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Three-Year Timeline of Ivory Milestones in Hong Kong and Mainland China

For years, the Hong Kong’s government rejected eliminating its huge retail ivory market, and mainland China has shown itself to be more forward thinking. Yet recent events—including evidence showing that Hong Kong’s ivory traders use the legal market as a conduit for illegal ivory, public protests against the trade, and moves in mainland China toward…

Homegrown African Solutions to Elephant Poaching

By Fred Nelson By most counts, 2015 has been a devastating year for Africa’s elephants. Census results have documented large-scale declines from poaching in a number of key countries and protected areas. In just five years, Tanzania’s elephant population, which was formerly the second-largest national herd in Africa, has declined from more than 110,000 elephants…

For Nations Lax About Ivory Smuggling, An Easy Pass

The Lao Peoples Democratic Republic recently became the latest of the countries most implicated in the illicit trafficking of elephant tusks to be let off the hook. Here’s the background. At the 16th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties, in Bangkok, Thailand,…

Ripple Effect: Saving Elephants One Kid at a Time

Children’s voices can be extremely powerful—a fact readily apparent on a recent Sunday when more than 325 people—most of them children—participated in Vermont’s first kid-driven Global March for Elephants and Rhinos. The event was initiated by 12-year-old Taegen Yardley, who organized a network of youngsters from across the state. Student “champions” at more than a…

OPINION: Botswana’s Hunting Ban Deserves Better from the New York Times

By Maraya Cornell

A recent article in the New York Times casts Botswana’s hunting ban, enacted just under two years ago, as the disastrous move of a nation acting under the spell of Western animal rights activism.

The author, Norimitsu Onishi, who is the paper’s bureau chief for southern Africa, blames the ban for swelling the number of dangerous animals that terrorize villagers in Sankuyo, where his story is set. And he claims that Sankuyo’s land is “peripheral,” too remote for photo tourism to make up for the income the village lost when trophy hunting ceased.

Both of these conclusions are dubious at best.

Zimbabwe Authorities Foil Parks Employees’ Bid to Smuggle Ivory

By Oscar Nkala A senior ecologist and two game rangers employed by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority in Hwange National Park have been arrested in connection with a foiled bid to smuggle at least eight elephant tusks to an unspecified destination via Harare International Airport. At a press conference in Harare earlier this week, parks…

What Do New Cyanide Poisonings Mean for Zimbabwe’s Elephants?

By Oscar Nkala Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says laboratory tests on the kidneys and livers of the 14 elephants found dead over the past two weeks in Hwange and Matusadona National Parks confirm that they were killed by cyanide-laced salt licks and fruit used as bait. This suggests that poachers may be returning to…

Aerial Survey Provides Bird’s Eye View of Plight of Elephants in Zambia

By Eric T. Schultz, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia and David Banks, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy Africa Whether you are floating down the Zambezi River, eye to eye with curious elephants on the shoreline, or flying low over a thunderous herd, observing elephants is an unforgettable experience. The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA)…

The Forgotten Elephants of the Leuser Ecosystem

The future of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant hangs on a thread. Palm oil plantations have converted 90 percent of prime Sumatran elephant habitat to a monoculture desert. The lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem are the world’s best remaining habitat for the Sumatran elephant yet they are being bulldozed, often illegally, for palm oil everyday.

Undercover Video Confirms Hong Kong’s Retail Market Is “Front” for Smuggled Ivory

By Laurel Neme and Maraya Cornell Hong Kong’s retail ivory market acts as both a cover for smuggled ivory and an incentive. A new report, The Hard Truth, released September 7 by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)–Hong Kong, reveals how fundamental flaws in the existing regulatory system help fuel the illegal trade. Hong Kong…

LETTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: It is time to formally recognize conflict ivory

The 70th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) opened on September 15 amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis of refugees and migrants escaping various conflicts. The world’s heads of state are expected to discuss not only their fate but also what exacerbates the violence they flee.

East African Smugglers Push Ivory Out of the Continent

Elephant poaching and ivory trafficking in East Africa is driven not only by foreign consumers but also by African nationals who actively “push” ivory to these markets. A recent report, Pushing Ivory Out of Africa: A Criminal Intelligence of Elephant Poaching and Ivory Trafficking in East Africa, released July 20 by Global Eye and the…

#FindBahati: Rangers Race to Locate a Snared Rhino Calf

A motion-detecting camera trap set up in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya has captured distressing images of a rhino calf with a deep snare wound round his neck, initiating a park-wide search for the injured animal this week.

Dogs and Informants Track Down Elephant’s Killers

By J.D. O’Kasick

His black snout twitching furiously among the tall grasses, Rocky heaved ahead on the scent trail. Rocky’s handler, along with five armed rangers, followed the German shepherd’s lead, scanning the savanna for footprints and discarded evidence.

The night before, on July 26, poachers had killed another elephant bull at Manyara Ranch.

Video: Inside the Largest Ivory Seizure in West Africa

When a Togo Customs official decided to turn around his X-ray machine and inspect freight leaving his country, instead of looking only at cargo coming into the country, he uncovered what at the time was to be the biggest seizure of illegal ivory in the history of West Africa. In this outtake from the National Geographic…