Most recently on WildAid's ever-growing list of achievements, on December 31, 2016, the Chinese government released a detailed timetable for ending its legal ivory trade, with commercial procession and sale of ivory ceasing on March 31 and all domestic sales of ivory to be banned by the end of the year. WildAid played an instrumental role in creating the environment that allowed the announcement to take place, having first launched a three-year campaign to reduce demand for elephant ivory in China in 2013. WildAid spent millions on television spots, documentaries, subways ads and other public service messages, bringing in superstars like retired NBA superstar Yao Ming to assist.
The Chinese ivory sale ban announcement came on the heels of the revelation by WildAid in October of 2016 that the cost of ivory in Hong Kong and China had dropped by as much as 78 per cent since 2014, a signifier that demand was in rapid decline. At the same time it was revealed that there was a 96 per cent drop in the number of ivory products available on the retail market in Thailand. Earlier in the year, WildAid had 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.
While the organization's awareness efforts began in Asia, where demand was greatest and WildAid experienced its first major successes – including a 70 per cent drop in sales of shark fin following an impressive multimedia campaign – the organization has since extended their campaigns into Africa.
Their efforts on the continent began in 2015 when WildAid named the Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o, a native of Kenya, as Global Elephant Ambassador. Nyong’o spent time in Amboseli National Park with the Amboseli Trust for Elephants and at The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Nairobi elephant orphanage, meeting with local conservationists and filming messages for international distribution in Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States.
In May of 2016, WildAid brought together prominent South African celebrities to launch a campaign to fight the rhino poaching crisis.The campaign features well-known South African personalities such as DJ Fresh, Springbok rugby player Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, comedian Marc Lottering, actress Masasa Mbangeni, DJ Poppy Ntshongwana, Super Rugby players Siya Kolisi, Scarra Ntubeni, Joe Pietersen and model-entrepreneur Maps Maponyane, many of whom visited the bush to see wild rhinos for the first time as part of the campaign.
A few months after debuting the South Africa rhino program WildAid was at it again, unveiling an online campaign calling upon the global community to "Stand with Africa to Let Lions Live” at LetLionsLive.org, asking people to sign a pledge urging their country’s leaders to prioritize financial support to Africa for management of its protected area and standing with in its efforts to promote co-existence between people and wildlife.
WildAid's efforts to educate and inform continue as the organization has enduring ambitions to add more countries, species, and campaigns to its portfolio. And for all its success to date, there are constant new threats to species survival, meaning WildAid is always hard at work as it looks to achieve its goal: when the buying stops, the killing can too.
TreadRight and TTC are proud to help support WildAid in all its efforts. Learn more about how TreadRight is partnering with WildAid to protect rhinos here, and stay up-to-date on all TreadRight activities by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.
- Project News