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How we killed a 4,000 year old word to keep elephants alive

"Our idea was to change the law by changing the language”

Hong Kong is the world’s ivory trade capital. But because the word for ‘ivory’ translates to ‘elephant tooth’, over 70% of Chinese people believe ivory extraction is harmless.

We needed to change public perception to help pressure the government and ban the trade once and for all.

Hong Kongers joined forces with linguistic experts to co-create a new word, ‘Tooth of Life’, and sign a petition. Over 60,000 signatures were eventually delivered to the government chief executive. The end result was the HK government banning the ivory trade on January 13th 2016.

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