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To save African elephants, scientists say ivory sales must stop

While that “regulated” ivory sale idea might sound nice on paper, experts say it has now been officially debunked.

How Forensic Technology Can Help Fight the Ivory Trade

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.

Artist Uses Body Paint to Transform Three Women Into Elephant

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…

Process for Establishing Future Ivory Trade Rejected at CITES Conference

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.

World Conservation Community Calls for Countries to Shut Down Their Domestic Ivory Markets

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.

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…