US ambassador to China appeals for elephant protection



“I am going to push for fighting wildlife crime to the highest level of government dialogues between President Obama and President Xi Jinping. It is the right thing to do.”


Max Baucus, the US ambassador to China, announced this at a gala in Beijing last week. Hosted by Ektimo, a Sonoma vineyard owned by Chinese entrepreneur Xie Dongjiang, the event featuring Baucus supported the International Fund for Animal Welfare’s “Give Peace to Elephants, Say No to Ivory” campaign.

The emotion he displayed when making this appeal to protect elephants convinces me we have a formidable ally in the fight to reduce wildlife trade.

Throughout the evening, amid Sonoma wine and classic Chinese cuisine, Baucus praised Chinese entrepreneurs and key opinion leaders for championing the cause for wildlife conservation.

He was not alone.

“Elephants are very close to my heart,” said Baucus’s wife Melody Hanes. “We need to educate the 70% of the people who don’t know ivory comes from dead elephants and change their behavior.”

The ambassador told me that they would be visiting IFAW’s project to protect Asian elephant habitats in Yunnan. 

That night, I linked up with the Ambassador on WeChat, a popular text and voice messaging app.

I got the first message from him after the gala.

“Thank you for doing the right thing,” it read.

On Thursday, another message from him:

“Visit inspiring.”


For more information about IFAW efforts to combat wildlife trade in China, visit our campaign page.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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