Ad Nut
Mar 3, 2021

WildAid wants you to get emoji-nal about the wildlife trade

Why wouldn't you be red-faced in anger over trade in products from endangered species, a pro bono campaign from BBDO Bangkok asks.

WildAid wants you to get emoji-nal about the wildlife trade

Today is World Wildlife Day, and WildAid is highlighting poaching of endangered species for 'products' such as elephant tusks, rhino horns, shark fins, tiger parts and the casques of helmeted hornbills.

The simple social-media campaign by BBDO Bangkok makes the point quite eloquently in both English and Thai. Does destruction of endangered species make you mad enough to use the red-faced anger emoji? Or maybe to do something more?

The ads will be launched through WildAid’s platforms in the US, Hong Kong and Thailand.

Click to enlarge

Ad Nut—who is obviously not in favour of such animals being murdered or mamed for products that are either for decorative/status purposes or claim to deliver health benefits that they don't deliver (not that killing endangered animals would be all right even if those products did work as advertised)—lauds this campaign and would like to share the following disturbing information WildAid has provided:

  • Monitoring of 31 websites and ecommerce platforms in China between 2012 and 2016 found ivory was the most-advertised wildlife product (60%), while rhino horns and associated products were the second most-traded products (20%).
  • A more recent study in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam recorded 2,489 ivory items for sale in 545 posts on social-media platforms over the span of just five days in July 2019.  
  • The United Nations estimates that global illegal wildlife trade is worth between $7 and $23 billion a year, making it the fourth-largest illicit trade after arms, drugs and human trafficking.
  • The world has lost 95% of its rhinos in Africa and Asia.
  • Up to 73 million sharks are killed each year for shark fin soup. A recent scientific study has claimed that shark populations in the world’s high seas areas have crashed by 71% since 1970. 
  • Each year up to 17,000 elephants are killed to satisfy consumer demand for ivory products.
  • Just over a century ago, there were as many as 100,000 wild tigers worldwide. In 2016, there were an estimated 3,855 to 4,892 tigers.   
  • Among the adult urban Thai population, roughly 500,000 own ivory products and around 250,000 use tiger products based on USAID Wildlife Asia’s 2018 study, Research on Consumer Demand for Ivory and Tiger Products in Thailand. In addition, roughly 750,000 intend to buy and use these products in the future.  An estimated 2.5 million and around 1.8 million adult urban Thais find use of ivory and tiger products socially acceptable, respectively. 
  • A survey in Thailand found a minimum of 236 online posts offering a minimum of 546 hornbill parts and products in 32 of the 40 groups surveyed on Facebook. These were posted over a period of 64 months, spanning June 2014 to April 2019. Helmeted Hornbill parts and products constituted 452 (83%) of all hornbill commodities recorded. 

But wait, there's hope!

  • A 2016 survey conducted by WildAid, African Wildlife Foundation and CHANGE in Vietnam showed that the number of respondents who believe rhino horn has medicinal effects declined by 67% in two years, down to just 23% from 69% in 2014. Those who believe rhino horn can cure cancer declined by 73%, down to 9.4% from 34.5% in 2014.  
Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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