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Notes WCS VP for Species Conservation Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, “What the authors of the new PNAS study have shown us is that ivory, once it’s poached from elephants in Africa, is going very rapidly straight into the trade. This is all new ivory that is getting caught going into the illegal markets. It’s not old ivory from stockpiles. And that’s somewhat of a surprise. We thought that stockpiles were probably leaking into the market. But it appears that stockpiled ivory is either being protected or has been destroyed in one of the many initiatives to burn or crush that material.”
The Great Elephant Census showed that important elephant populations persist in several key range areas that historically supported large numbers of elephants – so there is still much to fight for in the battle to save Africa’s elephants. Fortunately, there are some signs of hope – both in sites covered by the GEC and other elephant sites.
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.
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…
Notes Susan Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society VP for International Policy and head of the WCS CITES delegation, “Science and wildlife conservation prevailed at CITES CoP17. The decisions made by the gathering countries were based on the best available scientific information. Further, we were encouraged that governments fully embraced the precautionary principle by making decisions in the best interest of the species in the wild. After attending 11 CoPs, I strongly believe this was among the most successful CoP ever for wildlife.”
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…
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…
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.
Italian artist Johannes Stoetter is famous for using body paint to transform humans into animals. Here at CITES, he teamed up with the World Wildlife Fund to raise awareness about the decline of elephants with a new work, “Coming Together for Elephants.” Can you spot the three women in the elephant? “While a canvas lasts…
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.
Today’s vote at the IUCN World Conservation Congress calling for closure of domestic elephant ivory markets across the globe is vital — as the news about Africa’s elephants is as bad as bad news gets. As thousands of conservationists gathered in Honolulu for the World Conservation Congress, it was more than clear that IUCN members needed to take a strong stand if Africa’s elephants were to have a chance at survival.
Things have improved since the dark days of 2011 and 2012 when ivory poaching across Africa appeared to be spiralling out of control and conservations began to contemplate the unthinkable: the extinction of the African elephant. On World Elephant Day 2016 there are grounds for cautious optimism. Nevertheless, it is too soon to assert that Africa’s elephants are safe.
They are big, intelligent and have a complex, multi-tiered society. They are variously loved, revered, admired, feared and sometimes abused for our entertainment. But elephants are not just ornaments that we should preserve so our children can share the world with such wondrous non-human beings. On World Elephant Day, Ian Redmond, one of the original ELEFRIENDS (who was recently trampled by one of his study animals — just a misunderstanding, he insists) reflects on the relevance of elephants to climate change.