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Children’s books have taught us a lot of lessons: how to be kind, how to be brave, and how to have fun, just to name a few. One book, in particular, is on a mission to teach kids about animal conservation, and it starts with a fictional little girl with a very special purpose.
Written by actor, director, and producer Blake Freeman, Haibu is the story of a young girl who wants to show she can do more than her small size would suggest. Haibu also has a unique gift: she can talk with animals. Using this power, and teaming up with some wacky friends along the way, she saves captive animals from an abusive circus and makes headlines doing it.
Most of us may not share Haibu’s ability to converse with animals, but that shouldn’t discount her story’s message. For many kids, it can be frustrating to be written off as too young, too small, or too inexperienced to make any real positive change happen. This nearly universal truth speaks directly to a generation of children growing up in a world that feels less and less hopeful every day. Haibu is able to save animals only because of help from her friends, and it is this idea which lends itself so well to real-world conservation efforts.
Telling the Animals’ Stories
Haibu’s conservation partner, WildAid, is addressing a global problem: illegal poaching and the sale of endangered animal products that fuel the practice. WildAid knows it isn’t possible to stop poaching everywhere it happens, so they’re instead focusing their efforts on combating the demand that makes illegal wildlife hunting profitable.
In China, one of the organization’s campaigns is targeting those who purchase endangered pangolin scales for medicinal purposes. WildAid estimates that over 100,000 pangolins are poached every year, making them one of the most trafficked mammals in the world. The campaign compares visuals of new mothers caring for their babies to those same mothers caring for pangolins, employing a simple message: when the buying stops, the killing can, too.
WildAid works with governments globally to enforce hunting regulations; but, to achieve their grander goal, they need to prevent people from becoming buyers of these animal products in the first place. This is where Haibu comes into the picture. In collaboration with WildAid, Haibu is launching Haibu’s World, an online portal for games, videos, activities, and interactive content that not only extends Haibu’s story but also extends WildAid’s mission.
The portal is set to be accessible to American as well as Asian audiences, and the hope is to educate children about unsustainable products like pangolin scales, rhinoceros horns, and shark fins that their friends and family may purchase. If kids can see how these animal products affect the natural world, they’ll be less inclined to keep up the demand that fuels the poaching in the first place.
A Little Girl on a Big Mission
Just like Haibu, kids understand a lot more than adults give them credit for. Even very young children are able to make observations about the natural world, and how humans impact it. Kids want to see the good that can come from their actions, and they want to inspire a better world for everyone – animals and humans alike.
Haibu may be a book for children, but its message is one adults need to hear, too: everyone can make a difference in their little corner of the world, especially when working together.
To learn more about Haibu, visit https://haibu.love/