Fighting the underground trade in ivory, one collector at a time

The Chinese "Mom I Got Teeth" public service announcement that ran in China.“Li Dongbao (a pseudonym), 33, has been collecting ivory decorations and accessories for six years.

But last August things changed, after he saw subway posters depicting an elephant and its baby, which revealed how the ivory trade would tear them apart. He found himself feeling guilty and couldn't stop thinking about the graphic images and messages.

While considering giving up his hobby, he blew the whistle on the rampant illegal online trade of ivory and other wildlife products.  

The Public Service Announcement which caused this ivory collector to feel remorseful was produced by the International Fund for Animal Welfare-IFAW.  

The PSA, “Mom I Got Teeth,” was created when an IFAW poll shows that nearly 70% of the Chinese do not know ivory (elephant teeth in Chinese) comes from dead elephants.

The PSA draws on people’s emotions by illustrating that elephant babies having teeth would bring bloodshed and slaughter of their families.

While exposing the illegal trade in ivory in China in Making a Killing: A 2011 Survey into the Ivory Market in China, IFAW conducts public awareness campaigns calling on Chinese consumers to reject ivory trade, because every piece of ivory comes from a dead elephant.

The poignant image of an elephant mother and calf walking into the sunset on the African savannah while contemplating the fate of the family simply because the calf has its teeth has moved many people to reject ivory trade. It caused an ivory carver to put down his knife; a young mother to feel shame for her ivory bracelet; and now a collector to give up his hobby.

We know we are having an impact, if only one person at a time!  

--GGG

For more information about our efforts to end the trade in ivory, visit our page in the wildlife crime section.

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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