Online campaign calls on Kenyan government to address trade partner's role in ivory smuggling.
Kenyans are trying to save their endangered elephants, one tweet at a time. The "Hands off Our Elephants" campaign took on a geopolitical perspective after a Kenyan court sentenced a Chinese ivory smuggler to two and a half years in prison. This is a stricter punishment than previous sentences for convicted smugglers who usually face small fines.
The conviction comes after President Uhuru Kenyatta's recent trip to China to sign a five billion dollar agreement in new infrastructure projects, as well as an effort to address wildlife preservation. But many Kenyans online called on both governments to do more.
More than 10,000 users have signed a petition calling on President Kenyatta to increase punishments for wildlife crimes and initiate talks with leading countries in the ivory trade, including China.
For more on the illegal wildlife trade and how the internet is fueling unprecedented levels of trafficking, watch our recent show: 'The dark side of ivory'.
The campaign spread widely not only online, but in traditional media as well. News channels and papers both devoted coverage to the initiative. In the photo below, a Kenyan news presenter wears an armband in support of the campaign.
Many targeted their tweets at China, addressing the conflict between its trade with Kenya and its position as a leading market for ivory. More....