In accordance with Biological Diversity Conference of Parties (COP 15) last week, China Customs, in partnership with the China Wildlife Conservation Association, WildAid, TRAFFIC, IFAW, and WCS released a series of billboards titled, “Protect Biodiversity by Saying No to Wildlife Smuggling”. These billboards appear on customs points at airports, train stations, and border crossings to remind travelers not to bring endangered wildlife products such as ivory, rhino horn or pangolin scales in or out of China.
These billboards are designed by WildAid, as this is the second time we have teamed up with China Customs to prevent the smuggling of endangered species and their products by domestic and international travelers.
In 2019, one year after China implemented a full ban on commercial ivory sales, China Customs seized ivory from inbound passengers, much of which was purchased in neighboring countries and in Africa. To stop this trend, China Customs and the National Forestry and Grasslands Administration (NFGA) partnered with WildAid and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to jointly launch the first public awareness campaign to inform travelers that purchasing and importing ivory is illegal in China, even as souvenirs. “Souvenirs could be contraband” was seen in 25 airports and railway stations across 21 Chinese cities, as well as 147 customs border crossings in 42 cities, and is estimated to have reached 100 million passengers.
“Purchasing and smuggling wildlife products is driving certain species toward extinction, which is one of the key drivers of the biodiversity loss.” Said Yu Chong, WildAid China Chief Representative.
From January 2019 to September 2021, China Customs investigated and seized 923 criminal cases of smuggling endangered wildlife with 1552.7 tons of endangered wild animals, plants and derivatives. This awareness campaign further reflects China Customs’ commitment to both the CBD and CITES.
“We applaud China Customs’commitment to protecting biodiversity by upholding enforcement against wildlife smuggling. We look forward to furthering our relationship with Customs to increase awareness of these laws and make illegal wildlife consumption obsolete in China,” said John Baker, WildAid Chief Programs Officer.
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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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