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WildAid works to reduce demand for ivory and shark fin in Thailand

Thailand remains a significant market and transit country for elephant ivory and shark fin. During 2017, WildAid worked to reduce demand and to strengthen enforcement on ivory and shark fin through public education and awareness campaigns as well as policymaker outreach efforts.

Under our elephant program, WildAid aims to reduce consumer demand for ivory products and to enhance public and political will for a domestic ivory ban. A key strategy is engaging influential community leaders and helping them demonstrate their attitude and behavior on ivory.

As part of this effort, WildAid united 15 prominent national business leaders on Thai Elephant Day with a public pledge to never use elephant ivory or other wildlife products. Thanks to the support of local media, the launch resulted in more than 35 news stories in local media reaching about 1.3 million people.

Building upon the successful launch of the Thai Business leaders pledge, WildAid and USAID Wildlife Asia joined together for the I am #IvoryFree social media pledge campaign in September. This public mobilization campaign aimed to strengthen attitudes against purchasing ivory.

More than 100 of the country's most influential personalities, including prominent celebrities, a spiritual leader, political figures, sports stars, musical icons and many more joined the campaign.

Over 15,000 Thais created their own "Ivory Free" photos and shared them on their social media accounts. Within two weeks, the campaign achieved nearly 120 million online impressions and earned over 30 news stories.

WildAid also began raising awareness about the high shark fin consumption in the country during 2017.

A WildAid online survey of urban Thai residents found that shark fin consumption was widespread with 57% having ever eaten shark fin and 61% wanting to try shark fin in the future. These results indicate a strong cause for concern for shark populations worldwide.

We conveyed these shocking results to the public in a summary report and through infographics. The infographics reached more than 8.6 million users on social media alone. Additionally, the survey results were covered in 23 news stories from local and international media.

We also partnered with eight food bloggers to deter the consumption of shark fin during Lunar New Year celebrations, when it is heavily promoted, helping us reach a further 7.9 million people with that message.

In 2018, WildAid will continue working to end the demand for ivory and shark fin in Thailand with a variety of campaign activities and close cooperation with the government and partners.