Ol Pejeta’s James Mwenda becomes conservation superhero in Hong Kong

James Mwenda, Ol Pejeta ranger and northern white rhino keeper, flew to Hong Kong this month by invitation of The Elephant Society. While there, James visited schools, met key conservation influencers including Jane Goodall, and was interviewed on radio – all with the aim of spreading awareness and affecting change in attitudes towards conservation and illegal wildlife trade.

The Elephant Foundation also invited Daniel Ole Sambu from the Big Life Foundation to Hong Kong, who is working with James to educate the public on the consequences of the ivory and rhino horn trade. The two were guests of honour at a gala dinner in aid of conservation at the end of their trip.

South China Morning Post has released a video which follows their project around Hong Kong:

Dorothy Cheng, of WildAid Hong Kong, met with James during his trip to discuss how to spread the story of Sudan to Chinese markets. They have also joined forces to try to stop the auction of 21 so-called ‘antique’ rhino horns on the 27th of November. WildAid has started an online petition asking Bonhams, the auction company, to cancel the auction.

James is a passionate wildlife ambassador and representative of Ol Pejeta, and is influencing hundreds of young people both in person and on social media. He was one of the team of keepers looking after Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, and formed a deep bond with him – which, when Sudan died, became fuel for his passion for wildlife and dedication to ending wildlife crime.

We spoke to James about his trip, and he told us that ‘so far [there have] been successful school talks as well as corporate group talks. Many people are happy to know about Ol Pejeta and what we do, [and] many have asked where to donate. More importantly, speaking for Sudan is such an honour for me and a pleasure for the audience. I am feeling good about this amazing level of awareness we are helping to spread.’

We are incredibly proud of James’ work, and have no doubt that his passion for wildlife and his ability to illustrate their plight will help to change perspectives and inspire change. Rangers are on the front line of the war against poaching, risking their lives daily in order to protect the vulnerable species we all love so much. Conservation simply wouldn't be possible without these brave men and women.