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Katarzyna Nowak is a conservation scientist affiliated with the Zoology Department at the University of the Free State, Qwaqwa, South Africa. She has spent fifteen years researching and writing about the behavior and conservation of wild monkeys and elephants, and human-wildlife interactions. She helped establish and advises the Southern Tanzania Elephant Program. She's currently based in Colorado's Front Range. Photo credit: Trevor Jones

Letting the Foxes ‘Protect’ the Hens in Ryan Zinke’s Department of Interior

On November 8, U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) Secretary Ryan Zinke announced the creation of an International Wildlife Conservation Council that will advise him. As a recent Science Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science assigned to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Division of International Conservation, I’ve watched the…

LETTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY: It is time to formally recognize conflict ivory

The 70th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) opened on September 15 amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis of refugees and migrants escaping various conflicts. The world’s heads of state are expected to discuss not only their fate but also what exacerbates the violence they flee.

South African Government Acknowledges Letter Raising Concerns Over Possible Trade in Rhino Horn

By Katarzyna Nowak

South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) has formally acknowledged the receipt of an open letter that voices concerns over a possible proposal to reopen international trade in rhino horn.

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.

ESSAY: Human Females Could (Should?) Be More Like Elephant Females

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?

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.

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.

Zambia’s Hunting “Bans”—Shedding Light on a Complicated History

By Katarzyna Nowak

On August 21, Zambia was reported to have “lifted its hunting ban,” announcing that a ban on hunting big cats—leopards and lions—would remain. One week later, an addendum was issued by the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), clarifying that the hunting ban would remain in effect for elephants too.

However, confusion endures in the media, such as in a September 9 article on Mongabay: “Zambia ends trophy hunting ban, elephants fair game.”

Was there ever a hunting ban in Zambia, has Zambia resumed hunting, and will elephants be hunted?

Opinion: Hunters’ Demand for Elephant Trophies Should Not Take Precedence Over Government Accountability

Katarzyna Nowak

While positive steps have been taken by governments to protect elephants and their ecosystems, private hunting companies are working hard to undermine the potential gains.

Opinion: Walking the International Talk to Help Elephants

By Katarzyna Nowak Is the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy of a blanket domestic ivory ban a “declaration of political war” that “criminalizes American citizens and kills elephants”? This is the extreme view expressed by Doug Bandow in Forbes magazine in March 2014 and taken up again in yesterday’s post here by Andrew Wyatt…

Elephant Declines Vastly Underestimated

By Trevor Jones and Katarzyna Nowak Earlier this month, international media ran with a major prediction released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that “one-fifth of Africa’s elephants could be wiped out in the next ten years, at current poaching levels.” This is a damaging underestimate that undercuts the seriousness of…

The Future of Africa’s Elephants: Out with Arguments Old, In with Choices Bold

The idea that we can save elephants by selling their teeth is a flawed vision that will accelerate elephants down their current road toward near extinction, write Katarzyna Nowak and Trevor Jones, directors of the Udzungwa Elephant Project in southern Tanzania. “Elephants could be secure again, and recovering—but only if we can overcome our greed for their teeth.”