Hope for elephants as more Chinese feel remorse for ivory purchases

Hope for elephants  as more Chinese feel remorse for ivory purchases
Wednesday, 24 July, 2013
Beijing, China

A recent evaluation of an advertising campaign by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to reduce ivory demand in China shows that the campaign is paying dividends with 68% of the respondents said that they would definitely not buy ivory in the future.

Previous polling by IFAW found that 70% of the Chinese did not realize that ivory came from dead elephants. In Chinese, elephant ivory is called Xiang Ya (elephant tooth). This nomenclature unfortunately gives people the impression that an ivory tusk, like a person’s teeth, can fall out naturally.

“This astounding discovery led us to initiate the ‘Mom I’ve got teeth’ ad campaign about three years ago.” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia Regional Director for IFAW. “The ads explain that ivory products come from dead elephants and encourage consumers to reject elephant ivory.”

The online survey found that 75% of the urban Chinese population (mainly in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities) have seen the ads, through outdoor, magazines and social media. 

The majority of those who were exposed to the campaign fully processed the messages (88%). The campaign has more than halved the high risk segment of people—those who are most likely to purchase elephant ivory—from 54% down to 26%.

In addition, amongst the 44% of Chinese who had purchased ivory in the past 12 months, only 7% still had any intention of making a future purchase following exposure to the ad campaign.

“It’s very exciting to see that our campaign has definitely resonated with the Chinese public and achieved its intended outcome”, said Gabriel. “What’s more encouraging is to see Chinese people are not prejudiced against elephants. Once they know the bloody slaughter of elephants behind each piece of ivory, the majority not only rejects purchasing ivory but tells their friends and family to reject it as well.”

The IFAW ads also have positive impact on past buyers of ivory. After exposure to the campaign, those saying they may buy ivory in the future reduced from a total of 18% down to 8%. Those saying they will definitely not buy ivory increased from 33% up to 66%.

“The main reason given for not purchasing ivory in the future is that they feel remorse because elephants are being killed,” said Gabriel.

The survey was conducted by Rapid Asia using online panels with a sample size of 1067 in three tiers of cities across China.

The summary report is available online at: www.ifaw.org/ivoryreport

About IFAW
Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues and protects animals around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information, visit www.ifaw.org. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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