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.
“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.
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.
“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…
Over the last few months, there have been ongoing and alarming reports about a group of elephant calves held captive in enclosures in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s flagship wilderness area. Inside sources, people on the ground in the park, have said that these animals were snatched from their wild herds, rounded up in a facility, and are now being readied…
By Katarzyna Nowak
It’s entirely possible, even likely, that we humans will not coexist very much longer with ancient, thick-skinned megafauna weighing thousands of pounds. How to save them is a matter of ever greater urgency—and dispute.
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – At a ceremony today in the capital, Ethiopia burned its entire 6.1-ton ivory stockpile. The event was held at the Gulele Botanical Garden, close to the headquarters of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), where the ivory had been stored. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and officials from the Ministries of…
By Patrick Bergin
On February 26, China’s State Forestry Administration announced on its website it was imposing a one-year ban on all imports of African ivory carvings. According to an unnamed forestry official, the suspension of ivory imports would allow authorities to evaluate the ban’s effectiveness in stemming elephant poaching in Africa. Because the ban was limited in scope, too brief in its temporal application, and fell far short of banning all domestic ivory trade in China, it was largely viewed by the conservation community as a symbolic plaster applied to a gushing wound.
A plume of dark smoke curled over Nairobi National Park in Kenya last week. A funeral pyre of 15 tonnes of elephant tusks had been erected and set alight on a day that was at once tragic and full of hope. Kenya’s latest ivory burn comes at the end of a momentous week for elephants…
New photographs of some 80 young elephants that are being held in a heavily guarded facility in Zimbabwe suggest that the elephants are under extreme duress, according to an expert familiar with the animals’ behavior. The elephants, who were snatched from their families in the wild, are being held in a facility in Hwange National…
By Fredrick Nzwili
NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya today burned tons of stockpiled ivory, sending a strong message against elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.
The burning is the latest in a series of ivory stockpile destructions by nations across the world. During the past three years, Gabon, Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA have all destroyed contraband ivory and rhino horn.
Ten elephant carcasses discovered in mid-January in and around Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park are raising fears that poachers may again be targeting the park. But information remains sketchy. According to the Cameroon Tribune, a government newspaper, the military made several patrols following reports of gunfire and men on horseback searching for elephants. They found…
From Katarzyna Nowak, Lauren McCall, and Isabel Behncke Izquierdo: What unique skills do women hold for the future of our species and the ecosystems we have come to dominate? What can we learn from elephants as human societies become more out of balance with nature?
Every year, thousands of travelers from all over the world visit the Victoria Falls, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zimbabwe and Zambia, to watch the waters of the Zambezi River thunder into the deep Batoka Gorge, and to appreciate the abundant wildlife that roam the areas around the Falls. But like anywhere in Africa,…
As we were leaving the scene in the helicopter, the elephant got to his feet and turned to face us, lifting his trunk as if to say, “Go away and stop bothering me!” Or maybe, ” Thank you.”