In light of the escalating elephant poaching crisis, and to commemorate the World Animal Day on Oct. 4, a student cycling team from Shandong University in China is raising public awareness about the elephant poaching threat during a four-day bike tour across Shandong province that begins today. The students will wear t-shirts and carry flags about protecting elephants and urge passersby to sign a pledge to not purchase ivory. Humane Society International is a sponsoring organization.
Participating students and sponsoring organizations will share photos and videos from the Cycling for Elephants tour on Chinese social media networks to further engage the Chinese public.
Iris Ho, Wildlife Program manager of HSI, said: “The student-run Cycling for Elephants event illustrates that people in China, particularly Chinese youth, are sympathetic to the plight of imperiled elephants. From our experience with directly engaging Chinese communities in animal protection issues, we know that concerned Chinese citizens are willing and ready to be part of the global effort to stop the ivory trade.”
Feng Yongfeng, co-founder of Green Beagle (also known as “The Nature University”), a Beijing-headquartered environmental organization and organizer of the event, said: “In light of the rapid decline of elephant populations due to poaching, the progress of China towards banning the ivory trade is seriously lacking. With burgeoning relationships between Africa and China, and between China and the international community, China’s determination to help the African countries combat the illegal ivory trade should be more resolute.”
Cycling is a popular activity among students during the annual week-long holiday to celebrate China’s National Day. The four-day, 350 km bike tour will take students from the capital of Shandong province, Jinan, to the major coastal city of Rizhao in the same province.
Cycling for Elephants is being held in conjunction with several dozen “Global March for Elephants and Rhinos” events across the globe on Oct. 4.