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As the finishing touches get spliced onto Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o has shifted her focus to bigger humanitarian efforts.

The 32-year-old star is currently back in her homeland of Kenya to raise awareness of the slaughtering of elephants for their ivory tusks.

During a press conference she described how a visit to an elephant orphanage changed her life.

“It was my first time to really have an intimate experience with elephants,” she recalled. “What struck me was how big they are, how quiet they are. It was really a breathtaking experience.

Nyong’o–who was born in Mexico and raised in Kenya–also wants her presence to influence the youth.

“I really do intend for my children to have that same experience. I am proud of my Kenyan heritage, and part of that heritage is the incredible wildlife haven that is in our care. Poaching steals from us all.”

“It is time to ban sales of ivory worldwide and to consign the tragedy of the ivory trade to history,” she continued.

WildAid estimates that 30,000 elephants get killed for their ivory each year. Nyong’o will soon appear in advertisements to spread the message on a grander scale.

H/T: theGrio

Photo: Instagram / Lupita Nyong’o

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