Academy award winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has returned home to Kenya to spearhead a new campaign to stop the record slaughter of elephants for their valuable ivory.
The 32-year-old actress announced that she would be partnering with international conservation organization WildAid to advocate for a variety of issues, including elephant conservation and women’s issues, as well as acting and the arts in Kenya.
She said on Tuesday that her visit to a national park and elephant orphanage in Kenya had been “life-changing”.
“It was my first time to really have an intimate experience with elephants. What struck me was how big they are, how quiet they are,” she said. “It was really a breathtaking experience.”
“I am proud of my Kenyan heritage, and part of that heritage is the incredible wildlife haven that is in our care,” Nyong’o said at a Tuesday press conference in Nairobi. “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.”
Kenya banned ivory sales 25 years ago, though up to 33,000 elephants are still killed each year for their ivory, owing to an increased demand for the material in China and the Far East where it is worth more than $2,000 (1,790 euros) a kilogram.