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WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade

Caitlin Ashworth

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WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | Thaiger
Wildcat skins confiscated in a crackdown by Thai authorities in March 2019. Photo by Wildlife Friends Foundation Branch

The following is a press release submitted by WildAid, a non-profit organisation pushing to end illegal wildlife trade.

In honor of World Wildlife Day, WildAid is launching a series of advertisements highlighting the plight of endangered species, a result of poaching to meet consumer demand for wildlife products such as elephant ivory, rhino horns, shark fin, tiger parts and helmeted hornbill casques. The advertisements released today feature the five species and ask the public to react against wildlife trade by refusing wildlife products and reporting illegal wildlife crime to authorities.

Like many markets, trade in wildlife and wildlife products is shifting online. TRAFFIC’s monitoring of 31 websites and e-commerce 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%). In the last few years, social media has also played a role in fostering the illegal wildlife trade because of the platform’s popularity and reach. 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 series of advertisements launched through social media is in response to the increasing market and accessibility of wildlife products on popular platforms. The concept of the advertisements was developed pro bono by BBDO Bangkok, Thailand’s leading creative and advertising agency. The #ReactAgainstWildlifeTrade campaign uses a familiar “angry reaction” emoji to illustrate the message that killing endangered species for their parts is unacceptable and this senseless poaching should evoke anger in us all. The campaign was developed based on WildAid’s slogan “When the buying stops, the killing can too,” with an aim to encourage people to REACT against any wildlife trade on their social media channels, putting social pressure on those who are consuming or selling wildlife products.

The illegal wildlife trade is a multi-billion dollar global industry largely driven by consumer demand in expanding economies. The demand for illegal wildlife is highest in Asia, where owning or consuming wildlife products is reflective of status, wealth, or purported health benefits.

For 20 years, WildAid has been campaigning to end the demand for illegal wildlife products using the same technique as top advertisers and delivering high-impact media campaigns. The campaigns are featured on broadcast television and radio, on trains and airplanes, at bus stops and subway stations, and on online platforms, adapting to shifting trends in the wildlife market.

“WildAid’s campaigns are designed keeping in mind cultural and consumer insights, and the latest trends for maximum impact. As a result, there have been significant drops in prices and consumption of endangered species products, such as ivory, rhino horn and shark fin,” said John Baker, Chief Program Officer at WildAid. “We hope that these ads will continue to help increase unacceptability of trading and posting wildlife products online, as well as offline.”

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 trade puts not only biodiversity and endangered species at risk, but also our health and economies, as highlighted by the recent COVID-19 outbreak which likely emerged from a live animal market.

“We are proud to support WildAid in its fight to help protect endangered wildlife,” said Somkiat Larptanunchaiwong, CEO at BBDO Bangkok. “BBDO Bangkok is deeply concerned by the depletion of wildlife populations worldwide and the trade of products, such as elephant ivory, rhino horn, shark fin and tiger parts. With this hard-hitting advertisement developed for WildAid, we are confident that our efforts can have an impact on ending consumer consumption behaviors that threaten our planet’s biodiversity.”

“Every small action matters! #ReactAgainstWildlifeTrade every time you see wildlife products on your social media.” added Anuwat Nitipanont, Chief Creative Officer at BBDO Bangkok.

The series of advertisements will be launched through WildAid’s platforms in the U.S, Hong Kong and Thailand.

WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | News by Thaiger WildAid launches ad campaign in Thailand to raise awareness about illegal wildlife trade | News by Thaiger

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. The study also found that the belief held by some that the power of elephants and tigers can bring good fortune and ward off evil is another driver of demand for derivative products from these endangered animals.

Helmeted Hornbill: TRAFFIC’s online 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.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Well Wild Aid raising awareness is commendable. but having people that earn $161.000, they should do more than complain.
    They should take these animal torturers to court.
    By the way. £161.000 is not the most that they pay these do-gooders.
    The top earners have a system that makes it impossible to discover WHAT they earn!

  2. Avatar

    Antony

    Thursday, March 11, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    let every lost soul give no rest to these bastards, not day not night. God will send them all the troubles and diseases

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Environment

Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation

Maya Taylor

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Environmentalists criticise Netflix fishing doco for inaccuracies and misinformation | Thaiger
PHOTO: Alex Berger / Flickr

As Thailand accuses a Netflix documentary of using outdated and inaccurate information about the country’s fishing industry, a number of global environmental experts are echoing similar criticisms. According to a report in Coconuts, Seaspiracy has been slammed for being full of inaccuracies and twisting the science behind the damage to the world’s oceans, minimising the role of climate change and plastic pollution.

Brian Kahn, a journalist with an MA in Climate and Society, has written a piece called, Don’t Watch Netflix’s Seaspiracy, in which he also accuses the documentary of resorting to racial stereotypes.

“The bad guys are Asians, specifically Japanese whale and dolphin hunters and Chinese consumers of shark fin soup. The good guys – in this case, the experts he cites – are mostly white.”

