Written by Lim Jin Jie

Heard of Ivory Lane?

Launched two weeks ago (Jul 31), Ivory Lane is a Singaporean online store which claimed to sell “vintage” ivory in the form of accessories. An arsenal of professionally-taken photos and videos of models parading these accessories was employed to advertise and sell these products. These accessories are sold between $160 and $800, claiming that ivory is “a secret desire for most girls”, and “nature’s luxury”. Obviously, this store drew flak and ire from livid netizens, who were quick to air their anger online (the Facebook page drew 60 1-star ratings). This reached 250,000 people, and garnered 65,000 reactions within six days.

A week later (Aug 7), it was revealed on the FB page that this was a publicity stunt engineered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Singapore), and that the Ivory Lane brand was a fictitious brand created for the advertising campaign.

What was it trying to highlight?

WWF-Singapore wanted to draw attention to a loophole in the Singaporean law, which allows for ivory that entered the market before 1990 to be sold in Singapore. This is a problem for WWF, as it “facilitates illicit ivory trade globally as recently poached ivory could masquerade as vintage ivory”. Furthermore, while visiting some 40 shops who are selling ivory products, WWF-Singapore found out that these shop owners also have tips and tricks to smuggle ivory across borders, which worsens the situation.

This was seen as a “high-risk strategy” which shocked the netizens, and hopefully would provide enough traction for Singapore to patch up the legal loophole concerning ivory trade. Louis Ng, MP for Nee Soon GRC, and founder of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society (ACRES), mentioned that he has raised this issue in Parliament, and is hopeful of a quick implementation of the ban.

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