TreadRight Wildlife Initiative partner WildAid present evidence that their consumer demand reduction programs are having a direct effect on the regional ivory market in Asia, with price and consumption falling fast. The latest wholesale prices in Hong Kong and China, researched by WildAid, are 57 per cent to 78 per cent less than the 2014 high of $2,100 per kilogram, which is positive news for elephants.
An 18-month survey of Thailand’s capital by TRAFFIC reported a 96% drop in the number of ivory products available at retail markets, from a high of 7,421 ivory items in 2014 to just 283 products earlier this year. Thailand’s Elephant Ivory Act has been working to regulate the country’s legal market in ivory from domesticated elephants, as well as prohibiting the trade and sale of ivory from African elephants.
Earlier this year, WildAid launched two TV-messages in Thailand starring renowned international martial arts actor Tony Jaa, and National football team coach Kiatisuk “Zico” Senamuang. The stars urged Thais to go “Ivory Free” and help put an end to the slaughter of African elephants for their tusks.
“Through public surveys we’ve known that awareness of the poaching crisis has increased by 50 per cent in the last few years in Asia,” says WildAid CEO Peter Knight. “Now we’re seeing that reflected in reduced demand and price drops. This is not in itself the solution, but ultimately it makes law enforcement easier on the ground with much less.”
WildAid continues to build awareness about the local Thai market supporting the killing of elephants in Africa, and the need to reduce the consumption of ivory products to protect elephants.
“Mass awareness campaigns supported by government and private media are clearly having an impact,” reports WildAid CEO Peter Knight. “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
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