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Thailand Destroys Over 2 Tons of Ivory

In a significant show of support for Africa's elephants, Thailand officials crushed over two tons of confiscated ivory on Wednesday, including tusks, carvings and trinkets that were pulverized with a hammer mill and later incinerated.

The nation's first-ever ivory destruction ceremony began with Buddhist and Brahmin faith leaders praying for at least 200 elephants that had been slaughtered for their ivory that was destroyed. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who presided over the ceremony, said the crush would not be a one-off event, and that Thailand is committed to fighting the illegal wildlife trade.

"The destruction of confiscated ivory in Bangkok will not in itself put an end to the illegal trade," CITES Secretary-General John E. Scanlon said in a statement. "It is, however, ensuring that no one will ever profit from this contraband. When coupled with seizures, prosecution and conviction of offenders, it sends a powerful message that Thailand does not and will not tolerate this illegal trade."

WWF Thailand and Freeland were involved in auditing the ivory stockpile as well as overseeing the destruction process. "This event aligns the commitment of the Thai government and the will of Thai people with the global priority of stopping the illegal ivory trade," said WWF’s Janpai Ongsiriwittaya, who participated in the audit. 

'On Sharks & Humanity' Opens in Beijing

We are thrilled to sponsor the Chinese exhibition of On Sharks & Humanity, featuring groundbreaking works from Chinese contemporary artists on behalf of global shark conservation.

Premiering late last week in Beijing, On Sharks & Humanity is the National Museum of China’s first exhibit with an environmental theme, according to WildAid China. 

“I decided to use art to represent the concern towards sharks,” said George Wong, Parkview Arts Action’s founder and president who conceived of the exhibit. “I hope that at first people will sympathize with sharks, and then feel disgusted and sick towards the violence that is being exerted against them.”

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WildAid's Peter Knights Nominated for 2016 Indianapolis Prize

We’re thrilled to announce that WildAid CEO Peter Knights has been nominated for the 2016 Indianapolis Prize, a biennial award recognizing global leaders at the forefront of animal conservation.

Via IndianapolisPrize.org:

"The 2016 Indianapolis Prize Nominees represent many of the most significant and accomplished wildlife conservationists in the field today," said Michael Crowther, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Zoo, which initiated the Indianapolis Prize as part of its core mission. "They are protecting species and creating successful conservation methods that ensure future generations will live in a flourishing and sustainable world. We applaud their accomplishments and encourage individuals, organizations, companies, and governments to join them in advancing animal conservation."

Internationally renowned professional conservationists and local representatives make up a Nominating Committee and Jury who will select six finalists and determine a winner, respectively. These finalists will then be honored at the next Indianapolis Prize Gala presented by Cummins Inc., to be held Oct. 15, 2016.

The winner of the Prize will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award while the five finalists will each receive $10,000.

Previous recipients of the Indianapolis Prize include Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, George Archibald of the International Crane Foundation and George Schaller of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Congrats to all fellow nominees! Read the full list of 2016 nominees here

UPS Bans Shark Fin Shipments

Good news! On Tuesday evening, UPS, the world's largest package delivery company, tweeted that it has banned shark fin shipments following consultation with World Wildlife Fund. UPS had faced mounting criticism by wildlife groups including WildAid after the Costa Rican NGO Pretoma released evidence of UPS shark fin shipments bound for Hong Kong by way of the United States.

Vietnam's Biggest Pop Stars Come Together for Rhinos

Last week, a who’s who of Vietnamese celebrities and Vietnam Idol alumni appeared on VTV for “The Call of the Wild,” a two-hour special to raise awareness about the fate of Africa's rhinos, relentlessly targeted by poachers for their horns.

The special was aimed at Vietnamese youth, who are highly influential in calling on older generations to reject the consumption of rhino horn, considered by many to be luxury item due to beliefs that when ground into a powder and ingested, it can improve health, cure disease and even prevent hangovers.

This special was part of “Stop Using Rhino Horn,” a three-year campaign launched in 2014 by WildAid and African Wildlife Foundation to educate and persuade the people of Vietnam, one of the world's largest markets for rhino horn. Our goals are to raise awareness of the rhino poaching crisis, to support Vietnamese lawmakers in strengthening enforcement efforts and to measurably reduce consumer demand for rhino horn. 

WildAid Vietnam writes of the VTV special:

We believe that music has the power to guide young people to become ambassadors for nature who will protect rhinos as well as other endangered species, and preserve Vietnam’s natural heritage for future generations.

Through this event, the Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign also hopes to contribute to improving the image of Vietnam in the eyes of international communities, by conveying a positive image of young people in Vietnam taking action for nature conservation and contributing to the country’s sustainable development.

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