Lupita Nyong'o wants you to save elephants
Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o returned to her native Kenya to spearhead a new campaign to stop the record slaughter of elephants for their valuable ivory.
“I am proud of my Kenyan heritage, and part of that heritage is the incredible wildlife haven that is in our care,” said the Mexican-born 32-year old actress at press conference in Nairobi.
Nyong'o won a Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of a slave girl in 12 Years A Slave (2013).
“I want to encourage people all over the world to learn more about these incredible animals...I ask the world to end the current elephant poaching crisis by being ‘Ivory Free.’
"It is time to ban sales of ivory worldwide and to consign the tragedy of the ivory trade to history.”
More than 30,000 elephants are killed every year to satisfy demand for ivory in China and the Far East where it is worth more than US$2,000 (S$2,698) a kilogramme.
“Elephants are one of our big five. We have their image on our money.
"I know this is something that is a great source of pride for Kenya. This is global heritage, but it’s in our care,” Nyong'o later told BBC in a television interview.
The tusks are “a very small part of an elephant to lose the entire animal form”.
Kenya outlawed poaching more than 25 years ago, but a surging appetite for ivory in China has bolstered the trade.
Save the Elephants, a partner of WildAid, reported in December that the price of raw ivory tusks has tripled in just four years.
Nyong’o spent time in Amboseli National Park with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage, meeting with local conservationists and filming messages for international distribution in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States.