NiNi can’t believe that anyone who is fully informed about the savagery behind the animal ivory trade would be so heartless and selfish as to go ahead and buy something made from elephant or walrus tusks. Consequently, we feel that informing consumers worldwide about the realities of the ivory trade will have a major impact in curbing demand for ivory and we work to that objective. Ever optimistic, NiNi trusts that the market will dry up If the whole world knows that elephants are slaughtered to make those charm bracelets, pistol grips, necklaces and billiard balls.
We’ve already seen a huge change in mainstream views on ivory in Europe and North America. Two generations ago, ivory ashtrays, chess sets, piano keys and walking sticks were status symbols. No one really knew the bloody story behind those objects, and objections on humanitarian or conservation grounds were rare. Today, many of us know better and wouldn’t consider purchasing animal ivory.
We need to have that same attitude shift take place in the rest of the world. This is particularly true for developing economies where newfound wealth and disposable income is fueling demand for ‘luxury’ products and exotic objects made from endangered animals. An important target for our education activities is this new cohort of wealthy consumers with plenty of disposable income – much of which is being spent on animal ivory.
And there is a serious amount of misinformation going around about ‘where ivory comes from’. According to a recent poll, nearly 70% of respondents in People’s Republic of China thought that elephant tusks fell out like teeth and didn’t know the animals were being hunted for their tusks. And misconceptions about ivory are not limited to Asia – in the EU and US, people still think it is harmless to buy ‘mammoth’ or ‘antique’ ivory – not realizing that those categories are simply pachyderm-sized loopholes in regulations and that ‘certification’ fraud is rampant
At NiNi, we’re trying to figure out the best way to deliver the message to the right audiences. And to figure out how do we teach our children so they reflexively reject anyone who buys, sells, owns, collects, traffics in or shoots an elephant. Should it be via graphic websites in a range of Asian languages ? More celebrity advocates ? Maybe we need to redo the Bambi movie, but as an elephant orphan tearjerker ? Or to retell 101 Dalmatians – but with elephants instead of puppies. The ivory trade certainly has plenty of role models for Cruella de Vil.
In this context, NiNi will promote education to better inform consumers worldwide and to sensitize, engage and influence the luxury market about the murderous impact of using animal ivory. To convince the citizens of the world that owning a objects made of animal ivory is shameful, rather than a status symbol.