IFAW’s New APP unveils the ivory trade to Chinese consumers

ARCHIVE Photo © IFAW
Friday, October 4, 2013
Beijing

On World Animal Day, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) released the Chinese version of the new application “Unveiling the Ivory Trade” which helps Chinese users understand the crisis befallen the world’s elephants from poaching to supply the illegal ivory trade.  Downloadable in both IOS and Android systems, the app provides an effective way for users to share the blood-stained truth behind the ivory trade and help save the endangered elephants.

The escalating consumption of elephant ivory in China, the world’s largest market for illegal ivory, is causing an elephant holocaust in Africa. Tens of thousands of elephants were killed in the past year alone. Poachers use machine guns and even poison to kill entire families of elephants just for their tusks. 81 dead elephants were discovered over the past three weeks in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Poachers had poured cyanide granules over natural salt licks at watering holes known to be frequented by elephants. In less than a week in March, 86 elephants were slaughtered by poachers in Chad, even including 33 pregnant females.

  “As slow-growing and slow-breeding animals, elephants simply cannot sustain this unprecedented killing for the ivory trade. The poachers killed every member of the elephant families, even babies.  Many elephants were still alive when their tusks were hacked off.” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for IFAW.

In March this year, at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) warned that the elephant population will collapse when populations decline by over 6% annually, but in many parts of Africa right now the killing is running at 11~12% of those populations.

The ivory markets in China fuel the rampant poaching of elephants in Africa and attract criminal syndicates to smuggle ivory into Asia, where large amounts of illegal ivory were seized in recent years. In the city of Hong Kong, the gateway to mainland China, authorities have seized over 11 tonnes of ivory in 7 large scale seizures in the past twelve months. In the most recent seizure just the day before on October 3rd, 2013, Hong Kong Customs confiscated 189 tusks, weighing nearly 800 kilograms.  

“The ivory market in China confuses consumers and provides opportunities for the laundering of smuggled ivory,” charges Gabriel. “It creates enforcement difficulties and costs, complicates the fight against wildlife crime.”

In a 2007 poll in mainland China, IFAW found that 70% of respondents did not know that ivory products come from dead elephants. The same poll found that 80% Chinese consumers would refuse to buy ivory after finding out the truth. “It is an urgent and absolute necessity to inform Chinese consumers about the plight of elephants so that they can make responsible and moral decisions. This multi-media, interactive app is using the latest technology to get the message across to consumers. ” said Gabriel.

“I am shocked after reading this APP. These people who covet ivory as an investment or a way to show off should sober up. What ivory products really reveal is greed and cruelty, not status or beauty. I will absolutely not buy any ivory products! ” a reader named Dingding posted online.

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The learn more about the illegal ivory trade, download IFAW’s digital magazine Unveiling the Ivory Trade..

About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)

IFAW is working to help protect elephants on the ground by supporting anti-poaching patrol trainings, working with Interpol to boost enforcement to fight wildlife trafficking and reducing demand for ivory through consumer awareness campaigns. IFAW is supporting the Indian Government in presenting the historic E50:50 Elephant Congress which will take place in New Delhi in November 2013, bringing together for the first time ministers from the 50 elephant range countries to address the conservation and welfare needs of elephants worldwide for the next 50 years.
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Press Contact

Sabrina Zhang (IFAW China)
Contact phone:
86 10 64402960
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Experts

Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
Dr. Cynthia Moss, IFAW Elephant Expert
IFAW Elephant Expert
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
James Isiche, Regional Director, East Africa
Regional Director, East Africa
Jason Bell, Program Director, Elephants Regional Director, South Africa
Program Director, Elephants, Regional Director, South Africa
Peter Pueschel, Director, International Environmental Agreements
Director, International Environmental Agreements
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Regional Director, South Asia