Conservation organization WildAid and Lao design firm Bluegrass Design have teamed up to spread the word about the ivory trade in Laos.
Billboards have been placead at Vientiane’s Wattay Airport with WildAid Ambassador and former NBA star Yao Ming at the forefront, urging travelers to say no to the ivory trade.
The ivory trade is known to kill up to 33,000 elephants per year, according to WildAid. While governments around the world have banned the ivory trade, the illegal market in Laos is increasing.
According to WildAid, 80% of the illicit ivory on sale in Laos is purchased by mainland Chinese visitors, with many items made specifically to suit Chinese tastes.
The launch of the billboards comes as regulations on wildlife trafficking are getting tougher, with the Prime Minister himself issuing an order last month on increased stringency in management and inspection of protected wild flora and fauna. The order was issued to tighten implementation of forest plant and wildlife protection, especially those species which are classified as endangered.
Under the new order, border checkpoint staff and police officers are being instructed to increase vigilance regarding inspections for trafficking of wild animals and plants. Any immigration officers found aiding or assisting wildlife traffickers will be immediately arrested and prosecuted.
Source: Laos Briefly