Conservationists WildAid want to swap Year of the Monkey for “Year of the Elephant”

Their new campaign seeks to end the ivory trade for once and for all.

The Chinese Lunar New Year falls on this coming Monday (February 8) and 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. International conservation group WildAid, however, would prefer it to be the “Year of the Elephant.”


The charity is launching #JoinTheHerd, a social media-led campaign, which asks people to wish each other a “Happy Year of the Elephant” during the New Year celebrations. That’s “Xiàng Nián Kuài Lè” (See-ANG nyan qua-ler) in Mandarin, in case you didn’t know.

The campaign, created by agency Grey London, comes as part of a year long drive to stamp out the ivory trade. WildAid says that an estimated 33,000 African elephants are killed every year for their tusks, and, while some countries are making moves to end the trade, including China, the world’s biggest ivory market, there is still much work to be done. WildAid is asking governments that have made commitments, in particular, the US, China and Hong Kong, to provide specific details and timelines for phasing out ivory sales.

The initiative is supported by numerous celebrities, several of them Chinese, including Jackie Chan, pianist Lang Lang, basketball player Yao Ming and actress Li Bingbing. Other supporters such as Lupita Nyong’o, Alikiba, Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed are also on board. WildAid ambassador Yoko Ono launched the drive with a tweet to her 4.7million followers.

A campaign website provides facts and figures and a generator that enables users to change their social profile picture to show their support. A film, narrated by U.K. news reading institution, Sir Trevor McDonald, also explains the issue and acts as a call to action.

This initial activity forms the basis for further elements that will take place throughout 2016, including, events, rallies and design and photography competitions aimed at celebrating elephants.


About the author

Louise Jack is a London-based journalist, writer and editor with a background in advertising and marketing. She has written for several titles including Marketing Week, Campaign and The Independent.