They said the criminals were too well-funded. They said the consumers still wanted ivory. They said it was too complex, too hard. They underestimated us.
Forty years ago, we proved the pen is mightier than the sword. (Or perhaps, the print ad is mightier than the rifle.) We created these ads to expose ivory buying for the murderous purchase it was. It didn't just catch wildlife traffickers off guard… It helped crash the entire ivory market.
We stopped the biggest elephant poaching crisis ever and gave this majestic species a chance to bounce back.
In the 80s, wearing ivory was all the rage… Until we convinced buyers that it isn't cool; it's cruel. But the ivory market has since evolved, and its newest trend is medicine.
In some parts of the world, ivory powder and rhino horn are believed to have healing properties. That makes about as much sense as chewing your nails to cure cancer. (Rhino horn is made of keratin, the same stuff in your fingernails.) Wealthy buyers are also seeking out ivory for trinkets and tchotchkes. You can even buy it on the internet.
Today we're at the brink of another global poaching crisis – and buyers and criminals think they're doing nothing wrong. Our message will set them straight.
If current poaching rates continue, Africa's elephants are expected to be extinct within the next ten years. Elephants form tight-knit matriarchal communities, and poaching just one elephant can decimate an entire herd – orphaning its calves without their primary food source and leaving the fellow adults vulnerable to more attacks.
When demand is high and supply is low, 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of ivory can sell for up to $1,000 on the black market.
An estimated 20,000 African elephants are killed annually to support the criminal ivory trade.
A full-grown elephant's tusks can weigh 11 kilograms (24.2 lbs).
The global ivory market is worth approximately $22 million annually.
The biggest tusks are found on the largest breeding males and the oldest females, who lead the elephant troops. Where these animals are targeted and killed, elephant populations are reduced to leaderless groups of traumatized orphans huddling together.
Their money kills them.
Your money saves them.
Forty years ago, poachers were a bunch of ruthless men with guns. Today they're on the frontline of a sophisticated international crime syndicate that stretches from the bright savanna to the dark web.
But one thing hasn't changed: it's all about money.
Wildlife traffickers will always underestimate us. They may think their big guns and smug grins scare us. But while they're paying to kill wildlife, we're paying to save them. Wildlife conservationists like you are our secret weapon in this fight.
Actor and Animal Advocate Candice Bergen is matching all gifts. Let's double down to save elephants, rhinos, pangolins, lions, and giraffes from extinction. We have to work twice as hard and twice as fast, and now we can with twice the impact.Double Your Gift
African Wildlife Foundation is Africa's leading and most trusted conservation organization. Our strategies to fight poaching, habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, climate change, and other threats are working to save endangered species from extinction. Stay involved!