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Two Cheers on World Elephant Day 2016

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.

For the Day of the Elephants, a Crash Course in Conservation

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.

Urgent Global Action Needed to Stop Extinction of Earth’s Last Megafauna

A swift and global conservation response is needed to prevent the world’s gorillas, lions, tigers, rhinos, and other iconic terrestrial megafauna from being lost forever, an influential group of international scientists reported today in the journal BioScience.

Their analysis, entitled Saving the World’s Terrestrial Megafauna, covers the precipitous loss of large animal populations around the globe. The report included a 13-point declaration by 43 scientists and conservationists calling for acknowledgement that a “business as usual” mentality will result in massive species extinction. Read the declaration and study the maps showing the global decline of big land animals.

A Big Year for African Wildlife: Seven Milestones of 2015

With the closing of 2015 comes the end of a big chapter for Africa and its spectacular wildlife. Looking back on the year, we reflect on the big wins and big changes for wildlife conservation in this huge, unique continent. Here are the top seven milestones for African wildlife in 2015. By Deirdre Leowinata The U.S. Government listed…

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.

Using Science, Exploration, and Storytelling to Change the World in 2015

This year proved that there’s still so much left to explore—from discovering a new human ancestor deep in a South African cave to protecting some of the last wild places in the ocean.

Vultures, Too, Are Dying From Masai Mara Poison Attack

Two days ago eight members of the famous Marsh Pride of lions were poisoned inside the Masai Mara National Reserve. Also poisoned were at least six White-backed and Rüppell’s vultures, though this will never make the headlines.

Aerial Survey Provides Bird’s Eye View of Plight of Elephants in Zambia

By Eric T. Schultz, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zambia and David Banks, Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy Africa Whether you are floating down the Zambezi River, eye to eye with curious elephants on the shoreline, or flying low over a thunderous herd, observing elephants is an unforgettable experience. The Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA)…

The Forgotten Elephants of the Leuser Ecosystem

The future of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant hangs on a thread. Palm oil plantations have converted 90 percent of prime Sumatran elephant habitat to a monoculture desert. The lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem are the world’s best remaining habitat for the Sumatran elephant yet they are being bulldozed, often illegally, for palm oil everyday.

Big Data for Big Animals: Citizen Science Helps Mozambican Wildlife

I check the ‘Talk’ forum on WildCam Gorongosa every day to see what’s new. “Is this blurry antelope at night a bushbuck or a reedbuck?” This is a tough one even for the most expert ecologist. As a scientist who spent several years studying herbivores in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique,  I plan to chime in, but…

Video: The Accepting Nature of Orphaned Baby Elephants

Bryan Christy visits the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage in Kenya and marvels at the accepting nature of the juvenile elephants, which escort him as they are released into the wild and join adult elephants.

Honoring the Men and Women Who are at the Frontlines of Conservation

On World Ranger Day, we laud the men and women who risk their lives to protect wildlife and wild places around the world.

Smokey Still Smokin’ In Elephant Country

The wind is howling today in elephant country. Half way through the season and we’ve been lucky to have had only two such days. The wind is making it difficult to concentrate on data management, but after such an active day yesterday, it’s a necessity. Putting the pieces of the puzzle together is best done…

Namibia Says No to Destroying Its Huge Ivory and Rhino Horn Stockpile

By Adam Cruise

Pohamba Shifeta, Namibia’s Minister of Environment and Tourism, said the country will not destroy its stockpile of ivory and rhino horns—a measure adopted by other countries in Africa and elsewhere to combat poaching by raising public awareness and removing the possibility of the products going onto the black market.

Are Fences the Solution for Protecting Africa’s National Parks?

With the expansion of human populations, instances of human-wildlife conflict become increasingly frequent. One proposed solution to protect both people and wildlife is the implementation of fences around established protected areas. Many conservation scientists argue that these fences may do more harm than good. A recent paper published in June by some of the world’s most renowned…