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Yanni and WWF Partner to Save Wild Pandas

Global music artist to promote awareness of giant panda conservation

WASHINGTON, DC, April 9, 2012 – World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is pleased to announce a collaboration with legendary composer and performer Yanni, aimed at raising awareness of giant panda conservation. The collaboration will kick off in early April 2012, before the first leg of his 75-date North American tour commencing April 17th.

Yanni was inspired to help protect giant pandas after he “adopted” a two-month old panda cub at the Chinese Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in October 2011. Yanni was the first western artist to be given the honor of symbolically adopting one of Chengdu’s pandas (a privilege reserved almost exclusively for nations, rather than personalities). He named the panda “Santorini” after one of the most beautiful islands in his native Greece. “Santorini” is also one of Yanni’s most well known compositions and contains the word “Irini,” which means “peace” in Greek. He views his adopted panda as “the beautiful panda of peace.”

“One of the great things about my career is it gives me the opportunity and the privilege to travel all around the world and go to different countries and meet so many different cultures,” Yanni said. “There’s a lot of learning that takes place when you do that. While in China, I was deeply honored by the people of China with the adoption of a two-month old giant panda cub. I immediately saw the importance of saving these inspirational animals. Collaborating with World Wildlife Fund will bring awareness to the plight of the giant panda and help save this animal from extinction. Like any proud father I think that my panda is the most beautiful panda in the world. Long Live Santorini.”

“As the logo of WWF for more than 50 years, the giant panda has inspired millions to join the fight to save all the magnificent species that share our planet,” said Carter Roberts, President and CEO of WWF. “Joining together with Yanni, we will tell the story of giant pandas, build support for their protection, and mobilize people to conserve nature around the world.”

As part of the collaboration, WWF and Yanni have created a $50 Limited Edition “Santorini” Panda Adoption, allowing supporters to symbolically adopt a panda. As a thank-you to those individuals who support WWF’s efforts through this program, supporters will receive a symbolic adoption kit that includes a plush panda, a photo of Yanni and Santorini, a DVD with exclusive content (including footage of Yanni and Santorini), a certificate of adoption, a re-useable tote bag, and an information card with a panda photo.

Yanni has guaranteed $50,000 in donations, the equivalent of 1,000 “Santorini” symbolic panda adoptions, to support WWF’s panda conservation efforts. All donations received exceeding $50,000 will support WWF’s conservation efforts to protect wildlife and their habitats around the world.

To symbolically adopt a panda, please visit: worldwildlife.org/Yanni. For additional information and to learn about the full story, please visit: www.Yanni.com/Santorini. Information regarding the kits will also be distributed at all U.S. concerts during Yanni’s 2012 North American tour. 

On Tuesday, April 10 at 2:00pm EDT, Yanni will be speaking to members of the media about his upcoming tour and relationship with WWF. Members of the media are encouraged to join the call, but space is limited. If interested, please contact Erin Cook at Jensen Communications, erin@jensencom.com or (626) 585-9575.

On Wednesday, April 11 at 1:00pm EDT, Yanni will be joined by award-winning journalist Lauren Sanchez to do a live webcast. Yanni will share with the webcast audience why he's committed to protecting pandas, the importance of WWF's work and why he's teaming up with WWF, and he'll take questions live, from fans.
To join the webcast, please go to:

PHOTOS AND VIDEO AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

  • photos/video of giant pandas
  • photos of Yanni at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

ABOUT GIANT Giant PandaS
The giant panda is the rarest member of the bear family and among the world’s most threatened animals. Today, the panda's future remains uncertain. As China's economy continues rapidly developing, this species faces a number of threats. Recently, WWF has been supporting the government of China to undertake its National Conservation Program for the species and its habitat. For more information, please visit worldwildlife.org/pandas.

ABOUT YANNI
Yanni is a Grammy®-nominated and multi-platinum selling global artist whose contemporary symphonic music has inspired millions of fans around the world. Yanni: Live at El Morro, Puerto Rico is set for CD and DVD release by Sony Music on April 17th, also the kick-off date for Yanni’s world tour. International touring plans for 2012 and 2013 will include South America, Australia, South Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Please visit www.Yanni.com/tour for more information.  

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For more information, please contact:

Jenna Bonello, World Wildlife Fund, (202) 495-4541, jenna.bonello@wwfus.org

Erin Cook, Jensen Communications, (626) 585-9575, erin@jensencom.com

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