Guerrilla against wildlife crimes in ‘Vacanze Romane’ film location

A splendid spring Sunday, a historic square full of tourists, a symbolic day – Earth Day: an ideal mix for an event that marked only the latest in a long series of communication activities of the SWiPE project in Italy.

At the end of more than two years organizing press trips, producing hundreds of articles and interviews, promoting reports, WWF Italy wanted to end on a high note by choosing the path of unconventional communication – Guerrilla communication.

On 22 of april –  Earth Day, over 300 people, including teenagers, children, italian and foreign tourists came into contact with the theme of wildlife crimes and explored the matter attracted by 4 enormous (fake) elephant tusks of realistic dimensions, positioned in the center of Piazza di Spagna, one of the iconic places in Rome and set of many film as Roman Holiday/Vacanze Romane, The Talented Mr. Ripley, ect. .

Guerrilla event against wildlife crimes organised by WWF Italy as part of the LIFE SWiPE, on Earth Day 2023 in Rome.
Getting ready for the ‘Guerrilla’ event. Picture by WWF Italy.

On these tusks, a special ‘tag’ signaled the turnover linked to the illegal ivory trade and the risk of extinction for this as for many other species linked to wildlife crimes. All passers-by, after an initial moment of amazement, asked for information and left the mark of their commitment with their coloured hands under the message ‘STOP WILDLIFE CRIME’.  

The most important Italian newspaper – Corriere della Sera – recounted Earth Day (an event full of appointments from dozens of other organizations throughout Italy) by publishing a photo of the SWiPE event.

Guerilla’s moment was planned as part of a special information Marathon organized by WWF Italy against wildlife crimes and lasting about 1 month: this Marathon opened with the high-level institutional workshop organized in the halls of the Cassation which was attended by the highest institutional offices and the judiciary, continued with the Guerrilla event (anticipated by some post ‘teasers ) and subsequently with a cycle of informative posts on the various themes of wildlife crime published on the social channels of WWF Italy.

This long wave of communication acted as a formidable ‘teaser’ in preparation for an important fundraising campaign by WWF Italy whose funds were destined for an elephant conservation project in Africa.