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WWF’s ‘Ivory Trade’ Campaign Riles Netizens Who Believed It Was The Real Deal
By Izza Sofia, 12 Aug 2018
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has taken an audacious step towards increasing awareness about tackling illegal poaching with a clever stunt in Singapore.
By capitalizing on loopholes in the law that allow for the sale of ivory in Singapore, the wildlife conservation body developed a faux brand to “retail” ivory online that has infuriated and mobilized the public.
The trade of ivory in Singapore has been profitable over the years due to the exploitation of a loophole in the law, which has been detrimental to the lives of conserved elephant species that are hunted for their tusks.
WWF created an online shop and fake designer brand called Ivory Lane, from which consumers could “buy” ivory goods, similar to over 40 shops that the organization had already found online. This catfishing scheme provoked an outcry and spotlight the discrepancy in the law.
Ivory imports have been banned in Singapore for almost three decades, but ivory that arrived in the country prior to 1990 can still be legally sold. Furthermore, despite the ban, ivory is apparently still being smuggled into the country. Since the 2000s, the authorities have seized almost 13 tonnes of ivory in the country.
A study by the country’s YouGov Research service found that only a dismal eight percent of those surveyed were aware of this loophole, or understand the current legislation behind this issue. 50 percent of respondents thought that such a trade was already made wholly illegal in Singapore.
The campaign, as expected, provoked quite a response on social media. WWF eventually came clean with the truth to its audience, though it did face some backlash over the initial deception.
In a Facebook post, WWF clarified, “Ivory Lane is a fictitious brand that was created by WWF-Singapore to highlight the shortcomings of wildlife laws in Singapore. Ivory Lane does NOT own or sell any ivory products. Though the brand may be fictional, the issues highlighted are real. Our recent investigation has found over 40 shops in Singapore selling ivory products.”
Elaine Tan, the CEO of WWF Singapore, explained that laws regarding wildlife are not so easily understood, and illegal traders have continually circumvented the laws, leading to illegal trades being made in plain sight due to the cloud of uncertainty in the legislation.
WWF had taken these exact same steps that enabled it to successfully establish the brand and online shop—though its ulterior motive was different from that of illegal traders—which reinforces the lack of awareness in the country.
According to WWF, as of 7 August, the campaign reached over 250,000 people and amassed 65,000 reactions within six days.
Thank you for lending your voice.Posted by Ivory Lane Singapore on Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Disclaimer: Ivory Lane is a fictitious brand that was created by WWF-Singapore to...
[via The Drum, opening image via Ivory Lane Singapore]
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