ACAP is the first In a series of articles about the many charities Jackie Chan supports. Find out how Jackie Chan learned about ACAP and the support he has given as ACAP's International Ambassador.
Asian Conservation Awareness Programme (ACAP), a programme of WIldAid, works in the constant struggle to save the wild animals of Asia. While WildAid uses various methods to catch poachers, ACAP uses a completely different angle in the fight to keep endangered species alive. ACAP uses non-confrontational, multimedia approach to make the consumer aware of the results their buying endangered species products have on wildlife. Their slogan says it all, "When the buying stops, the killing can too ."
One of the multimedia approaches is to film commercials with Asian celebrities to educate the consumer. When Jackie Chan was filming the movie "Who Am I?" in Sun City, South Africa, ACAP contacted him. This began a relationship that led to his becoming their International Ambassador.
In 1997, ACAP decided they needed a celebrity that would be able to reach people in all of Asia. Who better than Jackie Chan. He was shown a film of the plight of the endangered species in Asia. At a press conference Jackie Chan said, "After I saw the video, really, my tears were dropping. I saw people killing tigers, elephants, turtles, bears .....these kinds of things. I said, YES, I've got to do this ."
In 1998, Jackie became ACAP's International Ambassador and recorded several pleas to consumers asking them to stop buying products, such as medicines and luxury goods, that are made from parts of endangered species.
Jackie stated, in part, "One of the most serious problems for some wild animals and plants, is the international illegal trade in their body parts. Rhino horn, elephant ivory, tiger bone, turtle shell and bear gall bladder are all examples of wild animal products used for traditional cures, exotic foods and luxury goods.
Nowhere is this demand greater than in Asia, and among Asian communities worldwide where traditional consumption of wildlife products has increased with economic development. In Asia we have already lost many populations of these animals forever. And so, we in Asia have a special duty to help protect our natural heritage.
In the past consumers of these products were often unaware of the part they play in the destruction of wild populations, but it is the buyers who indirectly pay the poachers and smugglers to kill the animals, and it is only through the consumer that we can stop the slaughter.
You too can help me to help the animals. Spread the word of what is happening. You may have an elderly relative or may know someone that might use an endangered species product as a cure or who might buy endangered wildlife souvenirs while on holiday. They might want to buy an ivory hanko or name stamp.
Ask them to think first. Do they really want to be responsible for the cruel killing of an individual animal and to contribute to the extinction of the species? Don't they know that there are herbal alternatives to endangered animals in traditional Chinese medicine? And do they really need that endangered species product? There is no excuse.
If you see endangered wildlife products on sale, inform the local authorities. They can only stop the trade in these products if they know it's going on.
Write to your government asking them to do more for endangered species.
You can also help to raise money to support conservation projects to protect animals in the wild. These are usually in the poorer countries where wardens are often risking their lives to protect the animals. They need uniforms, fuel for their vehicles, radios and other equipment.
Through the work of ACAP's awareness campaigns, we can begin to change the attitudes of wildlife consumers for good. If we can stop people buying endangered species products and find the funds to support conservation projects in the field, we can save these animals so that they will continue to survive in their natural habitat where we can all enjoy their beauty for generations to come.
Remember, when the buying stops, the killing can too.
With best wishes and thank you. "
Appeals such as these were broadcast on TV channels such as MTV Asia, Discovery Channel Asia and Animal Planet Asia, played to passengers aboard Eva Asia in March 1999 and shown in cinemas in Singapore reaching over 96 million viewers.
Jackie Chan has continued to take his role as ACAP's International Ambassador seriously since these appeals were first recorded. Nicola, Programme Co-ordinator for ACAP, wrote, "Jackie's most recent involvement was the recording of some new messages for us. Whilst on the set of Shanghai Knights, he recorded 2 english language messages for us, and then on his return to Hong Kong, recorded a message in Cantonese and also one in Mandarin. These messages are now being broadcast by our media sponsors around the world."
ACAP is also planning on launching in India later this year. It is run by a two-person office and is the most cost-effective campaign in the world. Designed to pool resources and expertise, ACAP builds creative partnerships with all sections of the society, including local wildlife groups, the media, schools, traditional medicine practitioners, governments, corporations and celebrities.
ACAP has worked with international advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson to create hard hitting advertising campaigns for cinema, TV and print media. Some of these advertisements are available as a screensaver on ACAP's website. There are also Jackie Chan screensavers available for download here.
ACAP works closely with Traditional Chinese Medicine companies and organizations in order to educate them about alternatives to producing endangered species medicinal products. The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine stated,"One of the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is to harmonise mankind with nature, it has always evolved to reflect the changes in nature...It would be against the principles of TCM to use wild species if it were to lead to an imbalance with nature such as extinction of wild species."
ACAP has made materials for school teachers available so the younger generation can be educated about the preservation of endangered species. Various art and essay competitions, awards and fund raising events have been held by schools around the world. ACAP encourages teachers everywhere to become involved in these events.
ACAP will be updating their website in a few months, so keep checking back for updated information. In the meantime, you can make a donation to ACAP through a link found at WildAid's website. Or you can mail a check made payable to "ACAP" at the address below..
For donations or contacting ACAP for competitions or fund raising events, you can write to:
Asian Conservation Awareness Programme
5 St Peters Street
London N1 8JD
tel: 44 207 359 3543
fax: 44 207 359 7123
Remember: "When the buying stops, the killing can too ." - Jackie Chan