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…
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.…
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.
While that “regulated” ivory sale idea might sound nice on paper, experts say it has now been officially debunked.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Wildlife trafficking today is unlike anything the world has ever seen before,” says Bryan Christy in this video. The award-winning investigative journalist and National Geographic Fellow adds: “Rare animals are being exploited by criminal syndicates who have access to advanced technology, advanced weapon systems. There’s a huge imbalance in terms of the resources Law Enforcement have…
World War I and World War II left an indelible mark on the psyche of the world. Nations were destroyed, then formed, and countries, borders and international laws were created in the aftermath of these historic events. The world we live in today was shaped by these events. As those times live on in the collective memory of mankind, we are currently experiencing comparatively catastrophic and historically important events in Africa. A war is currently being fought between nations across the world. A war with human casualties on both sides – but without anyone truly realising what is at stake. We are in the midst of what can loosely be termed the Second Rhino War. Being World Rhino Day on September 22, it is apt to have a quick look at what rhinos have had to endure. The Second Rhino War is mankind’s third attempt at eradicating rhinos from our planet.
Even for experienced eyes, sifting through the roughly 200 documents to be considered at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) is a challenge.
CITES protects about 5,600 animal species and 30,000 plant species through restrictions on commercial trade, and much discussion at the meeting, to be held September 24 to October 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa, will concentrate on whether to tighten or loosen trade restrictions for specific species.
Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington this week to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.
The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.
Sometimes, when traveling through Maasai Mara, visitors may see elephants with half of their trunk missing. The poor creatures must kneel to pluck grasses, and they are unable to reach leaves from the canopies of trees at all. It is no mystery what maims these elephants. Over smoky fires, well hidden from passersby on the…