| Indian Celebrities
Unite to Protect Wildlife
20th February, 2004
The Asian Conservation
Awareness Programme India (ACAP) was launched on 18
February 2004, at the India habitat Centre, New Delhi,
in the presence of the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs.
Sheila Dikshit, and screen legend Shashi Kapoor. The
launch marks the start of a dynamic new initiative to
engage public and political support for conservation
in India. The audience got a preview of exclusive multi-media
messages by India’s top celebrities, including
Amitabh Bachan, Saurav Ganguly, Shashi Kapoor, Naseerudin
Shah and Sachin Tendulkar, who appealed for the protection
of endangered wildlife, their habitats and the environment.
A number of television channels have generously offered
free airtime to air these messages.
ACAP-India is a programme of WildAid
and the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).
It brings innovative new means of communication to conservation
in India, believing that through education and information,
people can be encouraged to take action in support of
wildlife and the natural environment. Central to ACAP
is its work to stop consumer demand for endangered wildlife,
which is driving many species to the edge of extinction
in a trade estimated by Interpol to be worth around
US$10-20 billion annually.
ACAP is specially designed to compliment
anti-poaching efforts and endangered species protection
laws by leveraging long-term support from decision makers,
media, businesses and public.
At the launch, Belinda Wright, Executive
Director of WPSI, pointed out that without greater awareness
of the threats to India’s environment “we
will continue to see the decimation of wildlife along
with destruction of their natural habitats”.
Steve Trent, Founder-Director, WildAid,
added that Indian wildlife conservation measures needed
“a new and determined push, and through the generous
support of these stars we hope to generate long term
support for wildlife and wild places”.
Mrs. Sheila Dikshit, commenting on
the fact that India’s treasure trove of biodiversity
was being systematically plundered to feed the international
demand for endangered wildlife products, said that “we
are committed to ensure that the world does not become
a poorer place because of a few greedy people.”
ACAP India will seek to focus specific
attention on the protection of key endangered species
including the tiger; and devise and support initiatives
to combat poaching, illegal trade and habitat loss.