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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…

Why Rhino Poaching Isn’t High on the CITES Agenda

At the 66th meeting of the Standing Committee for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Geneva, Switzerland, from the January 11 to 15, deliberation over the plight of rhinos was brushed over in less than an hour. Despite considerable efforts by range, transitional, and consumer states…

Tense Standoff With a Male Elephant in Mating Mode

National Geographic filmmaker Bob Poole encounters a giant bull elephant at the worst possible time … mating season. During this time male elephants are known for their aggressive and territorial nature, and Poole may be too close for comfort.

How to Offset Terrorism’s Damage to Funding for Pachyderms

By Michael Schwartz On the whole, tourism revenue is an optimal way of conserving Africa’s remaining elephant and rhino populations. But the current spike in global terrorist activities should serve as a sobering reminder that it can’t be relied on as a conservation panacea. The recent uptick in global terrorism in all likelihood will deter…

Zimbabwe’s Elephants Are Dying, But Its Rhinos Are Doing Better

By Oscar Nkala The number of rhinos killed by poachers in Zimbabwe spiked to 164 in 2008. In 2014, poachers killed 15 rhinos in Zimbabwe—including five black rhinos in Save Valley and one white rhino in Bubye Valley. This year, fewer than ten have been killed for their horns, sold illegally in Vietnam and other…

China Supports Malawi’s ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ Campaign

By H.E. Zhang Qingyang, Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Malawi The Chinese government has regarded ecological civilization as an important pillar for national development. We have attached great importance to the protection of iconic species such as the elephant, which is at risk of extinction as a result of the illegal ivory trade. This year,…

Witness an Epic Clash Between Wild Dogs and Elephants

It was a late afternoon in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park when Sabine Featherby of Baines’ River Camp came across a rare pack of wild dogs that had just brought five pups out of their den site. “The last time I saw wild dogs in the Zambezi Valley was in 2006,” remembers Featherby, “so seeing…

Searching for Orangutans but Finding Hope for Borneo’s Endangered Wildlife

“Hold it.” Hasri’s upheld hand tells us. He takes two soundless steps on the dried leaves of the lowland Borneo rainforest and listens. We pause for the strange sound to repeat itself among the jungle cicadas and morning calls of birds. From the dense undergrowth comes a cross between a moan and a hoot. The Orangutan…

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…