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What’s Behind Malawi’s Decision Not to Burn Its Ivory Stockpile?

By Michael Schwartz

Malawi president Peter Mutharika recently decided to postpone the burning of roughly four tons of stockpiled ivory, worth around seven million dollars. He claimed that at least 2.6 more tons are still being held as evidence in the upcoming trials of suspected elephant poachers.

While his initial decision to destroy the ivory is being lauded by some Malawians, others question whether a burn is the best possible recourse. Some see confiscated ivory as disposable remnants of barbarism that only carry intrinsic value when attached to their owners. Others see it as revenue to help the country’s poor or to augment conservation.

This also broaches the larger debate as to whether or not destroying contraband stockpiles really helps elephants in the long run.

Speaking up for Elephants: Reflections on Vermont’s Ivory Sales Ban Hearing

“In a world where everything feels like it is moving at the speed of light, slowing down and watching an elephant in its natural habitat is calming and shows us the importance of paying attention to the natural world.”

That opinion came from 12-year-old Taegen Yardley, a sixth grader at Endeavour Middle School in Shelburne, Vermont, on April 8 when she testified before Vermont’s House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources in support of a proposed state ban on ivory and rhino horn sales (H.297). Twenty of her classmates filled the ornate room to listen and show support.

OPINION: Rhinos and Elephants Are in Trouble—So Why Adopt Contradictory Emergency Measures?

By Katarzyna Nowak

It’s entirely possible, even likely, that we humans will not coexist very much longer with ancient, thick-skinned megafauna weighing thousands of pounds. How to save them is a matter of ever greater urgency—and dispute.

Ethiopia Burns Entire 6.1-Ton Ivory Stockpile

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – At a ceremony today in the capital, Ethiopia burned its entire 6.1-ton ivory stockpile. The event was held at the Gulele Botanical Garden, close to the headquarters of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), where the ivory had been stored. Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and officials from the Ministries of…

Elephant Poachers “Will not Have the Last Word in Kenya”

A plume of dark smoke curled over Nairobi National Park in Kenya last week. A funeral pyre of 15 tonnes of elephant tusks had been erected and set alight on a day that was at once tragic and full of hope. Kenya’s latest ivory burn comes at the end of a momentous week for elephants…

Kenya Burns 15 Tons of Stockpiled Ivory

By Fredrick Nzwili

NAIROBI, Kenya — Kenya today burned tons of stockpiled ivory, sending a strong message against elephant poaching and ivory trafficking.

The burning is the latest in a series of ivory stockpile destructions by nations across the world. During the past three years, Gabon, Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA have all destroyed contraband ivory and rhino horn.

Will Mobilization of Military Forces Stop Elephant Poaching in Cameroon?

Ten elephant carcasses discovered in mid-January in and around Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjida National Park are raising fears that poachers may again be targeting the park. But information remains sketchy. According to the Cameroon Tribune, a government newspaper, the military made several patrols following reports of gunfire and men on horseback searching for elephants. They found…

ESSAY: Human Females Could (Should?) Be More Like Elephant Females

From Katarzyna Nowak, Lauren McCall, and Isabel Behncke Izquierdo: What unique skills do women hold for the future of our species and the ecosystems we have come to dominate? What can we learn from elephants as human societies become more out of balance with nature?

Watch Wild Elephant Awaken After Being Saved From Poison Arrow

As we were leaving the scene in the helicopter, the elephant got to his feet and turned to face us, lifting his trunk as if to say, “Go away and stop bothering me!” Or maybe, ” Thank you.”

Lion Conservation is Evolving in Maasai Mara

    The chief sat in the shade on a plastic chair that his wives had brought from inside. He was dressed to go out, with his wooden accoutrements– the herding stick and club that every Maasai man usually carries – were laid across his knees. His truck’s engine was running on the other side…

OPINION: Slick “Hunter Proud” Video Uses Bad Ecology to Promote Elephant Culling, Trophy Hunting, and Ivory Trading

By Phyllis Lee, Keith Lindsay, and Katarzyna Nowak

The Elephant and the Pauper: The Ivory Debacle is a recently released 50-minute video by the Hunter Proud Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable public foundation and lobbying organization based in Houston, Texas.

The video was circulated in the first half of January 2015 to members of the IUCN Specialist Groups and to CITES membership, with the specific aim of lobbying for hunting and consumptive use of African wildlife.

The film—whose proposals for gaining revenue from ivory and sport hunting come at a time of unprecedented poaching and killing of elephants across their range, including in Zimbabwe—is risky to the point of irresponsibility.

ESSAY: Infighting Over Whether to Trade in Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Jeopardizes Both Species

From Michael Schwartz: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Isaac Newton’s third law of motion is certainly an adequate illustration of the ongoing pugilism between pro-trade and anti-trade advocacy groups concerning the battle to protect remaining elephant and rhinoceros populations in Africa.

In Kenya, Justice Catches Up With Elephant Poacher

An elephant poacher in Kenya is finally behind bars, thanks to a local magistrate and coordination between the wildlife authority and two conservation partners. In late 2013, community game scouts undertaking an anti-poaching patrol near world-renowned Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya came across a fresh elephant carcass. Not surprisingly, the elephant’s two tusks were…

November 9, 2014: Rescue Storm Survivors from Everest, Test an Elephant’s Memory and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they save climbers from a disaster on Everest, devote one day of each week to helping others, take selfies with orangutans, assign land and oceans for protection, never forget elephants, travel through North Korea, go to war with chimpanzees, and hijack the minds of the animals they’re living inside.

50 Years of Conservation in India

By K. Ullas Karanth

The modern resurgent India, now the 10th largest economy in the world, is justly proud of its ancient culture and art. Yet we must not forget that India possesses an even more ancient treasure – its wild lands and wildlife. It is one of the most biodiversity-rich nations on earth.