By Ugo Aliogo
Today, on World Wildlife Day, TikTok with support from organisations like the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Latest Sightings is joining the call for greater focus on wildlife conservation in Africa by announcing the launch of the #TikTokWildlifeDay campaign. Through this initiative, TikTok is offering its global communities a fresh, immersive, and edu-taining 24-hour wildlife safari sightings experience via TikTok LIVE, which will allow users to express their creativity while increasing knowledge on wildlife protection.
World Wildlife Day is observed annually on 3 March, celebrating and raising awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. It reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime and human-induced reduction of species, which have wide-ranging economic, environmental and social impacts.
Since the outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic, international tourism has severely diminished in Africa, effectively drying up a critical source of income for conservation. Across Africa, conservation areas of all kinds, from private reserves to national parks to community-managed areas are critical for saving wild species.
#TikTokWildlifeDay was launched to drive awareness around the diverse and beautiful wildlife in Africa as well as to encourage people to visit and support wildlife areas when they can.
TikTok users are encouraged to show their support by posting their videos using the official sticker to discover their “wild animal match”. In addition to the sticker, users can tune in to watch various online safaris through TikTok LIVE through the Latest Sightings account on the 3 and 4 of March. In these LIVE virtual safaris, viewers will be taken on a special tour of four South African Reserves: MalaMala Game Reserve, Mjejane Private Game Reserve, Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary and Black Rhino Private Game Reserve, where viewers can watch a variety of incredible animals such as Africa’s famous ‘Big Five’ (leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and buffalo).
The TikTok Content Operations Manager, Africa, Boniswa Sidwaba, stated that TikTok has always been committed to being a platform that inspires creativity and brings joy, which is why this initiative is such a special one.
“TikTok is not only for entertainment – it is a space where the community can come to learn about things too. With its vast global reach, TikTok is the perfect platform to share useful information, to teach and learn and inspire others in a way that is creative, fun and engaging. We want to use this opportunity to inspire a new generation to have a positive impact on the planet and those around them as well as shine a light on important conservation areas, many of which are currently open for visitors.”
The Regional Representative for Africa, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, stated: “As we slowly return to pre-COVID tourism levels on the African continent, we must ensure that conservation of wildlife is a priority. UNEP supports TikTok’s efforts to boost awareness of the importance of conserving Africa’s biodiversity in their natural habitats for the health of people and planet.”
Continuing, Sidwaba added: “We are incredibly excited about this campaign and we want to ask the whole TikTok community to join us in supporting this significant cause. Just look for #TikTokWildlifeDay to join the fun and don’t forget to also add #WorldWildlifeDay #WWD2021 to your captions.”