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November 16, 2014: Speed Climb 3,000 Foot Walls, Meet the Darwin of NYC’s Rodent World and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they set a speed record on El Capitan, prosecute poaching kingpins, share survival tips for extreme weather, dig up clues on ancient tsunamis to study for future risk, hold our breath to survive a surfing disaster, call the Malagasy military for an airlift, understand the evolution of New York’s rats, and mourn the Sherpa guides and porters lost on Everest.

Has Demand for Rhino Horn Truly Dropped in Vietnam?

By Scott I. Roberton

Recently, the Humane Society International (HSI) and the Vietnam CITES Management Authority (MA) announced that in the last year there has been a 77 percent decrease in the number of people who buy or use rhino horn in Hanoi. If accurate, this finding is an incredibly promising sign of success. Nevertheless, the announcement was met with skepticism by many conservationists, demanding greater scrutiny of the findings.

Legalizing Ivory Trade: Taking to New Heights a Dangerous Policy Proposal

From Alejandro Nadal and Francisco Aguayo: Debate around the policy response to the current elephant poaching crisis has been polarized around the issue of market-based instruments, and as a result a lot of attention has focused on some form of regulated legal trade. We examine first the proposal for legalizing international trade and establishing a high-end market model in China as a means to reduce illegal trade. Second, we analyze the assertion that speculative stockpiling is the core driver of elephant poaching.

Wildlife Trafficking: Beyond Elephants and Ivory

By Susan Lieberman

In the wildlife trafficking policy debate in the U.S., the majority of attention to date has been on elephant ivory and rhino horn from Africa. However, elephants and rhinos are not the only species threatened by illegal international trade. Numerous other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and others are also subject to trafficking, and they too need increased attention and political and financial support. In testimony I submitted to a meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, I detailed some of the species whose illegal trade is under the radar, but still are suffering the effects of wildlife trafficking.

On the March in Washington, D.C., for Elephants and Rhinos

From Katarzyna Nowak: The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos brought together people in 130 cities worldwide (90 more cities than last year) on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

The march in Washington, D.C., assembled at the Lincoln Memorial and set off at noon, along Constitution Avenue, swinging left on 15th street. At E Street, we struck up a rousing chorus: “E is for Elephant, not Extinction!”

Opinion: Irrelevant, Illogical, and Illegal–24 Experts Respond to Arguments Supporting Legalization of the Ivory Trade

Compiled and edited by Katarzyna Nowak
I present comments from 24 authorities who lay out the flaws in pro-trade thinking, as recently elocuted in Daniel Stiles’s essay “Can Elephants Survive a Continued Trade Ban?” written in response to Christina Russo’s article “Can Elephants Survive a Legal Ivory Trade? Debate Is Shifting Against It.” These experts work in diverse fields, from anthropology, ecology, and conservation biology to law, journalism, politics, and economics. They voice their individual opinions, based on personal experience and research. As such, there is no suggestion that the commentators agree with each other, or are otherwise acting jointly.

OPINION: Hong Kong’s Infamous and Shadowy Ivory Trade

By Alex Hofford

It is a little known fact that the blame for the elephant poaching crisis of the 1980s, which resulted in the global ivory ban of 1989, can be laid squarely at the feet of the Hong Kong ivory traders. And now they’re at it again.

OPINION: Elephants Are Not Widgets

By Grace Gabriel, International Fund for Animal Welfare
The ivory trade does not follow a neat economic model, and calls for a regulated legal market are naïve and misguided.

OPINION: Can Elephants Survive a Continued Ivory Trade Ban?

Daniel Stiles, a member of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group, discusses whether there should be a legal trade in elephant ivory, and proposes elements that could be included in a legal trade. The outcome, he believes, will be a significant reduction of elephant killing for ivory.  

Q&A: Landmark Report Reveals Crucial Links in the Illegal Ivory Trade

While there are effectively unlimited numbers of poachers and consumers fueling the lucrative illegal ivory market, a new report suggests that nearly all the ivory shuttled from Africa to Asia—the biggest market—is confined to as few as 200 shipping containers a year.

Elephants’ Last Chance

My assignment is a mammoth one: Go to Kenya and photograph African elephants – a vulnerable species currently losing ground as 35,000 elephants are killed a year.

Opinion: Killing of Great Tusker in Kenya Recalls Lesson From the Past

By John Heminway The killing in late May of the great tusker Satao, in Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, was another blunt reminder that no elephant in Africa is safe. A poacher’s poisoned arrow felled him, and his death was presumed to have been long and painful. Satao was thought to be the largest-tusked elephant surviving in Africa. While he…

March 24, 2014: Big Wave Crashes, Haitian Folk-Tunes, Babysitting Gorillas and More

Join radio host Boyd Matson every week for adventure, conservation and green science. This week they are held underwater until they blackout and are rescued, put Langston Hughes’ poetry to music, study bats in the living room, grow up with gorillas, survive a deadly Antarctic expedition, remind travelers to represent their nations, refuse to order bluefin tuna sushi, and create stronger laws to protect elephants.

November 24, 2013: Hanging From Antarctic Cliffs, Living With Wolves and More

This week, we live for days hanging from an Antarctic cliff in high winds, then we join a Mexican circus, live with wolves for six years, and crush six tons of ivory.

Deep River and the African Elephant

One Connecticut community is honoring the 100,000 elephants that died for the town’s thriving ivory trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.