Hanoi, March 28, 2023 – Today, Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) challenging the belief that elephant ivory is a symbol of luxury and good fortune. African elephants are frequently poached for their tusks to meet demand in China and Vietnam, and this PSA strives to reduce demand for such products through promoting greater awareness and presenting ivory jewelry as something ugly and harmful to elephants.
The film follows a glamorous woman, who is famous and well-liked by the public, as she attends a fancy party. The host presents her with elephant ivory gifts, which she subsequently flaunts on social media. Instead of bringing her more popularity, her reputation is tarnished by her promotion of the killing of endangered elephants.
“Tackling the ivory trade in Vietnam is not just the responsibility of law enforcement, but also the public,” said Ms. Nguyen Phuong Dung, Director of Communications at ENV. “We must place a great portion of the responsibility on consumers. Without buyers, there would be no incentive for hunters and traders to kill elephants and ship their tusks to Vietnam. Retailers of ivory products and consumers alike must put a stop to the shameful act of killing elephants for their tusks.”
Ms. Dung urged the public to stand up in the fight to protect elephants. “Do not stand on the sidelines! Instead, take action by reporting ivory crimes and urging family, friends, and business associates not to buy ivory. Challenge the misguided belief that wearing ivory will make someone look good and be lucky – after all, how lucky is the dead elephant killed for its ivory tusks?”
This PSA comes in tandem with ENV’s Elephant-friendly Business Campaign and other work to combat the sale of ivory products in Dak Lak province, the elephant ivory hotspot of Vietnam. This included site visits to tourism establishments, encouraging owners to sign pledges not to sell wildlife products, as well as a ‘Tourism Workshop’ to raise awareness on the issue. ENV has worked closely with the Department of Communications in the province on this campaign and sharing the message with the public, including through a text message sent to their 2.17 million subscribers not to consume ivory and buttons on their website and community phone app to call the ENV Wildlife Crime Hotline.
A new ENV volunteer group was also established in Buon Ma Thuot city, Dak Lak province in July 2022. Since that time, they have hosted six public awareness events urging people not to buy ivory products and collecting wildlife protection pledges. Awareness panels have also been placed at 13 government offices and 14 tourist sites in the province.
“It’s important that Vietnam tackles the international trade of ivory at its root cause – the demand. As long as the public still perceives ivory as something fashionable, or even admirable, elephants will continue to be slaughtered,” says Ms. Dung. “It’s vital that public perceptions change, and our elephant ivory campaign strives to reach the public through in-person events, collaboration with local businesses and authorities, and this latest PSA being broadcast on national channels.”
ENV expresses our gratitude to the Elephant Crisis Fund and U.S Department of State for their support in producing the PSA, allowing us to spread the message that ivory is not attractive and directly kills elephants.