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WildAid

“Cuu Te Giac,” Vietnamese for “Save Rhinos”

In just a few short months, WildAid’s second-year initiatives for our “Stop Using Rhino Horn” campaign have become viral hits in Vietnam, reaching over 1 million people via traditional and social media channels.

Why are we working in Vietnam? In recent years, the country has become a primary market for rhino horn. Given its exorbitant cost, it’s used by some to demonstrate affluence and social status, both as a party drug and as a gift to important political officials. It’s also peddled as a cure for myriad health problems including cancer, despite any medical evidence proving such benefits.

Our campaign aims to educate the public about the rhino-poaching crisis and to counter the myths of rhino horn’s alleged medicinal benefits. After all, rhino horn is primarily composed of keratin fibers, the same as human hair and fingernails.

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Update: AB 96 Passes California Assembly, Awaits Senate

Update, Tuesday, June 2. Good news: AB 96, the bill to close ivory trade loopholes in California, has passed overwhelmingly and on a bipartisan basis in the state assembly. The 62-14 vote is a big win for Speaker Toni G. Atkins' bill. The state senate will now take up the legislation; we will keep you posted on upcoming hearings. 

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Will China Go Ivory Free?

On Friday, WildAid attended an ivory destruction event in Beijing, where nearly 1,500 pounds of tusks and carvings were destroyed. 

During the event, Zhao Shucong, head of China’s State Forestry Administration, announced that China "will strictly control ivory processing and trade until the commercial processing and sale of ivory and its products are eventually halted.”

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Lang Lang Urges Chinese Travelers to 'Say No to Ivory’

Lang Lang, one of the world’s most famous classical pianists performing today, has stepped up to fight the global ivory trade in a stirring new public service announcement (PSA) to be distributed throughout his native China, the world’s largest market for ivory. 

As part of the Ivory Free campaign sponsored by WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants, Lang Lang’s PSA aims to educate the public on the toll that both legal and illegal ivory sales are taking on Africa’s elephants: An estimated 33,000 are poached annually.

'Illicit Ivory' Now Streaming Online

“Illicit Ivory,” a new half-hour documentary film by Earth Focus, investigates how criminal networks and militant groups use profits from ivory to fund insurgencies and terrorism. 

Between 2009 and 2014, organized criminal networks moved an estimated 170 tons of ivory — the yield from a quarter of a million dead elephants.  

The film features interviews with ivory trade experts including WildAid CEO Peter Knights. 

Watch the full film at KCET's website

Hong Kong Public Supports Ivory Ban

HONG KONG (May 26, 2015) — The Hong Kong public overwhelmingly supports a comprehensive ban on elephant ivory sales, according to a survey by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme released Tuesday. 

The new poll found that 75% of residents interviewed expressed support for outlawing ivory sales, which are currently poorly regulated in Hong Kong. Of those in favor, 55% “very much support” a ban, while 21% “quite support.” Additionally, three-quarters of respondents agreed that the Hong Kong government should stop issuing new ivory possession licenses.

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Recent Spike in Large Seizures of Ivory, Rhino Horn, Pangolin Scales

Over the past two weeks, authorities in multiple countries have arrested smugglers and seized major shipments of illegal wildlife products in Africa and Asia, including rhino horn, elephant ivory and pangolin scales.

The largest such seizure occurred earlier this week in Singapore, where an estimated $6 million in ivory tusks, rhino horn and teeth believed to be from cheetahs and leopards were found stashed in a shipping container filled with bags of tea leaves. 

In each of these six separate cases, the shipments were en route to Vietnam and/or China, or involved smuggling by nationals of those countries.

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'Illicit Ivory' Premieres May 28

On Thursday, May 28, "Illicit Ivory," a documentary by acclaimed environmental investigative series EARTH FOCUS, premieres on Link TV. If you're in Southern California, the show premieres Wednesday, May 27 on KCET.

A captivating examination of the ivory trade's ties to organized crime and insurgent groups, Illicit Ivory features interviews with global experts on the trade, including WildAid CEO Peter Knights. 

Both Link and KCET will stream the show online following the broadcast premiere. 

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Supporting Washington State's Initiative 1401 to Fight Illegal Wildlife Trade

WildAid is proud to support Initiative 1401, a campaign in Washington state to strengthen penalties on the criminal enterprises that buy and sell products made from endangered species.

While most of WildAid’s media messages to combat the illegal wildlife trade are broadcast overseas, the United States remains one of the world’s largest markets for ivory and other products. 

Some states, such as New York and New Jersey, have enacted laws to crack down on intrastate trade. Other state legislation currently is pending, including California’s AB 96 (also endorsed by WildAid), which would close longstanding loopholes that have allowed illegal ivory sales to flourish. 

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Crime Scene, Kruger National Park

On Sunday, the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs announced that rhino poaching in this country is set to reach a new, macabre record: 393 rhinos have been illegally killed so far in 2015, compared with 331 at the same time last year.

The increase in Kruger National Park, which has the world’s largest rhino population and the worst poaching problem, is alarming — 290 rhinos poached this year versus 212 at the same time in 2014.

Today, two days after the Minister’s announcement, I drove out with South African National Parks investigators, police and a small media contingent to a remote part of the Crocodile Bridge section in the southern part of Kruger, the crown jewel of South African national parks. WildAid is facilitating the visit of a Taiwanese film crew to South Africa, which is producing a Mandarin-language documentary on the poaching crisis.

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