Wild Aid campaigns push price of Ivory into the ‘free-fall’ zone


Sam Smith, News 24

Date Published

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The value of Elephant Ivory has fallen hard in China, according to new data released on Monday by Save the Elephants.

Regardless of the rising prices of  illegal ivory in the year 2010 to 2014, researchers Esmond Martin and Lucy Vigne reported the price of raw ivory over the past year and a half went from about R30 727 per kilogram to R16 095 per kilogram.

In a recent study by Save the Elephants for eight Chinese cities, researchers found consumer need for ivory is in a ‘free-fall’ zone.

The country’s ivory carving factories are now suffering a shortage of the tusks and ID’s, usually issued from the Chinese government to legally sell ivory, are being delayed reports Wild Aid.

Details on the most recent survey’s findings will be published in January 2016, however, the new data correlates with a greater understanding of shifting mindsets and attitudes in China – showing that public knowledge of Africa’s elephant poaching crisis has more than doubled between 2012 to 2014.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has taken strides towards controlling the illegal ivory market, culminating in President Xi Jinping’s September announcement for China and the United States to work together to stop the ivory trade.

“The ivory price collapse in China is much-needed, good news for Africa’s elephants,” said WildAid CEO Peter Knights.

“Though there is much work to be done, this is an essential first step in ending the poaching crisis. The banning of the market in China and the United States puts pressure on Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan to follow suit and should encourage improved enforcement efforts in Africa, in places like Kenya and Tanzania.”

After the 2012 WildAid, Save the Elephants and African Wildlife Foundation partnered on continuous ivory public awareness strategies in China – the country put much-loved Chinese icons, such as former NBA star Yao Ming and actress Li Bingbing in the forefront of public messages.

Their faces were spread across banners, billboards and documentaries, demanding public never buy or accept ivory as gifts. Since then, China has made strides at improvement.

The country’s big media houses, CCTV, and Xinhua sponsored over R61 billion in pro bono media placement and airtime to the campaign.

The importance of the message was further underlined in October with Prince William addressing the Chinese population “to turn the tide of extinction” by opposing the illegal wildlife trade.

Prince Harry’s recent visit to South Africa sent out a global message for the preservation of the rhino, which is facing grave danger from illegal poachers too.