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Chris Tucker, Owen Wilson and Jack Black rank highly among the top actors whom Jackie Chan has collaborated with. Chan’s most recent project, however, features an unlikely co-star: A rhinoceros named Spike.
Spike is a 6-year-old white rhino who weighs a whopping 6,300 pounds and is over six feet tall. A victim of poaching, Spike was orphaned in Africa and unable to be returned to the wild. He was eventually rescued and brought to America. Since then, Spike has starred in movies and even a Super Bowl ad, but he has also appeared in a number of conservation awareness campaigns, including a new PSA he filmed this week with Chan for the organization WildAid. The group seeks to end the estimated $10 billion a year illegal wildlife trade in live animals and animal parts, which is decimating ecosystems worldwide.
Chan, an ambassador for the group, has filmed a number of public service announcements for the organization since 2002, including a PSA to prevent the poaching of tigers. He most recently filmed a PSA at Sun Valley’s West EFX, a design and effects studio, to discourage consumers in China and Vietnam from purchasing products made from rhino horn.
The PSA is being produced as the result of a partnership between WildAid and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF). The groups kicked off their “Say No To Rhino Horn” campaign — lead by former NBA player Yao Ming who also worked on the “Say No To Ivory” campaign — in Beijing this April. Chinese actress Li Bingbing, who will appear in the fourth installment of the Transformers series, signed on in May.
Rhino horn, which is valued for its believed medicinal properties, has become extremely desirable, leading to the widespread poaching of rhinos in Africa. The biggest markets for rhino products are in China and Vietnam, where a single horn can be sold for $200,000. According to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs, 668 rhinos were poached in that country in 2012. Africa’s Western Black Rhinoceros, a rhino subspecies, recently went extinct due to habitat loss and poaching.
Executive director and founder of WildAid, Peter Knights, tells THR: “We urgently need to bring the epidemic of rhino poaching to people in Asia where rhino horn products are being consumed and who better than Jackie to carry that message.” He’s worked with Chan on conservation issues since 1996. “He was really the first prominent voice to speak out against illegal wildlife trade in Asia and has helped to greatly raise awareness of the plight of tigers and other species since. Jackie loves animals and feels passionately about their protection and his leadership inspired many other Asian stars to become involved.”
Chan’s rhino poaching PSA will hit the media in a few months time.
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