According to the Coconuts report, the Marine Stewardship Council in London agrees the documentary contains “several inaccuracies” and the Plastic Pollution Coalition says the makers have “cherry-picked” quotes that will fit with their narrative. Marine biology magazine, Hakai, has also weighed in on the matter.

“Though the film misleads viewers with oversimplified science, its real harm is that it ignores the history, culture, and systemic inequities that are entwined with ocean conservation.”

Seaspiracy had its global release last month and has become one of the top 10 most-watched offerings on the Netflix streaming service. Opinion is divided, with many praising British filmmaker Ali Tabrizi for highlighting the issues with the global fishing industry, while others have slammed it for being biased and scientifically inaccurate.

The Royal Thai Navy has also criticised its portrayal of the country’s fishing industry, claiming it’s based on outdated information. In 2015, reporter Thapanee Eadsrichai exposed the significant role human trafficking and slavery played in the industry. This led to a crackdown of sorts, although slavery is still suspected of playing a role, on a smaller scale. The EU then threatened to ban all Thai seafood when the Kingdom’s illegal fishing practices came to light, but backed down when Thailand took steps to rectify the situation.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Thailand

Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution

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Report attributes 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand to air pollution | Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia Commons

According to the State of Global Air 2020 Report, around 32,000 premature deaths in Thailand, back in 2019, have been attributed to air pollution. The report cites the PM2.5 pollution particles as the main culprit as particles in that size range are the most likely to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs.

Exposure to these fine particles can cause short-term health effects, such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. But the long-term effects of being exposed to the particles is much more sinister.

Long-term exposure to PM2.5 pollution particles can affect lung function and worsen medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease. Scientific studies have linked increases in daily PM2.5 exposure with increased respiratory and cardiovascular hospital admissions, emergency department visits and deaths.

Studies also suggest that long-term exposure to fine particulate matter may be associated with increased rates of chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function and increased mortality from lung cancer and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be more sensitive to PM2.5 particles.

In Thailand, it’s burning season in the north as farmland and forests blaze with abundance (the annual burning season usually lasts from January to April, before the wet season kicks in). Despite increasing cautions against air pollution affecting short and long-term health of residents, the fires don’t show signs of stopping. The government has even issued a no burning ban, but enforcing the ban has proved to be fruitless as such provinces in northern Thailand consist of vast forest lands.

The government helicopter team can only do so much as they set out to locate hotspots and attempt to extinguish them by dropping buckets of water. But crop burning appears to be the cheapest and fastest way to help farmers clear their lands for a new growing season.

Recently, Thailand’s northern province of Chiang Mai has ranked the 3rd most polluted city in the world, according to AirVisual, which gives live updates of rankings. Today, Chiang Mai doesn’t appear in the list of the top 10 most air-polluted cities in the world, according to iqair.com

SOURCE: Sky News/Health.ny.gov

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Environment

TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic

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TAT says Phuket beaches have been “revitalised” during the pandemic | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Phuket’s beaches are perhaps one of the only silver linings from the Covid pandemic, with marine life visibly rebounding after a long break from tourism, at least that’s what the Tourism Authority of Thailand says. The tourism officials say the huge reduction in tourist traffic has contributed to the Andaman Sea and coastlines becoming clearer than it has been in a long time, with local reservoirs teeming with fresh water.

But tourism officials didn’t mention the recent sea urchin phenomenon where hundreds of the red spiky sea creatures washed up on Patong Beach. A marine life expert in Phuket says wastewater being dumped in the Andaman Sea led to an algae bloom near the shoreline. Sea urchins moved to feast on the algae, but ended up getting stranded on the beach due to the tides. He says the sea urchins need to be in the ocean because they filter the water and serve as “cleaner of the sea.”

The Tourism Authority of Thailand recently released a statement, hyping up the Phuket beaches and saying the beaches have been “revitalised,” just as the island province prepares to reopen in July to vaccinated visitors.

They say Kamala Beach is still a popular destination, with a family-friendly atmosphere that offers tranquility along with snorkelling and swimming. Surin and Bangtao beaches are quieter than usual but still remain an excellent choice for those tourists who wish to partake in the nightlife and clubbing scene, according to TAT.

Mai Khao, Nai Yang, Nai Thon, and Sai Kaeo beaches, in northern Phuket, are visibly rejuvenated areas to visit as well. The 4 beaches are part of Sirinat National Park, where Olive Ridley sea turtles and Leatherneck turtles have returned during the pandemic to lay eggs. The Olive Ridley turtles were seen laying eggs on Mai Khao Beach after 20 years of no activity. The Leatherneck turtles also returned to lay eggs after 10 years of being absent.

The process to compromise between tourism and nature, started a few years ago with the beaches only allowing 10% to be consumed by vendors, umbrellas, and beach chairs. The southern beaches of Kata, Nai Han, and Kata Noi have also benefitted from the 10% vendor zone rule, as all seem to be returning to their original, pristine conditions they displayed a decade ago.

SOURCE: TAT News| Phuket News

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