Elephants

30,000 elephants killed per year for their ivory

Background: 

Between 1970 and 1989, African elephant populations were halved as legal “regulated” trade in ivory enabled laundering of illegal ivory from poached elephants. In 1989 the Convention of the International Trade of Flora and Fauna (CITES) abandoned attempts at regulation and passed a ban on international trade in ivory. Though the 1989 ban was initially a great success - cutting ivory prices overnight, reducing poaching and allowing elephant populations to start to recover - the success was short-lived. The growth of newly affluent markets in Asia, predominantly in China, “one-off” sales of African stockpiles in 1999 (to Japan) and 2008 to China and Japan, in conjunction with the old problems of corruption, poor enforcement of regulations, and a lack of prosecutions allowed illegal markets to flourish, particularly in China.  

What is WildAid doing?: 

In 2013, we launched a three-year campaign to reduce demand for elephant ivory in China. Our goal is to use existing methodology, networks, and contacts from our shark fin campaign to:

  • Raise awareness in China of the elephant poaching crisis
  • Support Chinese lawmakers in banning ivory sales
  • Measurably reduce demand for ivory in China and Thailand

The kick-off featured new public service messages from longtime WildAid Ambassador Yao Ming and actor/director Jiang Wen that were broadcast thousands of times on nearly two dozen TV channels in the first two months of the campaign.

In addition to the new TV messages featuring Yao Ming and Jiang Wen we also produced messages with China’s leading actress Li Bing Bing, actor Edward Norton, current NBA stars Tyson Chandler, Pao Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, Al Horford, and Joakim Noah, and formed a collaboration between The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), sports icon David Beckham, and Yao Ming.

We also developed partnerships with Save the Elephants, African Wildlife Foundation, the National Basketball Association, and the Clinton Global Initiative. We continue to liaise with the Chinese State Forestry Administration and are encouraged to see them reach out to all Chinese travelling abroad in a message not to buy ivory via Chinese cell phone providers.

In 2014, we are continuing to build momentum by creating new messages and extensive street-level and social media campaigns. Our continuing partnership with Sina Weibo (e.g. China’s Twitter) will help spread our messages as we create an editorial board of celebrity ambassadors to share facts alongside their personal views online.

The Impact Timeline:

  • September 27, 2014: Debuted “Last Days”, a 3-minute animated short film dramatizing the connection between the ivory trade and terrorist groups produced in collaboration with Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow at the New York Film Festival.
  • August 2014: Released three new Yao Ming billboards to accompany the Chinese premiere of "The End of the Wild." The ads were distributed throughout Beijing and Shanghai in airports, taxis, subways, bus stations and 100 bus stops.
  • August 8, 2014: Launched our Yao Ming documentary "The End of the Wild" in China, which aired in two parts on China Central Television.  
  • May 2014: Released "Beauty", a new public service announcement featuring actress Li Bing Bing in China. 
  • March 2014: Enlisted Hong Kong's biggest ivory retailer, Chinese Arts & Crafts, to stop selling ivory. 
  • March 2014: Partnered with NBA Cares to launch "No Hype", a new public service message featuring Pau Gasol, Al Horford, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and Joakim Noah. 
  • March 4, 2014: Former NBA star and WildAid Ambassador Yao Ming delivered a petition to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) asking China's government to ban the sale of ivory. 
  • February 2014: China's 36 top business leaders released a pledge to never purchase, possess or give ivory as a gift. WildAid China Board Chairman Huang Nubo spearheaded pledge recruitment including Cao Guowie, Ceo of Sina Corp., China's largest internet portal, as well as the Chairman of Lenovo and 10 individuals from the Forbes 2013 China Rich List, including Jack Ma, founder of the Alibaba Group. 
  • January 2014: We are one of a few NGOs invited to attend China's crushing of more than 6 tonnes of seized ivory in Guangdong.
  • January 2014: "Say No to Ivory" billboards featuring actress Li Bing Bing are placed at 100 bus stops across Beijing.
  • January 2014: Released "Party", a new public service announcement with actor Edward Norton
  • January 2014: Additional "Say No to Ivory" public service messages featuring China’s leading actress, Li Bing Bing, begin being broadcast in China.
  • January 2014: Yao Ming appeared on CNN International to discuss the demand for ivory and the elephants he saw killed for their tusks during his visit to Africa with WildAid.
  • 2013: Distributed our elephant public service messages throughout China and secured more than 7,697 airings across 22 TV channels, amounting to $15 million in pro-bono broadcast value.
  • December 2013: We launched "Fatherhood", a new public service message featuring The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), sports icon David Beckham, and Yao Ming.
  • November 2013: African Wildlife Foundation officially joins the “Say No to Ivory” campaign.
  • November 2013: Our Executive Director, Peter Knights, joined an expert panel in Denver, Colorado as America crushes nearly six tons of seized ivory.
  • November 2013: Together with NBA Cares, we launched a broadcast and social media campaign in China featuring Pau Gasol of the L.A. Lakers and Tyson Chandler of the N.Y. Knicks.
  • October 2013: WildAid Ambassador, artist, and activist Asher Jay created the “Blood Ivory” and “Africa’s Panda’s” campaigns for publications in China and an English language social media initiative.
  • September 2013: Actor Edward Norton becomes a WildAid Ambassador, filming a public service message to stop the demand for ivory.
  • September 2013: The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William), sports icon David Beckham, and Yao Ming meet in London to film a public service message on the ivory trade for WildAid.
  • September 2013: We re-launched Yao Ming’s blog as he re-visits Kenya to continue filming for “The End of the Wild” documentary to be released in 2014.
  • May 2013: “War” a public service message featuring China’s leading actress, Li Bing Bing, was released and began airing in China.
  • April 2013: Together with Yao Ming and Save the Elephants we launched the “Say No to Ivory” campaign in Beijing.
  • April 2013: CCTV and nearly two dozen broadcast stations began airing several public service messages featuring Yao Ming’s recent visit to Africa.
  • March 2013: We compiled the Ivory Demand in China report, showing a significant lack of knowledge among China’s residents regarding ivory poaching and a strong willingness to ban ivory once presented with the facts of the trade.
How can you help?: 
  • First and foremost, do not buy items containing elephant ivory.
  • Tell your friends and relatives that they may be contributing to the irreversible decline of elephant populations.
  • Contact your elected officials asking them what steps they are taking to end the illegal ivory trade. 
  • Sign our Ivory Free pledge, vowing to lend your voice to the 30,000 elephants who are killed in Africa each year for their tusks.