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My focus in particular is the pangolin: a small, scaly, creature, rather like an armadillo, with an innocent nature, despite its resemblance to a four-footed, flightless dragon. It is also the world’s most highly-traded mammal, with more than a million being poached from the wild over the last decade, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The organization says a pangolin is taken from the wild, either to be killed or sold, every five minutes.
The conservation charity ElephantVoices has launched a campaign on two powerful pieces of graphic art by New York artist, Asher Jay. The artworks, with the slogans, “Every Tusk Costs a Life; Don’t Buy Ivory” and “Every Tusk Costs a Life; Stop the Trade” target potential buyers and decision-makers, and are also specifically directed toward a Chinese audience. China is believed to be the largest market for illegal ivory, a trade which is causing the poaching of more than 2,000 wild elephants per month.
Big data is helping to paint a more distinct picture of today’s eco-criminals, pinpointing links between seemingly unconnected criminal groups and illegal activities. It can cover trading in the skins and bones of endangered Asian big cats such as tigers, the trafficking of illegal timber, and uncover trends that were previously obscured, or suggest new approaches to combating the escalating worldwide onslaught on endangered species and biodiversity.
More elephants were slaughtered for their ivory in Kenya this weekend, including 20-year-old Phylo, an elephant known to wildlife conservationists.
Dear friends of Changila, I am deeply moved by all your letters, which I have read over and over again. Thank you. [You may read and add to the letters to Oria at the foot of her blog post Saluting Changila.] I share your feelings of rage and sadness. It will be a long battle to…
The religious use of ivory is among the least publicized and seemingly most easily correctable drivers of the massive elephant slaughter now taking place across Africa. Does the Vatican consider the use of ivory religious carvings and ecclesiastical gifts to be morally wrong or at odds with Church doctrine? There has been no response to several requests National Geographic made to the Vatican to clarify the Church’s position.
The large number of mature and experienced African elephants being killed illegally for their ivory is exposing younger surviving elephants to a higher risk of mortality from predation and other risks, wildlife conservationists said today.
On January 3 Oria Douglas-Hamilton flew in tribute over the mutilated remains of an elephant named Changila, slaughtered outside Kenya’s Samburu National Park. He was killed the day after her 80th birthday. She pays tribute to the elephant and mourns the loss of another victim of the illegal ivory trade.
Right now, the subject of ivory trading is on everyone’s lips: to trade or not to trade? There’s also a lot of talk about reducing demand by targeting consumers with awareness campaigns. But no one talks about targeting the individuals, governments, and vested interests that stimulate the trade.
Gangs of heavily armed elephant poachers have crossed the Central African Republic (CAR) from Sudan and are reported to be close to the southern Chad and northern Cameroon borders. Informers recognized one of the poachers as part of the group responsible for the killing frenzy that left roughly 650 elephants dead in and around northern Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park in February 2012.
Four white rhinos were poached for their horns in a privately owned nature reserve in South Africa this week, taking the total number of rhinos killed illegally in the country this year to around 400. The total number of rhinos poached in South Africa in all of 2011 was 448, compared with 333 in 2010.
Last week, Anson Wong, the world’s most notorious international wildlife dealer, walked out of a Malaysian prison a free man after a Malaysian Appeals Court reduced his sentence for trafficking wildlife from five years to time served—17 months. Will this prove to be a setback for global wildlife law enforcement? National Geographic correspondent Bryan Christy discusses the implications of the release of Anson Wong.
It has been a bad year for rhinos in South Africa. Many more got killed than in 2010, the 333 toll of which was described with words like “shocking” and “outrageous”. Most thought it couldn’t get worse.
It’s got much worse. The tally for 2011 is at least 433. It could end up being higher, for even as the year drew to a close, reports kept coming in of more dead rhinos found with gruesome wounds or just stumps left where their horns had been.
A South African court effectively threw away the key when it jailed two smugglers convicted of trying to smuggle rhino horns out of the country. But the slaughter of the country’s pachyderms for the spurious healing power of their horns continues unchecked. A new scheme allegedly involves sex workers posing as trophy hunters seeking to harvest rhino horns through a legal loophole.