In China, tiger and elephant books focus on changing young readers hearts and minds
Two new Chinese language books for young readers are showing up in bookstores in China. The books on elephant and tiger conservation respectively join a series of wildlife books the International Fund for Animal Welfare has been publishing in China.
The first, Run Tiger Run--The Story of A Tiger, is from the point of view of a young Bengal tiger who relates the story of his growing up on the Indian subcontinent and the challenges and adversities he faces in his life. All of the pictures in the book are provided free by Michael Vickers, a wildlife photographer from the UK. He also wrote the foreword for the book.
Our second book, The Elephant Laura, is the first-ever attempt to bring the story of African elephants to young Chinese readers. Written from the perspective of a young elephant named Laura, the book tells the heart-wrenching story of her life, the challenges she faces growing up and the threats she and her family encounter on the vast African savannah.
Both books aim to motivate Chinese readers to reject products using elephant ivory and tiger bone, to have concern for the welfare of wildlife and the desire to protect them in the wild.
Both books were endorsed by many popular Chinese celebrities. Actress and star blogger YAO Chen whose micro blog has 17 million followers in China, wrote the foreword for the elephant book. She urges Chinese readers to reject ivory consumption because “our behavior is closely connected with the fate of these intelligent animals living across the world.”
Poaching and habitat destruction have pushed tigers to the brink of extinction. China, where scientist believe is the origin for all tiger subspecies, has fewer than 50 tigers left in the wild. Yet, thousands of tigers languish in tiger farms bred solely to produce “tiger bone wine”. While tiger trade is banned internationally and in all tiger range states, these types of tiger farms, though their existence is legal in China, stimulate demand for tiger parts and fuels poaching of tigers in the wild.
The rising demand for ivory in China today is causing another elephant holocaust in both Africa and Asia. Just in the last month, over 300 elephants were killed in one National Park alone in the Central African nation of Cameroon. Poachers gun down entire families of elephants just for their ivory. In 2011, 5295 elephant whole tusks were seized by enforcement agencies around the world, representing the lives of at least 2600 elephants. Majority of the seizures indicate that China is the destination for the ivory.
Reducing demand for wildlife in China is pivotal in the fight to save both these endangered species. I believe most Chinese consumers would make the responsible choice to reject tiger products and elephant ivory IF they are made aware of the crisis caused by their unnecessary consumption.
And that’s the ultimate goal for IFAW to publish these books together with China Tourism Publishing House and Trends. Co. If the sale of the first book on seals is any indication, I am confident that these books will evoke the same emotion and determination in Chinese readers to join IFAW in the fight to save elephants and tigers in the wild.
The books can be purchased at:
The IFAW China Weibo micro blog about the books: