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The battle for the survival of the forest elephant can be won

In Gabon’s Minkébé National Park, forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) declined by approximately 80 percent between 2004 and 2014, as reported in a recent publication supported in part by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both savanna and forest elephants are declining across most of the African continent driven primarily by Asia’s demand for ivory. What is happening in Minkébé National Park is particularly alarming, as this area was once home to the highest densities of forest elephants in Central Africa and was established as a stronghold and sanctuary for the species. What do these findings tell us about the future of forest elephants more broadly, and how should we prioritize efforts to save the species? Dr. Richard Ruggiero, chief of the Service’s Division of International Conservation, shares his thoughts.

Will Africa’s Big Five become extinct in the wild?

On World Wildlife Day 2017, a reflection and celebration in photography from the National Geographic Photo Ark of Africa’s Big Five: Lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo. A century ago these species were among the millions of wild animals roaming Africa. But now their numbers are dwindling, leaving us to wonder if a hundred years from now they will be extinct in the wild.

Video Tribute Marks 40th Anniversary of Sheldrick Elephant Haven

Nicky Campbell is a journalist, broadcaster and wildlife campaigner. He and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust have released the “Sacred Eyes” music video to mark the 40th anniversary of the Trust’s Orphans Project, which has saved hundreds of juvenile elephants left stranded by the slaughter of their mothers for ivory.

More than 80 percent of Gabon’s Rare Forest Elephant Species Taken by Poachers

More horrendous news for the beleaguered elephant: Forest elephants, a sub-species of elephant living in an area that had been considered a sanctuary in the Central African country of Gabon, are rapidly being picked off by illegal poachers, who are primarily coming from the bordering country of Cameroon. More than 80 percent have been taken in a decade–a loss of about 25,000 elephants– Duke University researchers report in the February 20 issue of Current Biology.

EleWatch, a Sustainable Way for Humans to Co-exist With Elephants

With the escalating decline of elephants over the last decade, in 2015, the NGOs Des Eléphants & des Hommes, supported by Awely, wildlife and people, and IFAW France (International Fund for Animal Welfare) launched the Elephant-Watching initiative or EleWatch. The mission of EleWatch is to promote the economic and non-economic (ecological, cultural, patrimonial, social, and aesthetic) value of elephants and their natural habitats through development of national and international ecotourism programs across their entire geographic range.

China bans ivory, offering new hope for elephants

Fingers crossed that China is serious, and will effectively enforce their announced ivory ban. We are all counting on it.

Work Hazards: Bornean Pygmy Elephants

On the drive into Danum Valley Field Center in Sabah, Malaysia, I caught a glimpse of one of the most iconic species in the Bornean rainforest – the Bornean Pygmy Elephant. They had been walking on the road, but just as our van came around the bend they retreated by the forest. As we passed…

How Uganda’s Rural Communities Can Help Fight Wildlife Crime

Between its largest protected area, Murchison Falls National Park, and its most visited wildlife haven, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda ranks as one the most biologically diverse countries on the African continent.

But despite being a paragon of conservation success, the Pearl of Africa’s highly volatile parks remain susceptible to wildlife poaching, particularly in places where animals and rural communities meet.

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.