The WWF and TRAFFIC are asking Chinese citizens to put their index fingers together as part of a “Stop Buying Ivory” campaign in China in an effort to save elephants. The campaign is also a move to push the government into implementing a ban on ivory sales as quickly as possible.

The campaign was officially launched in Beijing along with an “Exhibition on Emblematic Species” organized by the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco and the Monaco Embassy in China. It will use social and traditional media to generate mass public backing for the government’s imminent ban on commercial ivory trade that was announced by President Xi Jinping (習近平) last September.

Dr. Lin Li (李琳), executive director of programs at WWF China, says the campaign will build on their past work to change consumer behavior and push the government into implementing an ivory sales ban within the next two years.

China is the largest consumer of ivory in the world. Commercial sales of ivory were made legal in China in 2008, when the government acquired a legal ivory stockpile of about 40 metric tons from an auction in South Africa. The illegal ivory trade flourished by using the legal trade as a cover.

Hong Kong also proposed a ban last month to end ivory sales in the region within the next five years, and the WWF also started a similar campaign in Thailand, the second-largest illegal ivory trade market in the world.

The African elephant is listed as a vulnerable species. More than 30,000 elephants are slaughtered each year for their tusks, and there are only 470,000 elephants left in the wild. according to the WWF.

First Editor: J. Michael Cole
Second Editor: Edward White