Thailand's actress joins Usaid, Wildaid, and DNP to end demand for ivory
The United States Agency for International Development (Usaid), WildAid, and Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) launches the 'Only elephants wear ivory best' campaign to reduce the use and purchase of jewellery and accessories made from ivory.
The campaign enlists Cindy Sirinya Bishop, Thai actress and model, and Master Tossaporn Sritula, Thai Astrology and Feng Shui Expert as campaign ambassadors to deliver the message that ivory belongs to elephants, dissuading consumers from future ivory purchases. The campaign also features two 32-second videos starring the ambassadors.
The campaign, called 'Only elephants wear ivory best', builds upon USAID's Wildlife Asia's first 'Beautiful without ivory campaign' in 2020 that reached and engaged those who desire to buy or use ivory jewellery and accessories because of its perceived beauty.
"I have always said no to wearing fur or modelling jewellery made from ivory and exotic animal parts. I believe such products are most beautiful and have the most value on the animal itself. I hope that with this campaign, I can pass on the same message to the viewers and in my own small way, help reduce the demand for elephant ivory," said Cindy Sirinya Bishop.
According to a Usaid 2020 survey, the 'Beautiful without ivory' campaign helped decrease Thai consumers' intention to purchase ivory products by 50 per cent and the social acceptability of buying and using ivory products by 50 per cent compared to a similar Usaid survey in 2018. The perception that 'ivory is beautiful' decreased from 67% in 2018 to nearly 48% in 2020.
"We found it very encouraging that the Beautiful without Ivory campaign was remarkably successful in changing attitudes in target groups in just a short time. We hope that 'Only Elephants Wear Ivory Best' will continue this trend. The U.S. Government remains committed to our productive partnership with Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation —to end the illegal wildlife trade and protect our environmental and human health by reducing the demand for illegal wildlife products," said Suphasuk Pradubsuk, Program Development Specialist, Regional Environment Office, Usaid Regional Development Mission for Asia.
A new element to this campaign is its aim to counter a secondary factor that drives the desire for ivory products - the belief that these products bring luck leading to a good life and happiness. "Things that can help enhance your luck must come from a good starting point. How can amulets made from ivory obtained unnaturally from the elephants make our life better? It is only by doing good and showing compassion towards fellow humans and animals that we can attract good in our lives. Ivory belongs to elephants and brings the most happiness to the elephants themselves," said Master Tossaporn Sritula.
"Since 2018, DNP has worked closely with Usaid and WildAid to help reduce the demand for illegal elephant ivory products. Reducing demand for illegal wildlife products is one of the other strategies to halt illegal trade that aligns with the guidance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). We truly believe that by putting an effort into law enforcement together with positive demand reduction campaigns like "Only Elephants Wear Ivory Best", we can create new value in society to halt the use of wildlife products, which will contribute significantly to the prevention of illegal trade in ivory" said Rutchada Suriyakul Na Ayutya, Director General of the DNP.
The campaign's launch featured a virtual fireside chat among the campaign ambassadors, Usaid, and the DNP, where they engaged in a lively conversation about the situation of wildlife trade today and how the world needs to evolve so that use of wildlife products becomes totally unacceptable. The virtual launch is available for viewing on WildAid Thailand's and the DNP's Facebook page.
"Cindy and Master Tossaporn so eloquently expressed the message that ivory belongs only to elephants and they wear it best. WildAid has been running campaigns to reduce the demand for elephant ivory in Thailand since 2016 and with help from such influential voices, government agencies, and media partners, we hope to establish a new societal norm around ivory and protecting elephants. Together, we can end the demand for ivory," said John Baker, Chief Program Officer, WildAid.
Usaid, WildAid, and the DNP will continue to deliver the campaign's communication materials through social media channels and out-of-home media placement to maximize the campaign's reach with the goal to change consumers' perception and behaviour around elephant ivory.