Reaching out to the Chinese


Save the Elephants

Date Published

When it comes to discussions about the current elephant poaching crisis, China is often a word that looms large. Demand for ivory in the world’s most populous nation has driven the price to record levels, making elephant tusks a sought-after commodity in the underworld of organised crime. This new found value for ivory makes it far more difficult to combat the poaching.

While the wildlife and police departments of wealthier southern African nations have so far been able to resist poachers, those of central and eastern Africa are finding it hard to fight against poachers who are now equipped with the latest military gear such as silencers, night vision goggles.

Reaching out to China and sharing with them the pain of poaching is essential. Last year STE and WildAid brought Chinese sports superstar Yao Ming over to Kenya, introducing him to wild elephants and the devastating impacts of killing them for ivory.

On the 16th April in Beijing, Yao Ming will be launching an Elephant Campaign, with billboards, a short “Public Service Announcement” (like a TV advertisement) that he filmed in Samburu with us and which will be broadcast on prime time Chinese television, and a trailer for his upcoming film “End of the Wild”. All being well, STE’s Head of Field Research David Daballen will be there to share the stage with him.

Reaching out to the Chinese people through their best-loved stars is only part of our strategy to inform attitudes to ivory in China – we’re also working at high diplomatic levels to bring the government on board. That said, we’re very excited about a potential visit from another Chinese super-celebrity… but we can’t reveal more at this stage!