January 24, 2019

9:00 pm

"Step Away From The Souvenir, Sir"

Snow globe? No problem. Kitschy keychain or fridge magnet? Sure. Ivory jewelry? That is going to be an issue.

On the one-year anniversary of China’s ban of commercial ivory sales, the Chinese government and two NGOs are teaming up to remind Chinese tourists that certain "souvenirs could be contraband."

The pubic-awareness campaign, notes China Daily, “informs travelers that purchasing wildlife products is driving certain species toward extinction and reminds them that it is illegal to bring ivory into China, even as souvenirs.”

The national campaign is overseen by two Chinese governmental agencies — the Customs division and the National Forestry and Grasslands Administration (NFGA) — and two NGOS — WildAid and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Both of the NGOS are also Moving Giants “Elephant Champions.”

There have been dramatic improvements in China since domestic sales of ivory were banned there, as a September 2018 survey released by the WWF and TRAFFIC (yet another Moving Giants “Elephant Champion”) showed a decline in illegal sales and demand for ivory. But that survey also showed that Chinese tourists were purchasing ivory products while overseas — particularly in Thailand and Hong Kong being the top two markets.

Hence the campaign, which aims to seize ivory products at the border, before they come into the country.