THAILAND MARKS NATIONAL WILDLIFE PROTECTION DAY: ‘I am #IvoryFree’ Campaign Attracts 15,000 Supporters, 87 Million Views

BANGKOK, December 26, 2017 – Commemorating Thailand National Wildlife Protection Day today, the U.S Agency for International Development Wildlife Asia program and WildAid announced that their recent online pledge campaign, “I am #IvoryFree,” garnered over 87 million views of social media photo posts after mobilizing Thai society to never buy, own or accept ivory as a gift.

Launched in September, the campaign engaged more than 100 Thai celebrities and high-profile influencers from business, entertainment, politics, sports, art, culture, religion and the press, as well as 15,200 members of the public to pledge “I am #IvoryFree.” The campaign generated 907,000 likes, 2,300 comments and 1,500 shares.

"Wildlife trafficking is a transnational crime that requires a drastic  permanent change in consumer behavior to reduce demand and end this scourge," said U.S. Ambassador Glyn Davies, who joined the campaign in September. "We need to change the perception that ivory is a symbol of status and wealth. The 'I am #IvoryFree' campaign has proven to be a great way to involve the Thai public in helping the world understand that consumer decisions have a direct impact on the poaching crisis.”

As part of the campaign, social influencers ranging from celebrities, politicians, business leaders, diplomats, beauty queens, reporters, sport stars and others invited all Thai people to create their Ivory Free photo at and post their image on their social media profiles with a message on why they are making the pledge with hashtags including, #ไม่เอางาไม่ฆ่าช้าง #IvoryFree.

The campaign also invited popular social media platforms to integrate and use messages from this campaign to create their own content suitable for their followers.  These social media platforms, including prominent news and pop culture sites, were able to secure an additional 217,000 engagements from their followers comprising 211,000 likes, 1,300 comments and 4,100 shares.

The illicit trade of ivory and poaching claims up to 33,000 elephants globally per year.  Many governments around the world have banned domestic sale of ivory. The Thai government has taken several steps towards this goal, including introducing the Elephant Ivory Act and prohibiting the sale of African elephant ivory. With momentum building at the government level to tackle the illegal ivory trade, the “I am #IvoryFree” campaign was conceptualized as a demand reduction effort to deter the purchase of ivory among current and potential ivory consumers and help create a new a social norm among the public that buying and owning ivory is socially unacceptable. The online campaign was strategic considering that online trade in illegal wildlife has significantly increased in recent years. The Thai government referenced this campaign in its National Ivory Action Plan progress report to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) at a recent Standing Committee Meeting in Geneva.

Ivory Free is an initiative of WildAid, running in China, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States since 2014. The "I am #IvoryFree” campaign is a continuation of WildAid’s existing campaign in Thailand.

“I am #IvoryFree campaign shows that the Thai public is doing what they can to help save elephants from the poaching crisis,” said John Baker, Managing Director of WildAid.  “We hope to see less tolerance for ivory in society and much less demand, because when the buying stops, the killing can too.”