Bangkok, September 19, 2022 – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), WildAid, and Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has launched the ‘Only elephants wear ivory best’ campaign to reduce the use and purchase of jewelry and accessories made from elephant ivory among women. The campaign enlists Cindy Sirinya Bishop, Thai actress and model, and Master Tossaporn Sritula, Thai Astrology and Feng Shui Expert, as campaign ambassadors to deliver the message that ivory belongs to elephants, dissuading consumers from future ivory purchases. The campaign also features two 32-second videos starring the ambassadors.
‘Only elephants wear ivory best’, builds upon USAID’s Wildlife Asia’s first ‘Beautiful without ivory’ campaign in 2020 that engaged those who seek to buy or use ivory jewelry and accessories because of its perceived beauty. “I have always said no to wearing fur or modeling jewelry made from ivory and exotic animal parts. I believe such products are most beautiful and have the most value on the animal itself. I hope that with this campaign, I can pass on the same message to the viewers and in my own small way, help reduce the demand for elephant ivory,” said Cindy Sirinya Bishop.
According to a USAID 2020 survey, Thai consumers’ intention to purchase ivory products and the social acceptability of buying and using ivory products decreased by 50 percent compared to a similar USAID survey in 2018. The perception that ‘ivory is beautiful’ decreased by 28% from 67% in 2018 to nearly 48% in 2020. The previous ‘Beautiful without ivory’ campaign and other WildAid campaigns during that period had a significant impact.
“We found it very encouraging that the ‘Beautiful without Ivory’ campaign was remarkably successful in changing attitudes in target groups in just a short time. We hope that ‘Only Elephants Wear Ivory Best’ will continue this trend. The U.S. Government remains committed to our productive partnership with Thailand’s DNP to end the illegal wildlife trade and protect our environmental and human health through reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products,” said Dr. Suphasuk Pradubsuk, Program Development Specialist, Regional Environment Office, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia.
A new element to this campaign is its aim to counter a secondary factor that drives the desire for ivory products – the belief that these products bring luck leading to a good life and happiness. “Things that can help enhance your luck must come from a good starting point. How can amulets made from ivory obtained unnaturally from the elephants make our life better? It is only by doing good and showing compassion towards fellow humans and animals that we can attract good in our lives. Ivory belongs to elephants and brings the most happiness to the elephants themselves,” said Master Tossaporn Sritula.
“Since 2018, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) has worked closely with USAID and WildAid to help reduce the demand for illegal elephant ivory products, a key strategy that aligns with the guidance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We truly believe that by putting effort into law enforcement together with positive demand reduction campaigns like ‘Only Elephants Wear Ivory Best’, we can create new value in society to halt the use of wildlife products, which will contribute significantly to the prevention of illegal trade in ivory” said Mr. Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, Director General of the DNP.
The campaign’s launch featured a virtual fireside chat among the campaign ambassadors, USAID, and the DNP, where they engaged in a lively conversation around the status of wildlife trade today and how the world needs to evolve so that use of wildlife products becomes totally unacceptable. The virtual launch is available for viewing on WildAid Thailand’s and the DNP’s Facebook page.
“Cindy and Master Tossaporn so eloquently expressed the message that ivory belongs only to elephants and they wear it best. WildAid has been running campaigns to reduce the demand for elephant ivory in Thailand since 2016 and with help from such influential voices, government agencies, and media partners, we hope to establish a new societal norm around ivory and protecting elephants. Together, we can end the demand for ivory,” said John Baker, Chief Program Officer, WildAid.
USAID, WildAid, and the DNP will continue to deliver the campaign’s communication materials through social media channels and out-of-home media placement to maximize the campaign’s reach with the goal to influence consumer perception and behavior towards elephant ivory.
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WildAid is a non-profit organization with a mission to protect wildlife from illegal trade and other imminent threats. While most wildlife conservation groups focus on protecting animals from poaching, WildAid primarily works to reduce global consumption of wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horn and shark fin soup. With an unrivaled portfolio of celebrity ambassadors and a global network of media partners, WildAid leverages more than $308 million in annual pro-bono media support with a simple message: When the Buying Stops, the Killing Can Too.
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