Chinese authorities help fight elephant poaching
A recent move by Chinese authorities to destroy an estimated six tons of ivory in Guangzhou has been applauded by a number of NGOs made up of WildAid, the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants.
In 2013, local Chinese celebrities Yao Ming, a former NBA superstar and Li Bing Bing, a local actress together with the NGOs started making calls for Chinese authorities to raise awareness about elephant poaching, the need to reduce the demand for ivory and a need to protect the endangered species.
Li Bing Bing, who is expected to appear alongside the Duke of Cambridge and David Beckham in public awareness campaigns that will be televised across leading television networks said the recent ivory crush by the Chinese authorities is a significant step in raising public awareness and will hopefully lead to similar events throughout China.
Chinese citizens have continually desired more ivory products as a result of an expanding economy that supports a growing middle-class. This has meant that as many as 35 000 African elephants are poached annually.
“The demand for illegally traded ivory negatively impacts Africa’s tourism industry and reportedly contributes to funds used by terror and insurgent groups,” said WildAid’s Executive Director Peter Knights.
In 2006, WildAid led a campaign to reduce the demand for shark fin soup in China. Through its partnerships with Save the Elephants and Africa Wildlife Foundation, similar public tactics are being employed to inform consumers of the effects of ivory demand.
“As the largest ivory market in the world, China has a significant role to play in combatting the illegal trade in ivory. We commend the Chinese government for taking this important first step and hope it signals their sincere and growing commitment to help end the elephant slaughter in Africa.” said African Wildlife Foundation CEO Patrick Bergin
Recent surveys have indicated that a large population of Chinese nationals are unaware about the number of elephants and rhinos killed to create ivory and horn products, and that a great number of residents support government enforced bans.