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A Tribute to Tenebo the Elephant

By Gini Cowell Somewhere on the African continent one elephant falls victim to poaching every 15 minutes. Almost one-hundred elephants are poisoned, speared, or shot for the tusks they carry every day. These are statistics and headlines, but the truth of the matter is that each one of the elephants slain and horrifically butchered were…

New Zealand’s Dirty Ivory Trade Exposed

It’s clear that demand for ivory in New Zealand remains high. It’s the same kind of demand that drives the current elephant poaching crisis in Africa.

Illegal Ivory Almost All from Recent Killing, Study Finds

Researchers analyzing African elephant tusks seized by global law enforcement have confirmed what many suspect: the illegal ivory trade, now running in high gear, is being fueled almost exclusively by recently killed animals. In the first study of its kind, researchers showed that almost all tusks studied came from animals killed less than three years…

A Tale of Two Countries: Zimbabwe and Botswana, Neighbors with Opposing Attitudes toward Wildlife

By Masha Kalinina, International Trade Policy Specialist, Humane Society International On a recent tour into Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park – where white and black rhinos are being reintroduced – our group noticed that the horn of a white rhino we spotted was removed. I asked our guide why. “To deter poachers,” he replied. Knowing that…

PNAS Paper Suggests Global Ivory Sales Being Driven by New Ivory Rather Than Ivory Stockpiles

Notes WCS VP for Species Conservation Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, “What the authors of the new PNAS study have shown us is that ivory, once it’s poached from elephants in Africa, is going very rapidly straight into the trade. This is all new ivory that is getting caught going into the illegal markets. It’s not old ivory from stockpiles. And that’s somewhat of a surprise. We thought that stockpiles were probably leaking into the market. But it appears that stockpiled ivory is either being protected or has been destroyed in one of the many initiatives to burn or crush that material.”

How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation

Despite the sensation of  tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.  Staff at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than…

Translating Survey Findings Into Effective Elephant Protection Results

The Great Elephant Census showed that important elephant populations persist in several key range areas that historically supported large numbers of elephants – so there is still much to fight for in the battle to save Africa’s elephants. Fortunately, there are some signs of hope – both in sites covered by the GEC and other elephant sites.

Justice for Rhinos—When Will It Come?

Nothing prepared me for the venom in his eyes. While not directed at me, nobody in the courtroom could escape the anger seeping from his pores. Through a twist of fate, I was in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), a province on the eastern coast of South Africa, on September 19, the day the trial of a suspected…

World body that could protect elephants—decides not to

Acutely, an elephant’s problem is ivory. Chronically the problem is shrinking space. Rich or poor, humans seem too much of a good thing. One wonders where this trend of growing human numbers and appetites, afflicting elephants and humans alike, is headed.

CITES Upholds Rhino Horn Trade Ban; But Will This Reduce Rhino Poaching?

By John Frederick Walker

Zzzzrrrghh! The saber saw screeches as it cuts through the front horn of a sedated two-ton rhinoceros kneeling on the parched earth. A team of game guards push against the massive beast to steady it; another two hold a tarp under its head to capture pale shavings spewing from the snarling saw. On the black market, rhino horn is more valuable per ounce than gold—even tiny flecks are worth saving.

African Lions on the Brink: A Conversation with Lion Expert Craig Packer

With roars that rend the African night, lions have captured our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. “Lions have long been celebrated in art and literature throughout the world,” says ecologist Craig Packer, National Geographic Explorer and Expeditions Council grantee, and director of the University of Minnesota Lion Center. In the face of habitat loss and…

A Big Day at CITES: No Ivory or Rhino Horn Trade

Today’s the day everyone at CITES CoP17 has been waiting for: elephants and rhinos. The debates were long, heated, and emotional. Here’s what happened: Elephants There were three proposals on the table. Two from Namibia and Zimbabwe proposed re-opening the ivory trade, and a third, from a coalition of African countries did the opposite—it wanted…

EU Fails to Lend Necessary Support to the African Elephant Coalition

By Katarzyna Nowak and Keith Lindsay The European Union (EU) – a regional economic integration organization of 28 member states – became the 181st party to the major wildlife treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in July 2015. This month became the first time the EU votes…

Q&A: Extreme Drought in South Africa’s Kruger National Park: How is Wildlife Faring?

Bone-dry winds are blowing across South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP), uprooting savanna grasses and whirling them like tumbleweeds across a sere landscape. How is the park’s world-renowned wildlife faring in an extreme drought? To find out, I talked with Izak Smit, Science Manager for Systems Ecology at South African National Parks (SANParks), which oversees KNP.…

CITES CoP17 Delegates Adopt Resolution Recommending Closure of Domestic Elephant Ivory Markets Globally

The global community today further chipped away at the elephant ivory market. The countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to illegally kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.