WildAid has partnered with TikTok, the leading destination for short-form mobile videos with over 1 billion monthly active users globally, to kick off the ‘celebrate without sharks – #ฉลองไม่ฉลาม’ challenge. The campaign on TikTok will highlight issues threatening sharks, urge the public to say no to consuming shark products and increase public will to protect sharks in a fun and creative manner. TikTok users and influencers nationwide are joining the challenge led by ‘Loukgolf’ Kanatip Soonthornrak, WildAid’s newly appointed ‘Advocate for Sharks’ and an influential voice for today’s youth.
The challenge, inspired by the #PrompterChallenge, will prompt TikTok users with a script to report urgent news on the global situation of sharks and motivate viewers to say no to consumption of sharks.
Assessment of Thailand’s threatened species in 2020, Thailand Red Data by ONEP (Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning) revealed 47 of the 87 shark species found in Thai waters are at risk of extinction as a result of overfishing and bycatch. WildAid’s 2017 study found more than half of urban Thais have eaten shark fin and, even more alarmingly, 61% planned to consume it in the future. Most recently, a study published in the journal Current Biology found overfishing and the demand for shark products are driving one-third of shark species toward extinction globally, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List criteria. Such an outcome would be disastrous as sharks are critical to maintaining the health of the ocean.
“The state of sharks is worrying and many are still unaware of the threats to sharks and the negative impacts extinction of sharks would have on our oceans and us. As WildAid’s shark advocate I want to address issues facing sharks starting at a personal level, which is helping to reduce the demand, eliminate misconceptions about them and increase public will to protect sharks,” said ‘Loukgolf’ Kanatip Soonthornrak.
Sharks function as the immune system of the ocean, and like white blood cells, they combat diseases by feeding on dead, weak, or sick animals, strengthening the gene pool by keeping lower trophic level populations healthy and in balance. The trade and consumption of shark products such as fins, meat and oil directly contribute to environmental degradation and fisheries collapse.
Since 2018, WildAid has been running the “Celebrate without sharks – #ฉลองไม่ฉลาม” campaign in Thailand, calling on the public to forgo shark fin at all celebratory events, such as weddings, family celebrations and business meetings, after the 2017 study revealed shark fin is most often consumed at celebratory events. The TikTok challenge is the latest effort to step up public participation, build deeper knowledge and increase Thai people’s willingness and commitment to protect sharks.
The challenge launch coincides with World Animal Day observed annually on 4th October. TikTok’s collaboration with WildAid includes promoting the campaign hashtag #ฉลองไม่ฉลาม and its message to reach millions of TikTok users under the TikTok For Good initiative. The initiative intends to benefit the society by bringing attention to important issues such as environmental conservation, and encourage the new generation to have a positive impact on the planet.
“We are deeply concerned by the depletion of shark populations worldwide and have partnered with WildAid to draw attention to the importance of sharks. We believe through our platform and content creators we can amplify WildAid’s message and shine the light on grim matters facing sharks today by creatively engaging the public to say no to consumption of sharks.” said Surayot Aimlaor, Head of Consumer Marketing – TikTok.
In addition to the challenge, WildAid has also enlisted support from eight influential figures of Thai society to create edutainment TikTok videos on sharks. The videos feature celebrities such as ‘Pong’ Nawat Kulrattanarak, Maria Poonlertlarp, ‘Toey’ Jarinporn Joonkiat, and TikTok creators such as @Avarest, @Darth14, @TheFirstVoice, @Thammachad and @TheBabyBoom.
“WildAid’s partnership with TikTok is instrumental in bringing this urgent crisis to the public’s attention thanks to the platform’s unique ability to not just reach but engage millions of people through video participation. We believe that social media platforms can play an important role in changing consumer behavior and social norms. The more people learn about the consequences of eating sharks through such platforms, the less they want to participate in the trade,” said John Baker, Chief Program Officer, WildAid.
To demonstrate public will to protect sharks and discourage consumption of the animals in any form on any occasion, WildAid invites everyone to show their love for sharks and the ocean by joining in the #ฉลองไม่ฉลาม challenge on TikTok. Duet the video and post it to your social media accounts with hashtags #ฉลองไม่ฉลาม #WildAidThailand #TikTokForGoodTH to help push for a new social norm where sharks are permanently off the menu.
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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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