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Tag archives for elephants

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…

Canoeing with Elephants

As good as it gets, an afternoon in Botswana canoeing with National Geographic filmmakers & Explorers in Residence, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, as elephants come to the river to drink. Roger Miller sang, “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd”, but as I found out can go canoeing in a buffalo herd and an…

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #23

“Life in us is like the water in a river.” Henry David Thoreau The Okavango is the beating heart of Africa, home to an estimated 50% of the world’s elephants, most of the world’s hippo, and crucial populations of many other keystone species. There is no wilder place on earth: this is the Africa of…

Ivory Is Worthless, Elephants Are Invaluable: Why Malawi’s Ivory Is Not For Sale

By Jonathan Vaughan

On April 2, Malawi’s planned destruction of its ivory stockpile was postponed.

Despite clear assurances from President Peter Mutharika himself that the burn will go ahead following the conclusion of an outstanding court case, the decision caused heated debate. Social media and online chat forums set alight, with calls to cash in on the “millions” that Malawi could make from selling its ivory.

But the vast majority of commentators missed the point, because, quite simply, the ivory in question is worth nothing to Malawi. To be sold, it would have to be laundered illegally, breaking international law.

Congo Ivory Burn Could Be Turning Point in Fight Against Wildlife Trafficking

By John Robinson

Today the Republic of Congo burned its confiscated hardwood timber and the country’s entire stockpile of illegal ivory. With the destruction of 4.7 metric tons of ivory, the Republic of Congo joins a growing list of countries opting to burn or crush ivory stockpiles as a means of sending a global message on the plight of elephants and a warning to would-be traffickers.

“Things R Elephant”: Heated Debate in Kenya Gets to the Heart of What It Will Take to Save the Species

By Paula Kahumbu

In Kenya, when you hear that “Things are Elephant,” it means there’s a major problem. That’s why we chose this as the title for the first ever debate of its kind, organized by WildlifeDirect, on the future of elephants.

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.