WildAid takes an economist’s approach in its efforts to end the illegal wildlife trade. Instead of focusing on anti-poaching efforts, it is their belief that “If the Buying Stops, The Killing Can Too.” WildAid has an impressive roster of international film, music and sports celebrities that star in their Hollywood-quality public service announcements (PSAs). The PSAs educate potential consumers about the ugly truth behind wildlife products. In addition to distributing these PSAs on social media, they negotiate with governments and companies to show them on TV channels across Asia during prime time. They compliment the PSA’s with billboards and other still media in high-traffic public spaces. These efforts have proven incredibly successful in creating a social stigma around consuming wildlife products.
In 2017, Bently Foundation awarded WildAid with two grants… $175,000 to their Ivory Free campaign and $60,000 to their Shark Fin campaign. Ivory-Free, a multi-year, multi-country campaign to stop the purchase of elephant ivory, has been instrumental in driving down the global price of ivory by 78% between 2014 and 2016. More recently, it has helped secure bans on the ivory trade in China and Hong Kong and ivory seizures in China have fallen by 80%. WildAid will now begin replicating this success in Thailand and Vietnam, which are major hubs for ivory smuggling.
WildAid’s longest-running campaign has had similar success. Shark fin consumption helps fund the incredibly cruel practice of shark-finning, in which the sharks’ fins are cut off while the sharks are still alive, only to be thrown back into the ocean to die. The fins are used in soup, which is considered a delicacy, and is usually served at weddings, business meetings, and other events meant to impress. Through its multi-faceted campaign, WildAid has helped reduce shark fin consumption by 80% between 2011 and 2016, with wholesale prices declining as much as 67%. When surveyed, the vast majority of Chinese residents say WildAid’s messages successfully raise awareness about wildlife protection.
Learn more about WildAid here.