For more than twenty years, Corie and Peter Knights have been married to each other and their life’s work and passion — seeing an end to the illegal wildlife trade that endangers elephants, rhinos, big cats, sharks, pangolins, and many other species. In 2001, the couple founded WildAid and, together with their famous wildlife ambassadors, they have been busy protecting wildlife by reducing demand. WildAid has enlisted name-recognizable ambassadors for massive public awareness campaigns, names such as Prince William, Leonardo DiCaprio, China’s Yao Ming, Sir Richard Branson, and David Beckham, among others.
This month, they are starting a new organization to focus exclusively on Africa, the Wild Africa Fund. Peter says, “We will continue the same mass communication to change attitudes towards African wildlife and ramp up support for local, on-the-ground conservation projects. Our goals are to make Wild Africa Fund a fully African organization and the premier environmental communicator on the continent and to change public and political attitudes to poaching, illegal wildlife trade, habitat loss, and human-wildlife conflict. We will also promote international and domestic wildlife tourism and the newly-emerging carbon offset business as a huge potential source of support for conservation and improving the lives of local communities.”
“Our primary message will remain the same — we need people and wildlife to thrive together,” says Peter. “Poaching steals from us all. In Asia, WildAid's campaigns contributed to shark fin imports falling by 82%, the price of ivory going down by 80%, and the price of rhino horns is down by 65%. It's all about reducing the demand and bringing down the price," Knights states.
Peter recently received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) award from HRH Prince William for his service in working to end the wildlife trade. The OBE is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the civil service. Previous recipients of the OBE include luminaries from sports, the arts, business, and charitable works. “I am deeply honored to receive this recognition,” said Knights.
Peter and Corie moved to Lafayette with their two children, Julia and Charlie, around eight years ago for the excellent schools and natural surroundings. The family enjoys international travel and getting up close and personal with some of the world's most majestic wildlife. If you would like to book a safari with Corie and Peter and get involved with this cause, reach out to Wild Africa Fund at email@example.com or Corie@wildafricafund.org.
Special thanks to Honey Homes for sponsoring our Charitable Passion story.