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Wednesday
Jul132016

Linking fingers to show support for elephant protection

WWF Director Marco Lambertini speaking at the Exhibition on Emblematic Species in Beijing © WWF Beijing, China, 13th July, 2016—With around 30,000 elephants being poached for their tusks each year, a major drive was launched this week to convince Chinese citizens to stop buying ivory as the government prepares to phase out the country’s domestic ivory market.

Officially launched at an Exhibition on Emblematic Species in Beijing organized by the Prince Albert II Foundation of Monaco and the Monaco Embassy to China, the WWF and TRAFFIC initiative uses social and traditional media to dissuade people from buying ivory and to raise awareness about the plight of Africa's elephants and international efforts to protect them. People are being urged to link their index fingers to show their commitment to protecting elephants.

The initiative aims to build public support for the Chinese government's decision to phase out the domestic ivory trade, which was confirmed by President Xi Jinping in September 2015 during his visit to Washington. The government is expected to publish its timetable for the phase out before the end of this year.

The US has already imposed an almost total ban on its domestic ivory market after new regulations came into force on 6th July.

"China and the US have demonstrated remarkable leadership by deciding to close their domestic ivory markets, a critical factor for the future of elephants,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

“TRAFFIC has partnered with the government and private sector, including Alibaba, Tencent, courier and tourism companies to tackle the illegal ivory trade, as well as worked to promote sustainable alternatives to ivory,” said Zhou Fei, Head of TRAFFIC’s China office. “Now it’s time to build mass public support to say no to ivory trade.”

In less than three months’ time, Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) CoP17 in Johannesburg will discuss a range of issues relating to elephants.

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