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Justice for Rhinos—When Will It Come?

Nothing prepared me for the venom in his eyes. While not directed at me, nobody in the courtroom could escape the anger seeping from his pores. Through a twist of fate, I was in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), a province on the eastern coast of South Africa, on September 19, the day the trial of a suspected…

World body that could protect elephants—decides not to

Acutely, an elephant’s problem is ivory. Chronically the problem is shrinking space. Rich or poor, humans seem too much of a good thing. One wonders where this trend of growing human numbers and appetites, afflicting elephants and humans alike, is headed.

CITES Upholds Rhino Horn Trade Ban; But Will This Reduce Rhino Poaching?

By John Frederick Walker

Zzzzrrrghh! The saber saw screeches as it cuts through the front horn of a sedated two-ton rhinoceros kneeling on the parched earth. A team of game guards push against the massive beast to steady it; another two hold a tarp under its head to capture pale shavings spewing from the snarling saw. On the black market, rhino horn is more valuable per ounce than gold—even tiny flecks are worth saving.

African Lions on the Brink: A Conversation with Lion Expert Craig Packer

With roars that rend the African night, lions have captured our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. “Lions have long been celebrated in art and literature throughout the world,” says ecologist Craig Packer, National Geographic Explorer and Expeditions Council grantee, and director of the University of Minnesota Lion Center. In the face of habitat loss and…

A Big Day at CITES: No Ivory or Rhino Horn Trade

Today’s the day everyone at CITES CoP17 has been waiting for: elephants and rhinos. The debates were long, heated, and emotional. Here’s what happened: Elephants There were three proposals on the table. Two from Namibia and Zimbabwe proposed re-opening the ivory trade, and a third, from a coalition of African countries did the opposite—it wanted…

EU Fails to Lend Necessary Support to the African Elephant Coalition

By Katarzyna Nowak and Keith Lindsay The European Union (EU) – a regional economic integration organization of 28 member states – became the 181st party to the major wildlife treaty, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in July 2015. This month became the first time the EU votes…

Q&A: Extreme Drought in South Africa’s Kruger National Park: How is Wildlife Faring?

Bone-dry winds are blowing across South Africa’s Kruger National Park (KNP), uprooting savanna grasses and whirling them like tumbleweeds across a sere landscape. How is the park’s world-renowned wildlife faring in an extreme drought? To find out, I talked with Izak Smit, Science Manager for Systems Ecology at South African National Parks (SANParks), which oversees KNP.…

CITES CoP17 Delegates Adopt Resolution Recommending Closure of Domestic Elephant Ivory Markets Globally

The global community today further chipped away at the elephant ivory market. The countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to illegally kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.

To save African elephants, scientists say ivory sales must stop

While that “regulated” ivory sale idea might sound nice on paper, experts say it has now been officially debunked.

How Forensic Technology Can Help Fight the Ivory Trade

Here at the CITES conference in Johannesburg, almost anyone can tell you that African elephants are being slaughtered at a rate of tens of thousands per year. There are lots of approaches on how to solve the problem: reducing demand for ivory, providing alternative livelihoods for would-be poachers, training anti-poaching units—and forensics.

Sam Wasser of the University of Washington uses DNA testing to identify where the ivory confiscated in major seizures comes from. This makes it easier to know where law enforcement and anti-poaching efforts should be concentrated.

Live Elephant and Rhino Trade Debated at Wildlife Convention

More than 500 live white rhinos and 20 live African elephants have been exported between 2010 and 2014 from range states to countries around the world. Swaziland recently exported elephants to the United States, and Zimbabwe sent elephants to China. White rhinos have been exported to China and elsewhere. Now eight countries are proposing to…

Process for Establishing Future Ivory Trade Rejected at CITES Conference

For the last nine years, CITES parties have been negotiating a “decision-making mechanism,” (DMM), which would establish a process for a future trade in ivory. Today, the parties of CITES voted to end the long-running discussion.

New Elephant Estimate Documents Major Decline

The International Union for Conservation of Nature released its 2016 African Elephant Status Report this morning, and the results are sobering: Africa has approximately 415,000 elephants, a net decline of more than 110,000 from the beginning of 2007 to the end of 2015.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Rangers Face Serious Dangers (Video)

There are many challenges rangers face, says Fyson Suwedi, in this video. A Senior Assistant Parks and Wildlife Officer in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park, he should know. “Poachers look at rangers as obstacles. They can do anything to make sure they get what they want. They can kill the rangers,” he says. The video is part of a series featuring voices of those fighting against organized wildlife crime.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: “There is Hope” (Video)

Wildlife does not belong to an individual,” says Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei in this video interview. Assistant Director of the Southern Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Preserves, Cheptei is a veteran of the struggle to protect his country’s wildlife from poachers, ivory traders, and other criminals. For Cheptei, wild animals belong to everyone, so everyone should be involved in fighting wildlife crime.

“Success is collective…and there’s a lot of hope because everybody all over the world is rallying behind the same. Without hope, we will not be doing what we are doing. There is hope because we come together to preserve it. There is hope because we are fighting for a common good. So there is hope for the survival of these animals. Hope is there for me, for you, for my children, and your children, too. There is hope.”