Prominent Thai thought leaders counter spiritual beliefs about wildlife products

Over the past two months, USAID Wildlife Asia, in collaboration with WildAid, launched short and long version Facebook videos of interviews with two prominent Thai thought leaders from the “A Good Life is Free of Killing” campaign. The campaign aims to raise doubt about the perceived power of ivory and tiger amulets to bring good luck and prevent harm, a major driver of consumption.

In his interview video, Bhin Banloerit, a popular film star, candidly admits that he used to buy and wear amulets made from wildlife parts but has rejected this practice.  Venerable Vajiramedhi, a highly respected Buddhist monk, explains why the Buddhist virtues cannot be found in animal parts and calls on his audience to stop using ivory and tiger amulets. As of April 24, 2020, these two influencers have had a combined reach of 53,269 and 27,885 views, respectively. So what? Social behavior change communication approaches leverage the power of repeat messaging and the use of trusted individuals to change broad scale perceptions on the social acceptability of consuming wildlife products.  Often very difficult to obtain, these testimonials not only enhance the credibility of campaigns but offer compelling proof that these influencers strongly believe in and are fully committed to its messages.