National Geographic: F&ES Grad Discusses China’s Role in the Ivory Trade
Before graduating from F&ES last month, Gao Yufang M.E.Sc. ’14 focused his studies on the global ivory trade, with an emphasis on the complex role of his native China.
Gao — who will return to China this month, along with two African conservationists, to explore the country’s ivory markets — recently spoke with National Geographic about the complexities of the ivory market and the role of young people in curbing the slaughter of Africa’s elephants.
He also talks about why he decided to focus on this issue in the first place.
When I came to Yale in September 2012, everyone was talking about ivory trade. As a Chinese in the U.S. who understood how the conservation community in China works, I was seeing a great gap in understanding the ivory trade. I felt that people were — and are — talking past each other. So I got curious: What is really going on here? And this curiosity motivated me to take on the ivory trade project.
During his two years at Yale, Gao conducted field research in Kenya, Botswana, Tanzania, Hong Kong and mainland China and analyzed thousands of media articles to compare the different cultural viewpoints on the ongoing slaughter of African elephants.