 2014 Summit, to educate young people about the truth behind the ivory trade and encourage them to take action. Our goal is to increase public awareness of elephant conservation and promote changes in consumer attitudes and behavior.”

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Iris Ho, wildlife program manager of Humane Society International, said: “We are encouraged to see the younger generation of Chinese step forward and be part of the global movement to save elephants from the blood ivory trade. The continued survival of elephants in the wild is an environmental legacy that we must preserve for future generations.”

In addition, Mr. Xin Sun, director of the National Zoological Museum China and Dr. Yan Zeng from the Endangered Species Scientific Commission (China Scientific Authority for CITES) shared expert opinions on the elephant poaching crisis, the ivory trade and how Chinese university leaders can have an impact on this issue in China.

The launch featured a screening of the powerful documentary Pembe Ya Ndovu, directed by Steve Oliver Taylor. The documentary film takes the viewer on a journey across Africa and looks and the issue of poaching and the sale of elephant ivory. This was the film’s first screening in mainland China.

Media Contacts:
Roots & Shoots: Xue Li, Communications Coordinator, Beijing Office, 010 6778 3115, pr@jgichina.org 

HSI: Raúl Arce-Contreras: +1 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org

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