Asia has a voracious appetite for ivory. Every year, at least 20,000 elephants are killed in Africa, their tusks taken to supply a primarily Southeast and East Asian consumer base. This illegal trade is largely driven by transnational crime syndicates, whose enormous profits are fueling corruption, destabilizing countries and taking their toll on the Earth’s biodiversity.
WWF envisions a time in Asia where legal and illegal elephant ivory markets no longer exist and consumers reject buying ivory, as well as other illegal wildlife products. That is why it has committed to the Ivory High Impact Initiative.
This initiative takes a two pronged approach:
1. Closure of ivory markets: Ivory markets are illegal in China, as well as the majority of Greater Mekong countries, with the exception of Thailand. WWF will work with all five regional governments to ensure key policies and laws are in place to close both legal and illegal markets for ivory, and that these laws are being meaningfully enforced and prosecuted.
2. Consumer engagement: As a long-term and fundamental solution, the desire for ivory and other wildlife products must be curbed. While there is a consumer base for ivory within Southeast Asia, Chinese consumers are one of the driving demographics for ivory sales. In order to reduce this demand for ivory, WWF is working to design and implement behavior change campaigns within China and partnering with corporations to ensure their compliance and cooperation. In the Greater Mekong, efforts will focus on targeting travelers who may be coming to the region explicitly to purchase ivory and other products.
WWF has been working with Globescan to identify trends amongst Chinese consumers to see how attitudes and purchasing patterns have changed. Three reports have been written, the first in 2017 before the ivory ban in China, one in 2018 following the ban, and now the latest which follows up on trends a year on - Demand under the Ban – China Ivory Consumption Research 2019.
Beyond the Ivory Ban: Research on Chinese Travelers While AbroadRead the report and summary.