On July 17th, 2018, Columbia Global Centers Nairobi hosted China House in the screening of the documentary film “The Ivory Game” which featured the organization’s CEO – Hongziang Huang.
The documentary featured the unfortunate Chronicles of the African elephant. For the past five years, over 150,000 elephants were killed in Africa for the purpose of ivory trafficking - creating one billion U.S dollars in illegal trade between Africa and China. The documentary, filmed undercover for 16 months across three continents, filmmakers Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani followed a team of intelligence agents, wildlife activists, and frontline rangers as they infiltrated a global network of ivory trafficking. With the Executive Producer Leonardo Dicaprio, the Oscar-shortlisted film has won numerous awards including the WWF Golden Panda Award (Wildscreen Festival 2016), International Green Film Award (Cinema for Peace Award 2017), and the Best International Documentary Feature (Beijing International Film Festival 2017).
Mr. Huang, a Columbia University alumnus conducted extensive investigations on the environmental and social impact of Chinese investment and trade in Latin America and Africa. In 2014, he launched “China House” in Nairobi, Kenya - bringing young Chinese to Africa for research, wildlife conservation and community development projects. He hopes to create a bridge between the Chinese global investment activities and the global sustainable development agenda. This event is a joint collaboration between Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi and China House on the basis of Africa-China Sustainable Development.
Since the movie was released there has been a profound impact in the illegal trade industry. Before the movie, the price of ivory was $3000 but after the movie, the sale price declined to $700 a kilo. A positive outcome has been that the elephant population has increased.
The panelist determined the following;
- That the government must find ways of creating conservation reserves for elephants. This will reduce cases of increased human-elephant conflict.
- Local communities will need to be involved in conservation efforts.
- Young people need to take the leadership mantle in conservation efforts.
- Online Interventions should be done in order to reduce poaching.
- Local filmmakers should film such documentaries to highlight the plight of these endangered species.
- Studies need to be done in trying to understand cultures that emphasize the need to use ivory. Perhaps this sort of interactions would lead to more opportunities to educate people about conservation.
- We need to determine how to make ivory worthless in our efforts to protect it.