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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.

Celebrating Zoos and Aquariums on Endangered Species Day

By Jim Breheny

WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) commemorates Endangered Species Day today at all five of our wildlife parks in New York City. It is an opportunity to recognize that we are all stewards of this planet and that the fragile balance of the Earth’s biodiversity is in our hands. Many species are threatened with extinction due to human activities, but there is much that each of us can do in the name of conservation to help save species around the world.

For Africa’s Elephants, Bearing Witness Bears Fruit

By James Deutsch

Chelsea Clinton is back in Africa because she understands that the successful conservation projects in areas she toured in 2013 – including Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park and the Kazungula Landscape, comprising parts of Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Angola – don’t have to be the exception. She and President Clinton, accompanying her on this trip, believe that with sufficient resources and political will, such efforts can be repeated across the continent where elephants, rhinos, and other threatened species continue to be poached.

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.

OPINION: China Announces One-Year Ban on Imports of African Ivory Carvings

By Patrick Bergin

On February 26, China’s State Forestry Administration announced on its website it was imposing a one-year ban on all imports of African ivory carvings. According to an unnamed forestry official, the suspension of ivory imports would allow authorities to evaluate the ban’s effectiveness in stemming elephant poaching in Africa. Because the ban was limited in scope, too brief in its temporal application, and fell far short of banning all domestic ivory trade in China, it was largely viewed by the conservation community as a symbolic plaster applied to a gushing wound.

Elephant Poachers “Will not Have the Last Word in Kenya”

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…

Kenya Burns 15 Tons of Stockpiled Ivory

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.

Will Mobilization of Military Forces Stop Elephant Poaching in Cameroon?

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…

OPINION: Slick “Hunter Proud” Video Uses Bad Ecology to Promote Elephant Culling, Trophy Hunting, and Ivory Trading

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.

ESSAY: Infighting Over Whether to Trade in Elephant Ivory and Rhino Horn Jeopardizes Both Species

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.

Tigers and Wild Cats for Sale in Myanmar: A Tale of Two Border Towns

Talking Tigers: Part 9 of a 12-part series A decades-long investigation found that the illicit trade in tigers and other wild cats has been nearly shut down in Tachilek—a frontier town in eastern Myanmar—most likely because of heightened security across the border in Thailand. But the situation in Mong La, a lawless Burmese city on the…