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OPINION: Slick “Hunter Proud” Video Uses Bad Ecology to Promote Elephant Culling, Trophy Hunting, and Ivory Trading

By Phyllis Lee, Keith Lindsay, and Katarzyna Nowak

The Elephant and the Pauper: The Ivory Debacle is a recently released 50-minute video by the Hunter Proud Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable public foundation and lobbying organization based in Houston, Texas.

The video was circulated in the first half of January 2015 to members of the IUCN Specialist Groups and to CITES membership, with the specific aim of lobbying for hunting and consumptive use of African wildlife.

The film—whose proposals for gaining revenue from ivory and sport hunting come at a time of unprecedented poaching and killing of elephants across their range, including in Zimbabwe—is risky to the point of irresponsibility.

For Orphaned Elephant Calf, Harrowing Rescue Ends in Hope

MASAI MARA, Kenya—One day last October, a mother elephant and her ten-month-old calf were seen playing together on the plains of the Maasai Mara National Reserve when a passing tourist photographed the tranquil scene. Twenty-four hours later, on October 22, the young calf was spotted again—this time standing over her mother’s poisoned carcass, seemingly reluctant…

ESSAY: Infighting Over Whether to Trade in Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Jeopardizes Both Species

From Michael Schwartz: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Isaac Newton’s third law of motion is certainly an adequate illustration of the ongoing pugilism between pro-trade and anti-trade advocacy groups concerning the battle to protect remaining elephant and rhinoceros populations in Africa.

Zimbabwe’s Reported Plan to Export Baby Elephants Raises Outcry Against Animal Trade

News that Zimbabwe has captured dozens of baby elephants from the wild and plans to export them overseas ignited a firestorm of alarm in conservation circles, raising new questions about the policies that govern the trade of live elephants. The elephants are reportedly headed to China, where they would most likely be held in zoos.…

China’s Illegal Ivory Trade Escalating Out of Control

The illegal ivory trade is exploding in China, overwhelming efforts to enforce the law, according to the results of the first detailed research on the markets of Beijing and Shanghai since 2002.

New Doubts About Whether Elephants Can Survive South Sudan’s Civil War

Southern Sudan knows violence. After being wracked by modern Africa’s longest civil war, from 1983 to 2005, in which millions of people were displaced or died, South Sudan gained independence in 2011. The region’s elephants, originally estimated after the war to number about 5,000, suffered extreme losses too—but amazingly some survived. As migratory animals, they…

INTERPOL Asks Public to Help Nab Environmental Crime Fugitives

On November 17, for the first time in its history, INTERPOL asked the public to assist in the capture of environmental crime fugitives. The landmark public appeal falls under INTERPOL’s Operation Infra Terra, launched in October and targeting 139 criminals from 36 nations. INTERPOL—the International Criminal Police Organization—is the world’s largest international police organization, with…

In Africa, Tracker Dogs Join War Against Elephant Poachers

MANYARA RANCH, Tanzania—On October 14, tracker dogs led game scouts to a group of armed poachers who were on the run after shooting and killing a well-known old elephant bull just outside Tarangire National Park. This was the latest in a string of successes by Tanzania’s tracker dogs, which are proving to be an effective…

In Kenya, Justice Catches Up With Elephant Poacher

An elephant poacher in Kenya is finally behind bars, thanks to a local magistrate and coordination between the wildlife authority and two conservation partners. In late 2013, community game scouts undertaking an anti-poaching patrol near world-renowned Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya came across a fresh elephant carcass. Not surprisingly, the elephant’s two tusks were…

OPINION: Tourism Is Important, But It’s Not the Only Reason to Save Elephants

Those who believe that ecological and moral grounds aren’t sufficient justification to protect elephants and other wildlife in Africa often tout tourism as the most important reason to do so. Examined rationally, this is a narrow and risky premise, with a poor long-term prognosis for the survival of Africa’s wild animals.

Legalizing Ivory Trade: Taking to New Heights a Dangerous Policy Proposal

From Alejandro Nadal and Francisco Aguayo: Debate around the policy response to the current elephant poaching crisis has been polarized around the issue of market-based instruments, and as a result a lot of attention has focused on some form of regulated legal trade. We examine first the proposal for legalizing international trade and establishing a high-end market model in China as a means to reduce illegal trade. Second, we analyze the assertion that speculative stockpiling is the core driver of elephant poaching.

CITES and confiscated elephant ivory and rhino horn – to destroy or not destroy?

Over the past 24 months we have seen a number of countries, including Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA, destroy stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory and rhino horn that have been seized and confiscated. I have been invited by national CITES authorities to witness several…

Report Estimates Enormous Economic Value of Living Elephants

When a young elephant dies at the hands of an ivory poacher, according to a recent report, the commercial loss to the tourism industry is more than $1.6 million–­–the amount the animal would have contributed to the economy had it lived a full and happy life.

On the March in Washington, D.C., for Elephants and Rhinos

From Katarzyna Nowak: The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos brought together people in 130 cities worldwide (90 more cities than last year) on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

The march in Washington, D.C., assembled at the Lincoln Memorial and set off at noon, along Constitution Avenue, swinging left on 15th street. At E Street, we struck up a rousing chorus: “E is for Elephant, not Extinction!”

Q&A: Fighting Corruption and Wildlife Trafficking in Central Africa

  Naftali Honig is a 29-year old, Brooklyn-raised wildlife activist living in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. Since 2009 he has been the coordinator of the Project for the Application of Law for Fauna Republic of Congo (PALF).   According to Honig, PALF departs from the anti-poaching paradigm: a “cops and robbers” scenario, in which the…