National Geographic
Menu

Success and Tragedy: IFAW’s Project to Relocate Elephants in Côte d’Ivoire

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) recently completed an ambitious project: translocating six forest elephants in Côte d’Ivoire. The elephants—all males—were transferred from small patches of forest just outside the town of Daloa, to Azagny National Park, a 46,000-acre park 250 miles away. The move was considered exceedingly risky: possibly the first-ever forest elephant…

Elephants in the Media: A Conversation with Melissa Groo

Since 2001, elephant conservationist Melissa Groo has been managing the Save the Elephants listserv, a free news service that disseminates daily news about elephants from around the world. Save The Elephants (STE) is a Kenya-based international conservation organization founded by preeminent scientist Iain Douglas-Hamilton, who has been working across Africa on behalf of elephants since…

China’s Ivory Crush Is Important First Step

In a surprising step, China last week became the latest in a growing number of countries to publicly destroy large quantities of ivory to bring attention to the global trade in illegal ivory. From any angle, China’s move has important and positive implications for the fight against an illegal ivory trade that is killing tens of thousands…

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…

Urban Wildlife Corridors Could Save Africa’s Free-Roaming Elephants

Wildlife corridors could pay a major role in reducing human/wildlife conflict and saving the largest remaining population of wild-roaming elephants on the planet.

Elephant Foster Mom: A Conversation with Daphne Sheldrick

Orphaned elephants “can be fine one day and dead the next,” says Daphne Sheldrick, a Kenyan conservationist and expert in animal husbandry. She knows. To date, she has fostered over 250 calves, first in partnership with her husband, David Sheldrick, founding warden of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park and a legendary naturalist, and later (following…

The Silent Crisis: Vietnam’s Elephants on the Verge of Extinction

As the slaughter of the remaining elephants in Africa continues without interruption, elephants in Vietnam—without media attention and a pack of NGOs calling for their protection—are quietly disappearing. Victim of an intensely and increasingly fragmented habitat, weak environmental laws, human-elephant conflicts, logging, and poaching, elephants in Vietnam are teetering on extinction. According to some reports,…

Ivory Mandala: A Fitting Memorial from the U.S. Ivory Crush

Tomorrow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will use an industrial rock crusher to destroy its six-ton stockpile of confiscated elephant ivory. The event is both a demonstration of the U.S.’s commitment to stop ivory trafficking and its belief that the legal ivory trade stimulates consumer demand and promotes elephant poaching. What it is not…

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.

Walking for Elephants: One Conservationist’s Journey

Jim Nyamu, a 37-year-old Kenyan research scientist, finished his 560-mile walk in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness about threats to elephants in the wild. He spoke to a gathering of about a hundred people in Lafayette Park opposite the White House. His finish was timed to coincide with the International March for Elephants,…

Elephant Crisis: An International March, As Warning and Call to Action

Elephants have captured the imagination of individuals across the world. Majestic beings, they have enthralled even those who may never have enjoyed close contact with them. It’s this empathy that has led thousands of people worldwide today to join the International March for Elephants organized by iworry, a campaign by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, to sound the warning that the future survival of elephants is in serious jeopardy. By Daphne Sheldrick, founder of the conservation charity.

Al Shabaab and the Human Toll of the Illegal Ivory Trade

The real boon for Al Shabaab’s ivory business is soaring demand in consuming countries, which translates into high prices. Illicit raw ivory now fetches over U.S. $1,500 per kilogram in Asia; in China the “official” cost for raw ivory is supposedly more than $2,865 per kilogram. That means higher profits for Al Shabaab—and a treasury it can use to wreak chaos. Consumers can help break that lifeline by not buying ivory.

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.”

African Parks Partners With Chad to Combat Elephant Poaching

In a week of wildlife conservation announcements coming out of New York, including CGI’s commitment to spend $80 million fighting elephant poaching, and the merge between Rare and The Nature Conservancy, the nonprofit organization African Parks (AP) added its news to the mix: African Parks is partnering with the government of Chad to launch the first national program to combat elephant poaching in central Africa.

Global Partnership Formed to Save Elephants in Key Protected Areas

Leading conservation organizations joined six African countries today in a commitment to protect wild elephants in their last strongholds, reduce wildlife trafficking, and dampen consumer demand for ivory. The commitment is supported with a U.S.$80-million action plan to strengthen security for elephants in their range while investing more in intelligence networks, customs inspections, and consumer…