VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Tag archives for elephants
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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…
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…
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.
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…
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?
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.”
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…
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.
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.
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…