From November 21 through 22, the USAIDfunded Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking (ARREST) program held an iTHINK public outreach event at a large shopping center in Bangkok, Thailand.

iTHINK is a wildlife consumption reduction campaign which utilizes Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs), influential, well know members of society, to encourage the public to abstain from consuming endangered species and wildlife products.  The campaign began early in 2013 and continues to grow; having already spread to China and Vietnam.  The outreach event features displays of the iTHINK ads and TV playing the iTHINK Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring KOLs including the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney.

Attracting lots of attention from visitors, the panel discussion featuring Thai celebrities was a highlight.  Lt.Col. Wanchana Sawasdee, one of the iTHINK ambassadors, was asked to share his thoughts about wildlife trafficking.  He stressed the importance of creating awareness and for the general public to not only stop consuming wildlife, whether it be by taking medicine or having illegal pets, but also report environmental crime to the proper authorities.  Events such as this are crucial in helping to educate the public concerning wildlife trafficking and the responsibility the public has to ensure protected wildlife is left where it belongs, the wild.

Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update