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To save African elephants, scientists say ivory sales must stop

While that “regulated” ivory sale idea might sound nice on paper, experts say it has now been officially debunked.

How Forensic Technology Can Help Fight the Ivory Trade

Here at the CITES conference in Johannesburg, almost anyone can tell you that African elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of tens of thousands per year. There are lots of approaches on how to solve the problem: reducing demand for ivory, providing alternative livelihoods for would-be poachers, training anti-poaching units—and forensics.

Sam Wasser of the University of Washington uses DNA testing to identify where the ivory confiscated in major seizures comes from. This makes it easier to know where law enforcement and anti-poaching efforts should be concentrated.

Live Elephant and Rhino Trade Debated at Wildlife Convention

More than 500 live white rhinos and 20 live African elephants have been exported between 2010 and 2014 from range states to countries around the world. Swaziland recently exported elephants to the United States, and Zimbabwe sent elephants to China. White rhinos have been exported to China and elsewhere. Now eight countries are proposing to…

Process for Establishing Future Ivory Trade Rejected at CITES Conference

For the last nine years, CITES parties have been negotiating a “decision-making mechanism,” (DMM), which would establish a process for a future trade in ivory. Today, the parties of CITES voted to end the long-running discussion.

New Elephant Estimate Documents Major Decline

The International Union for Conservation of Nature released its 2016 African Elephant Status Report this morning, and the results are sobering: Africa has approximately 415,000 elephants, a net decline of more than 110,000 from the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2015.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Rangers Face Serious Dangers (Video)

There are many challenges rangers face, says Fyson Suwedi, in this video. A Senior Assistant Parks and Wildlife Officer in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park, he should know. “Poachers look at rangers as obstacles. They can do anything to make sure they get what they want. They can kill the rangers,” he says. The video is part of a series featuring voices of those fighting against organized wildlife crime.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: “There is Hope” (Video)

Wildlife does not belong to an individual,” says Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei in this video interview. Assistant Director of the Southern Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Preserves, Cheptei is a veteran of the struggle to protect his country’s wildlife from poachers, ivory traders, and other criminals. For Cheptei, wild animals belong to everyone, so everyone should be involved in fighting wildlife crime.

“Success is collective…and there’s a lot of hope because everybody all over the world is rallying behind the same. Without hope, we will not be doing what we are doing. There is hope because we come together to preserve it. There is hope because we are fighting for a common good. So there is hope for the survival of these animals. Hope is there for me, for you, for my children, and your children, too. There is hope.”

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Unsung Heroes (Video)

Wildlife trafficking today is unlike anything the world has ever seen before,” says Bryan Christy in this video. The award-winning investigative journalist and National Geographic Fellow adds: “Rare animals are being exploited by criminal syndicates who have access to advanced technology, advanced weapon systems. There’s a huge imbalance in terms of the resources Law Enforcement have…

Rhino Wars: A Short History on #worldrhinoday

World War I and World War II left an indelible mark on the psyche of the world. Nations were destroyed, then formed, and countries, borders and international laws were created in the aftermath of these historic events. The world we live in today was shaped by these events. As those times live on in the collective memory of mankind, we are currently experiencing comparatively catastrophic and historically important events in Africa. A war is currently being fought between nations across the world. A war with human casualties on both sides – but without anyone truly realising what is at stake. We are in the midst of what can loosely be termed the Second Rhino War. Being World Rhino Day on September 22, it is apt to have a quick look at what rhinos have had to endure. The Second Rhino War is mankind’s third attempt at eradicating rhinos from our planet.

What to Expect at CITES: A Sneak Peak at Upcoming Endangered Species Meeting

Even for experienced eyes, sifting through the roughly 200 documents to be considered at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) is a challenge.

CITES protects about 5,600 animal species and 30,000 plant species through restrictions on commercial trade, and much discussion at the meeting, to be held September 24 to October 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa, will concentrate on whether to tighten or loosen trade restrictions for specific species.

Uniting Against Organized Wildlife Crime

Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington this week to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.

The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

How Fighting the Bushmeat Trade Protects Lions

Sometimes, when traveling through Maasai Mara, visitors may see elephants with half of their trunk missing. The poor creatures must kneel to pluck grasses, and they are unable to reach leaves from the canopies of trees at all. It is no mystery what maims these elephants. Over smoky fires, well hidden from passersby on the…

World Conservation Community Calls for Countries to Shut Down Their Domestic Ivory Markets

Today’s vote at the IUCN World Conservation Congress calling for closure of domestic elephant ivory markets across the globe is vital — as the news about Africa’s elephants is as bad as bad news gets. As thousands of conservationists gathered in Honolulu for the World Conservation Congress, it was more than clear that IUCN members needed to take a strong stand if Africa’s elephants were to have a chance at survival.

Catastrophic Declines in Earth’s Wilderness Areas Over the Last 20 Years, Study Finds

Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology show catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the last 20 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said today.

“They demonstrate alarming losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness since the 1990s – an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit,” the New York-based WCS added in a statement released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

Warlords of Ivory

In the return of National Geographic’s critically acclaimed documentary series EXPLORER, follow veteran investigative reporter Bryan Christy on his daring journey to track and expose the illegal global ivory trade. Christy is setting out on a groundbreaking mission to expose how the ivory trade funds some of Africa’s most notorious militias and terrorist groups. Working…