Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.
The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.
Nights in police custody, fake elephant tusks, and terrorist organizations are all just part of a day’s work for National Geographic Society Fellow and Chief Correspondent to the Special Investigations Unit, Bryan Christy.
Mystery surrounds the theft of a rhinoceros horn from a natural history collection in the University of Vermont, in Burlington. Nobody knows its origins, or exactly when or why it was stolen.
By Oscar Nkala
Elephants from national parks in northern Botswana have started migrating south, deep into the semi-arid Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), which has no history as an elephant range, a leading elephant monitoring group notes.
In a report that gives insight into an ongoing aerial operation to track internal elephant movements, Kasane-based Elephants Without Borders (EWB) says that a decrease in migratory elephants’ movements across Botswana’s northern border from Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia has coincided with more herds venturing farther south into the CKGR.
In a study published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, colleagues and I estimate how many savanna elephants Africa’s protected areas would support if not for widespread poaching. The results are sobering. Collectively, these parks are missing 75 percent of their elephants, nearly three-quarters of a million individuals.
We’ve all heard that elephants are in trouble. Now we know just how much.
Despite a surge in poaching combined with a deepening insurgency Mali has deployed its first ever anti-poaching unit to protect the remarkable desert-adapted elephants. Although it is very early days, no poaching has occurred since. How did it happen and what does it take to sustain this success?
The price of ivory in China has dropped by 2/3 since 2014. Can that help save living elephants?
These slideshow images, taken by Paul Hilton for WCS in 2016, illustrate the multitude of challenges faced in conserving the Sumatran elephant. These include the conversion of forest habitat to oil palm plantations, degradation of forest habitat by illegal logging, conflicts with farmers through crop-raiding, and being illegally hunted for their ivory tusks.
As the government rolls out the closing of the market, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) is observing hopeful results as in the Save the Elephants report issued this week. We believe that the ban has played a significant role in de-valuing ivory. We also believe that the ban has increased motivation for enforcement agencies to enhance actions on illegal ivory trade.
Kruger Park rangers are making a valiant effort to combat the scourge of poaching of rhino and other animals in South Africa’s famous wildlife sanctuary.. They have launched a sophisticated multi-prong anti-poaching campaign. Time will tell if their efforts are making a difference. But is their enough time to save the rhinos?
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.
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.
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 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.
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.