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Laurel Neme

www.laurelneme.com

Laurel Neme is the author of ANIMAL INVESTIGATORS: How the World’s First Wildlife Forensics Lab is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species, a narrative non-fiction “CSI for wildlife” with a foreword by Richard Leakey and endorsed by Jane Goodall that's been featured on ABC News Nightline and NPR’s Science Friday. She is also the author of the children's book, ORANGUTAN HOUDINI, based on a true story of an ape who outwits his zookeeper. She has hosted The WildLife radio show and addressed a range of groups on wildlife forensics and trafficking, and animal intelligence, including INTERPOL’s Wildlife Crime Working Group, the St. Louis Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, universities, school groups and libraries. Previously, she worked on natural resource and wildlife management as both a government officer and international consultant in dozens of countries around the world, helping her understand the real-life tradeoffs between wildlife protection and human economic needs. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Michigan and PhD from Princeton University. See Laurel Neme's website for more.

Speaking up for Elephants: Reflections on Vermont’s Ivory Sales Ban Hearing

“In a world where everything feels like it is moving at the speed of light, slowing down and watching an elephant in its natural habitat is calming and shows us the importance of paying attention to the natural world.”

That opinion came from 12-year-old Taegen Yardley, a sixth grader at Endeavour Middle School in Shelburne, Vermont, on April 8 when she testified before Vermont’s House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources in support of a proposed state ban on ivory and rhino horn sales (H.297). Twenty of her classmates filled the ornate room to listen and show support.

Citizens Spur States to Ban Trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn

“When you think things need to change, you have the power to make it happen,” Ashley McAvey, homegrown elephant activist and mother of two, told students recently at Endeavour Middle School in Shelburne, Vermont. McAvey is the driving force behind Vermont’s proposed legislation (H. 297) to ban sales of elephant ivory and rhino horn in…

Ethiopia Burns Entire 6.1-Ton Ivory Stockpile

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – At a ceremony today in the capital, Ethiopia burned its entire 6.1-ton ivory stockpile. The event was held at the Gulele Botanical Garden, close to the headquarters of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), where the ivory had been stored. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and officials from the Ministries of…

Will Mobilization of Military Forces Stop Elephant Poaching in Cameroon?

Ten elephant carcasses discovered in mid-January in and around Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park are raising fears that poachers may again be targeting the park. But information remains sketchy. According to the Cameroon Tribune, a government newspaper, the military made several patrols following reports of gunfire and men on horseback searching for elephants. They found…

In Hong Kong, Kids Take Action to Stop the Illegal Ivory Trade

Hong Kong schoolchildren are transforming attitudes about elephant ivory through small actions that are having a big impact.

New WildLeaks Website Invites Whistle-Blowers on Wildlife Crime

Wildlife trafficking crimes often go undetected and unchallenged, even though they threaten many endangered species, including elephants, rhinos, and pangolins.

Elephant Foster Mom: A Conversation with Daphne Sheldrick

Orphaned elephants “can be fine one day and dead the next,” says Daphne Sheldrick, a Kenyan conservationist and expert in animal husbandry. She knows. To date, she has fostered over 250 calves, first in partnership with her husband, David Sheldrick, founding warden of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park and a legendary naturalist, and later (following…

Ivory Mandala: A Fitting Memorial from the U.S. Ivory Crush

Tomorrow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use an industrial rock crusher to destroy its six-ton stockpile of confiscated elephant ivory. The event is both a demonstration of the U.S.’s commitment to stop ivory trafficking and its belief that the legal ivory trade stimulates consumer demand and promotes elephant poaching. What it is not…

Al Shabaab and the Human Toll of the Illegal Ivory Trade

The real boon for Al Shabaab’s ivory business is soaring demand in consuming countries, which translates into high prices. Illicit raw ivory now fetches over U.S. $1,500 per kilogram in Asia; in China the “official” cost for raw ivory is supposedly more than $2,865 per kilogram. That means higher profits for Al Shabaab—and a treasury it can use to wreak chaos. Consumers can help break that lifeline by not buying ivory.

Destroying Elephant Ivory Stockpiles: No Easy Matter

When the Philippines destroyed its five-ton stockpile of seized elephant tusks on June 21, it marked not only the first time an ivory-consuming nation took such a public action but also the first time a country took key steps to guarantee that it could not re-enter the black market.

A Powerful Weapon Against Ivory Smugglers: DNA Testing

With illegal ivory trade at its highest level in almost two decades, and large-scale ivory seizures more than doubling since 2009, a new commitment to submit ivory shipments for DNA testing is a welcome development. “The single most important thing we can do is figure out where the killings are taking place,” says Samuel Wasser, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington. Wasser and his team innovated techniques for extracting and analyzing DNA from ivory. The team also developed a DNA map for African elephants that allows the geographic origin of a tusk to be ascertained within a 160-mile radius.

Chaos and Confusion Following Elephant Poaching in a Central African World Heritage Site

As poachers fired on forest elephants inside the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, a World Heritage Site in the Central African Republic (CAR), the impotence of foreign governments and non-governmental organizations in preventing the slaughter of wildlife amid political chaos was, once again, revealed. Earlier this week, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that on May 6…

Did Polar Bears Really Lose at CITES?

Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 16th Conference of Parties held in Bangkok in March rejected a proposal to ban international trade in polar bears and their parts. The decision caused a stir because polar bears face a precarious future. While some non-governmental organizations were deeply disappointed by the failure to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would have banned all international trade in the species and their parts, Steven Amstrup—a renowned polar bear scientist—believes that limitations on trade don’t address the real challenge facing the iconic animals.

New Promises Follow Elephant Slaughter in Chad and Cameroon

In the aftermath of the largest elephant poaching episode thus far in 2013, Central African governments met to coordinate and adopt an emergency plan to combat the killings. But is it too little, too late? WARNING: This post contains graphic images of slain elephants and an aborted calf.

Saving Elephants One School at a Time

Celia Ho, a 14-year-old girl from Hong Kong, has been working on an ivory ban campaign to help save elephants from the inhumane ivory market. In this post for A Voice for Elephants, Celia talks about some of her projects and asks for everyone’s support.