Wild about WildAid

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There are a number of impactful organizations working to protect, understand and educate people about elephants. (Go to Experts page for links to many of them.)  One of my favorites is WildAid.

WildAid’s mission is: “to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.” This is a terrific organization and deserves support from all of us.

WildAid has been, and continues to be, a leader in educating people in China about how many animals die to supply body parts for many revered practices in that country.  Recently, WildAid, with Save the Elephants, the African Wildlife Foundation and the Yao Ming Foundation, conducted a study in China to determine the level of awareness about the illegal ivory trade and the devastating impact this has had on Africa’s elephants.  Here are the highlights

  •  More than half of the nearly 1,000 participants (over 50%) do not think elephant poaching is common;
  • 34%, or one in three respondents, believe ivory is obtained from natural elephant mortality;
  • Only 33% of all participants believe elephants are poached for their tusks; and
  • 94% of residents agree theChinese government should impose a ban on the ivory trade

In conjunction with the release of this survey (click here for the complete report), WildAid has also launched an aggressive PSA campaign in China with NBA superstar, Yao Ming, as spokesman. (Click here to see PSAs.) This is powerful stuff.  While we have known for some time that most Chinese purchasers of ivory do not realize (1) that an elephant was killed to produce the ivory or (2) that demand in China is driving the African elephant to extinction, what most of us didn’t appreciate is how strong the Chinese would feel about banning the trade once they were informed.   This is some of the most encouraging news we have had.  The task of educating the number of people in China who could make a difference is daunting.  But, with the help of a committed celebrity in Yao Ming, other wildlife groups and with your support, WildAid may indeed break the truth barrier about ivory demand.  Give them your support!