SILVER SPRING, Md., March 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of an ongoing commitment to confronting the wildlife trafficking crisis, Discovery Communications today announced comprehensive efforts to support World Wildlife Day. Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2013 and celebrated around the world each year on March 3, this special day is being promoted this year under the theme "The future of wildlife is in our hands."
To help bolster species survival and curb wildlife crime, Discovery Communications has announced several commitments around World Wildlife Day including:
JOINING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AND MAJOR U.S. COMPANIES MAKING NEW COMMITMENTS TO COMBAT Wildlife Trafficking
As announced today by the Obama Administration, Discovery Communications has joined several U.S. companies in making new corporate commitments to combat wildlife trafficking. To support this mission, Discovery Communications has joined the U.S. Wildlife Trafficking Alliance (USWTA), a coalition of nonprofit organizations, companies, foundations and media interests working closely with the U.S. government to combat wildlife trafficking, to protect our world's rich biodiversity and to ensure a sustainable future for our ecosystems. This global initiative has the potential to reach Discovery Communications' 3 billion cumulative viewers worldwide and will aim to stop the demand for endangered wildlife products and encourage companies engaged in fueling the supply to change their practices. This campaign will include:
- Creation of PSAs in conjunction with the USWTA to stem the demand for illegal wildlife products globally
- Development of short-form content and virtual reality content through Discovery VR, the company's new virtual reality product, spotlighting the world's endangered species to raise awareness about preservation and conservation efforts
- Outreach to district and school partners to raise awareness about how teachers and students can take action to support the biodiversity of the planet through resources found on DiscoveryEducation.com
- Creation of messaging, content and virtual reality content around wildlife trafficking for the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to be featured in their 230 accredited zoos and aquariums around the U.S.
- Opportunities to sponsor or co-sponsor (with other USWTA partners) high-profile events to highlight the issue of wildlife trafficking and the steps Discovery Communications, USWTA and its partners are taking to combat the illegal trade
- Additionally, Discovery Communications is supporting World Wildlife Fund (a USWTA NGO member) in efforts to further consumer engagement campaigns, create content, and utilize joint resources to bring greater attention to wildlife trafficking
"As a purpose-driven company, Discovery Communications is deeply committed to preventing wildlife crimes and protecting these species for future generations," said David Zaslav, President and CEO, Discovery Communications. "The escalation of wildlife trafficking in recent years poses an urgent threat to conservation and global security. In conjunction with World Wildlife Day, Discovery Communications is proud to help raise public awareness and to drive efforts to help combat the impacts of wildlife trafficking on the natural environment and the people who share it."
LAUNCH OF NEW LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY PROGRAM
Today, Discovery Communications will launch a new legislative advocacy platform at Discovery.com/StopTheTraffic. Through the platform, viewers will have the opportunity to send a letter directly to their U.S. Senators asking for their support on bipartisan legislation that will combat illegal wildlife trafficking around the world. Discovery and its family of networks will amplify this call to action across Facebook and Twitter, encouraging an audience of approximately 10 million U.S.-based fans on Facebook and more than 1.5 million Twitter followers to engage with the platform.
In celebration of World Wildlife Day on March 3, Animal Planet, part of the Discovery Communications family of networks, will air a block of programming focused on wildlife throughout the day, including shows such as Savage Alaska, Wild Serengeti and Wild Appalachia. The network will also drive viewers to visit Discovery.com/StopTheTraffic to encourage them to take action.
Additionally, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Discovery Communications producers will be on location in Nepal filming the translocation of rhinos. This footage will be used to tell the stories of these majestic creatures, explain why they are endangered due to wildlife crime, and share success stories proving that we have the power to save endangered species.
LEVERAGING THE POWER OF STORYTELLING TO BUILD AWARENESS
Today, Discovery Communications will join a reception on Capitol Hill celebrating World Wildlife Day and recognizing efforts to address the global poaching crisis. During the reception, Discovery Communications' representatives will showcase original experiences created for Discovery VR to spotlight the world's endangered species. In addition, Discovery will show footage it took during a recent Congressional delegation to Africa led by Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), chairman of the subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy and Chris Coons (D-DE), ranking member of the subcommittee.
Yesterday, Discovery Communications also participated in the U.S. Department of State's "Voices for the Wild: from Inspiration to Action on Combatting Wildlife Trafficking" event centered on the power of storytelling to give voice to animals threatened by wildlife trafficking. Erin Wanner, Vice President of Production for Animal Planet, joined other wildlife conservation storytellers including filmmakers, photographers, journalists, and writers for a panel discussion focused on how empathy can lead to action in saving our most special wildlife species.
In addition, Discovery Communications showcased original virtual reality content taken by Discovery VR of rare species as well as the site of a devastating rhino poaching that the Department of the Interior's Secretary Sally Jewell visited during a recent trip to Africa. Also featured in this VR footage from her trip are actions taken by local wildlife officials to collar a rhino for tracking. Combining the immersive power of virtual reality with Discovery's 30-year history of engaging and exceptional content, these experiences focus on some of the world's most extraordinary animals comprising species of endangered or vulnerable elephants, rhinos, lions, whale sharks, manta rays and giraffes. These new endangered species experiences are available for iOS and Android, as well as at DiscoveryVR.com.
Following the event, Discovery Communications and Vulcan Productions, in partnership with the Oceanic Preservation Society, projected onto the State Department façade images of endangered animals from RACING EXTINCTION, Discovery Channel's landmark documentary examining biodiversity loss, its effect on humanity, and actions society can take to protect our wildlife. Members of NGOs, private organizations, filmmakers, and journalists convened to celebrate wildlife and watch this first-ever projection by the State Department, which literally shined a spotlight on the issue of wildlife trafficking.
To learn more about Discovery Communications' efforts to confront the wildlife trafficking crisis and get involved, visit https://corporate.discovery.com/.
About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the leader in global entertainment reaching 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries and territories. Discovery satisfies curiosity, entertains and inspires viewers with high-quality content through global brands, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as U.S. joint venture network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and through the Discovery Digital Networks portfolio, including Seeker and SourceFed. Discovery owns Eurosport, the leading pan-regional sports entertainment destination across Europe and Asia-Pacific. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools, including an award-winning series of K-12 digital textbooks, through Discovery Education. For more information, please visit www.discoverycommunications.com.
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