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The Great Tuskers of Matusadona

Matusadona National Park in northern Zimbabwe is one of the few places in Africa where great numbers of elephants still roam.  The 404 square-mile wilderness adjacent to Lake Kariba forms part of a remarkable Tusker gene pool that is linked to Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Hwange National Park. Bordering the Lake on the Zimbabwean side, the area takes…

Drones Can Curb Poaching, But They’re Much Costlier Than Alternatives

Before large amounts of conservation dollars are thrown at drone technologies, another question must be asked: How effective are they at stopping poaching of animals other than iconic megafauna like elephants and rhinos?

How Kenya’s New Wildlife Forensic and Genetics Lab Will Help Save Wildlife

By Fredrick Nzwili

In Kenya, poaching of wildlife for bush meat, trophies such as rhino horns and elephant tusks, skins of animals, feathers of birds, as well as illegal trafficking in animals for the pet trade such as rare chameleons and parrots, has reached epic proportions.

While many suspects of these crimes have been arrested, they often elude punishment because concrete, scientific evidence that would result in prosecutions and convictions isn’t available.

This is bound to change following the launch of a forensic and genetic laboratory last month at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters in Nairobi.

You Could Go to Jail for Tweeting This in Tanzania

By Maraya Cornell Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has signed into law a controversial “Cybercrimes Act,” it was announced Friday. Critics say the law gives police broad powers of search and seizure and makes it a crime to share information online that the government deems “false” or “misleading.” One piece of information that would likely fall…

To Stem Thriving Online U.S. Ivory Market, Stronger Laws and Enforcement Needed, Says Author of New Report

In a new report, Elephant vs. Mouse, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) uncover a robust trade in ivory and related wildlife products on Craigslist, a classified advertising online platform. Craigslist is a massive site, with 50 billion page views and 80 million postings added each month.

For Africa’s Elephants, Bearing Witness Bears Fruit

By James Deutsch

Chelsea Clinton is back in Africa because she understands that the successful conservation projects in areas she toured in 2013 – including Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park and the Kazungula Landscape, comprising parts of Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola – don’t have to be the exception. She and President Clinton, accompanying her on this trip, believe that with sufficient resources and political will, such efforts can be repeated across the continent where elephants, rhinos, and other threatened species continue to be poached.

In South Africa, Where Elephants Are Fenced In, Choosing Contraception Over Culling

In South Africa, 20 protected areas now use a contraceptive to control elephant birth rates, including nine of the country’s 25 parks and reserves with the largest elephant populations. Proven effective in trials funded by Humane Society International, PZP will slow population growth so that the habitats on which elephants and other species depend can be preserved.

Ivory Is Worthless, Elephants Are Invaluable: Why Malawi’s Ivory Is Not For Sale

By Jonathan Vaughan

On April 2, Malawi’s planned destruction of its ivory stockpile was postponed.

Despite clear assurances from President Peter Mutharika himself that the burn will go ahead following the conclusion of an outstanding court case, the decision caused heated debate. Social media and online chat forums set alight, with calls to cash in on the “millions” that Malawi could make from selling its ivory.

But the vast majority of commentators missed the point, because, quite simply, the ivory in question is worth nothing to Malawi. To be sold, it would have to be laundered illegally, breaking international law.

Congo Ivory Burn Could Be Turning Point in Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking

By John Robinson

Today the Republic of Congo burned its confiscated hardwood timber and the country’s entire stockpile of illegal ivory. With the destruction of 4.7 metric tons of ivory, the Republic of Congo joins a growing list of countries opting to burn or crush ivory stockpiles as a means of sending a global message on the plight of elephants and a warning to would-be traffickers.

A Termite’s-Eye-View of Elephants at Victoria Falls

Ten years ago, Charles Brightman, a professional safari guide from Victoria Falls, came up with the idea of constructing a unique hide right on the edge of the famous waterhole in front of Victoria Falls Safari Lodge in Zimbabwe.  Siduli Hide was designed to look like a termite mound, and after completion allowed onlookers to conceal themselves and…

“Things R Elephant”: Heated Debate in Kenya Gets to the Heart of What It Will Take to Save the Species

By Paula Kahumbu

In Kenya, when you hear that “Things are Elephant,” it means there’s a major problem. That’s why we chose this as the title for the first ever debate of its kind, organized by WildlifeDirect, on the future of elephants.

What’s Behind Malawi’s Decision Not to Burn Its Ivory Stockpile?

By Michael Schwartz

Malawi president Peter Mutharika recently decided to postpone the burning of roughly four tons of stockpiled ivory, worth around seven million dollars. He claimed that at least 2.6 more tons are still being held as evidence in the upcoming trials of suspected elephant poachers.

While his initial decision to destroy the ivory is being lauded by some Malawians, others question whether a burn is the best possible recourse. Some see confiscated ivory as disposable remnants of barbarism that only carry intrinsic value when attached to their owners. Others see it as revenue to help the country’s poor or to augment conservation.

This also broaches the larger debate as to whether or not destroying contraband stockpiles really helps elephants in the long run.

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.

Q&A: Walking for Elephants: One Man’s Journey Across Kenya

By Maraya Cornell

On March 14, Jim Justus Nyamu, a 39-year-old Kenyan conservationist and elephant research scientist, completed a 283-mile-walk (455 km) from Emali to Voi in Kenya. Nyamu passed through the Amboseli and Tsavo ecosystems, both critical refuges for Kenya’s elephant populations. By walking for elephants as part of his Ivory Belongs to Elephants campaign, Nyamu hopes to raise awareness and better involve rural Kenyan communities in wildlife conservation.

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…