In his presentation, “Social Interactions in the Ivory Trade: Comparing Chinese and Western Perspectives,” Gao described the analytical framework he used to compare the starkly different cultural viewpoints on the ongoing slaughter of African elephants.
“Preliminary analysis shows Chinese and western societies are divided on their understanding about the scale and scope of ivory black market in China, the major ivory consumers and their motivations for buying ivory,” he said.
Gao, who is attempting to map the social context behind these different values and beliefs, compiled data from observations, analysis of news reports, and interviews conducted in China, Kenya, and the U.S.
“I suggested that the African elephant conservation could benefit from greater consensus among all participants in which they seek to clarify and secure their common interests. This will require adjustments in the current social process.”