When I heard about the news that China for the first time crushed 6.1 tons of ivory in public, I was just back from three months' field investigative reporting in Africa on Chinese involvement in wildlife trafficking—essentially focused on ivory and rhino horns. I was glad to see tangible action being taken in addition to general embassy announcements stating "Chinese always care about environment and wildlife." Finally, I feel that, we have something solid to show to the world. However, I also deeply understand that this big crush is not enough.
In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a terrible epidemic of poaching in Africa. That’s when AWF did our “Only Elephants Should Wear Ivory” campaign, and we found a way to slam the brakes on this poaching.
“I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man...”
The above picture was taken by wildlife photographer Nick Brandt (Big Life Foundation), who, one year ago, photographed this elephant just 24 hours before she was brutally slaughtered by gun toting poachers for her ivory.
To spread the ivory ban idea as far as possible, I filmed a 12-min video introducing the history and impact of ivory trade, habits of elephants and my "Schools United for Elephants" campaign, in both English and Mandarin, directed by Miss Josefina Bergsten.
Elephants are the largest land animals, so it comes as a great surprise that for one species, we really don’t know that much. How can an animal so large be studied so little? Despite their size, African forest elephants are actually very difficult to see.