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Livelihoods, Jobs, and the Illegal Wildlife Trade

By John G. Robinson

The illegal wildlife trade is big business. Not including the illegal trade in timber, it exceeds $19 billion annually. The trade is heavily capitalized and is part of the same criminal networks that are involved in drugs, weapons and human trafficking. While the impacts on wildlife populations – including elephants, tigers, and fish species – are widely known, the effects on human livelihoods, community integrity, income-generating jobs, sustainable development, and national economies are equally pervasive.

OPINION: Rhinos and Elephants Are in Trouble—So Why Adopt Contradictory Emergency Measures?

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.

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.

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…

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…

Shutting Down the Manta Trade

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by Paul Hilton, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers.  Twice in a one-week on the Indonesia island of…

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.

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.  

100,000 African Elephants Poached Since 2010, Study Finds

Ivory-seeking poachers have killed 100,000 African elephants in just three years, according to a new study that provides the first reliable continent-wide estimates of illegal kills. During 2011 alone, roughly one of every twelve African elephants was killed by a poacher.