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Extinction Looms for Giraffe

Habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting are driving a “devastating decline” of the iconic giraffe, the International Union for Conservation of Nature said today. The global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40 percent over the last 30 years, and the species is now listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

An update to the IUCN Red List was released at the 13th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) in Cancun, Mexico. Apart from the giraffe the list also has grim news for birds, wild plants, and Lake Victoria’s freshwater species: Full details in this post.

How to Catch a Bat

By Becky Beamer Kasanka National Park, Zambia From late October through mid December, the largest migration of mammals on the planet, Straw-colored Fruit Bats (Eidolon helvum), join the already diverse cross section of bats in Kasanka National Park. This bat hot spot attracts attention from bat researchers around the world including Helen Taylor-Boyd, Rob Mies,…

Understanding the Mystery of the World’s Largest Mammal Migration

What does it feel like to be surrounded by 8-10 million bats? There is only one spot on earth where you can have this experience and explore the mystery surrounding this congregation.

A Tribute to Tenebo the Elephant

By Gini Cowell Somewhere on the African continent one elephant falls victim to poaching every 15 minutes. Almost one-hundred elephants are poisoned, speared, or shot for the tusks they carry every day. These are statistics and headlines, but the truth of the matter is that each one of the elephants slain and horrifically butchered were…

Our pledge to you: We will stand up for the ocean – and that means standing up for science

During this bruising presidential campaign, there was an eerie sense that we had moved into a post-truth world, with fake news circulating on Facebook and the veracity of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump continually called into question. In fact, Oxford Dictionaries just declared “post-truth” its 2016 international Word of the Year. But for me personally, facts…

New Zealand’s Dirty Ivory Trade Exposed

It’s clear that demand for ivory in New Zealand remains high. It’s the same kind of demand that drives the current elephant poaching crisis in Africa.

Using Technology to Combat Wildlife Crime

“Wildlife rangers now have the help they’ve desperately needed.” says Colby Loucks, WWF’s wildlife crime technology lead. “This groundbreaking technology allows them to search for poachers 24 hours a day, from up to a mile away, in pitch darkness. It’s upping the game in our fight to stop wildlife crime across the region.”

‘Outdated’ IUCN Red List Is Missing Hundreds of Threatened Bird Species, Duke Scientists Find

More than 200 bird species in six rapidly developing regions are at risk of extinction despite not being included on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of at-risk species, research led by Duke University scientists has found.

The study, published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, used remote sensing data to map recent land-use changes that are reducing suitable habitat for more than 600 bird species in the Atlantic forest of Brazil, Central America, the western Andes of Colombia, Sumatra, Madagascar and Southeast Asia, Duke said in a news statement. “Of the 600 species, only 108 are currently classified by the IUCN Red List as being at risk of extinction.”

Illegal Ivory Almost All from Recent Killing, Study Finds

Researchers analyzing African elephant tusks seized by global law enforcement have confirmed what many suspect: the illegal ivory trade, now running in high gear, is being fueled almost exclusively by recently killed animals. In the first study of its kind, researchers showed that almost all tusks studied came from animals killed less than three years…

A Tale of Two Countries: Zimbabwe and Botswana, Neighbors with Opposing Attitudes toward Wildlife

By Masha Kalinina, International Trade Policy Specialist, Humane Society International On a recent tour into Zimbabwe’s Matobo National Park – where white and black rhinos are being reintroduced – our group noticed that the horn of a white rhino we spotted was removed. I asked our guide why. “To deter poachers,” he replied. Knowing that…

Lessons learned in tropical tree climbing

Oh yeah, I forgot about that… The beginning of any field study includes at least a few remedial lessons. For weeks before I start climbing, I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic that I have forgotten all my knots. I look over old gear lists trying to figure out what…

World’s Largest Marine Protected Area Declared in Antarctica

By Maria Damanaki, Global Managing Director, Oceans, The Nature Conservancy I am delighted that after many years of negotiations, delegates from 24 countries and the European Union meeting in Hobart, Australia have agreed that the Ross Sea in Antarctica will become the world’s largest marine protected area (MPA). Protecting parts of the ocean owned by…

Hope in the Face of 10,000 Deaths

When amphibian conservation biologist Arturo Muñoz describes the 2015 die-offs of the Titicaca Water Frog (Telmatobius culeus) on the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, the details are grim: Dead frogs floating belly up in the shallow water as gulls pick them off for dinner. The smell of the sulfate pollution dredged up from the bottom…

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…

I wonder what’s up there?

Five years ago I met an anteater that changed my life. As a first-year grad student, I was in the midst of my academic identity crisis trying to figure out what exactly I was going to study. I joined a team of researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama to survey wildlife in…