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Notes from Elephant Country (Mushara Elephant Project)

There’s a baby boom in Elephant Country. And while some happily greet the new additions to the family with a pig pile (photograph above) and a wallow (below), others appear to have trouble making room and are resistant to sharing mom’s side (below). Sometimes mom has to intervene with a poke of the tusk (below).…

Real-life “Tarzan” Lee White is on a Mission to Protect Gabon’s Forest Elephants

Moviegoers are headed for the Congo rainforest when the Warner Bros. film, The Legend of Tarzan, hits the big screen this July.  Most people are familiar with author Edgar Rice Burrough’s character—the orphan boy raised by apes who grew up to become lord of the jungle. However, few may know that much of the upcoming adventure film was shot on location in Gabon, a French-speaking…

Letter from Zimbabwe: How We Saved Pretty Boy

Pretty Boy was number three on our list of wild elephants to assess and possibly treat in the Zambezi Valley that weekend. He had been reported on Facebook with a suppurating shoulder wound, and the Kariba Animal Welfare Fund Trust had been instrumental in getting permission for us to tranquilize him so we could work…

How a 5-Ton African Elephant Crosses an Ocean

Zimbabwe just put its wildlife up for sale. What does that mean for the animals? By Nicola Payne, courtesy Outside Online Zimbabwe is selling off its wildlife in what officials there are calling a conservation solution to a devastating drought that is depleting food sources for both humans and animals. The announcement last month from Zimbabwe’s Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (called Zimparks)…

Safari Tourists Witness Dramatic Elephant Rescue

It’s not often that guests on a safari will participate in a mission to rescue a wounded elephant. But then again; this is Africa. It was early morning at Kenya’s Ol Donyo Lodge in the Chyulu Hills when two guests spotted an injured elephant Tusker wandering in the thick bush near their lodge room. He…

Elephants and the Maasai Culture: Today’s Problems, Tomorrow’s Solutions

By Siranka Lesisa, Keruki Kairung, and Gini Cowell  The Maasai and the Elephant have lived on the same land for many centuries. They have shared the same resources and suffered similarly in times of scarcity. A mutual form of respect has existed between the two for a long time. This may partly be because elephants…

South Africa and Kenya Seek Consensus on Ivory Trade

South Africa and Kenya will hold talks with other African countries to find a common position on ivory trade ahead of the 17th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Johannesburg in September-October. Kenya, as part of a group of 27 African…

Will Keeping the Rhino Horn Trade Illegal Kill More Rhinos?

Many conservationists are lauding South Africa’s recent decision not to propose the reintroduction of trade in rhino horn, citing concerns that legitimizing it could reignite consumer demand. Other conservationists, however, fear that keeping the ban in place will paradoxically lead to an increase in the killing of rhinos throughout Africa. Pro-Trade Rationale South Africa’s private rhino owners host roughly 33% of the country’s black…

OPINION: Why Destruction of Ivory Stockpiles Might Not Be a Good Idea

By Chip Burkhalter As Kenya prepares to destroy its entire wildlife products stockpile—an estimated 100 or more tons of elephant ivory, rhino horn, and parts from other species—at the end of April, some are welcoming this move as a bold display of defiance against trafficking of wildlife products. Billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, and other well-meaning but…

Ivory Burn in Malawi—A Strong Message Against Wildlife Crime

By Francis Phiri Malawi set light to 2.6 tonnes of ivory on March 14. To see the tusks go black in the flames was a somber experience; they came from something like 390 dead elephants. I’ve seen elephants alive in our national parks—they’re beautiful, majestic creatures, and I’m proud that we have them in Malawi.…

Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit Snares Ivory Dealers and over 300 Poachers

Anti-poaching teams in Victoria Falls have had a bumper year in the field, having captured three prominent ivory dealers and more than 300 poachers in 2015.  The Victoria Falls Anti-Poaching Unit (VFAPU), founded by conservationist Charles Brightman and hospitality group Africa Albida Tourism’s flagship property Victoria Falls Safari Lodge, were responsible for the busts. The unit, which employs 17…

Finding Ways to Keep People and Elephants at Peace

A gazetted national park doesn’t always stop wildlife from crossing into human territory. This is especially true of African elephant herds that follow historic migration routes. In Uganda, elephants will occasionally leave the security of protected areas, even migrating across national boundaries. The frequent result: human-elephant conflict. Unable to protect themselves from wildlife as well…

Rafiki Emily Stephen Kisamo (1964-2015)

By Bill Clark We called each other rafiki, the Swahili word for friend. And we were friends, good friends. Rafiki Emily Stephen Kisamo has been laid to rest in the cemetery at his home village of Marangu, on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. (News story: Murdered Parks Official Remembered For Anti-Poaching Efforts) We…

Link Between Ivory Price Drop and China’s Trade Ban Questioned

By Michael Schwartz The conservation organization Save the Elephant’s recent claim of a strong association between the sharp decline in raw ivory prices and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s September pledge to close China’s domestic ivory markets may be inaccurate, says Daniel Stiles, a conservationist and veteran ivory researcher based in Kenya. According to Stiles, Save…

Bull Elephants Display ‘Mothering Behavior’ Toward Orphaned Calves

By Gini Cowell While we were watching a group of 13 bull elephants resting underneath an acacia tree just before midday last September, we noticed that in among their pillars of legs were much smaller, miniature legs and trunks. Two calves! Only when the bulls began to shift and spread out a little could the…