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Is CITES Turning a Blind Eye to China’s Illicit Wildlife Imports?

The mystery of the origin and whereabouts of ten gorillas supposedly exported legally from Africa to China in recent years continues to mystify wildlife monitors. Why is CITES, the international treaty set up to protect endangered species from commercial exploitation, not responding to the situation?

CITES and the Illegal Trade in Wildlife

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement supported by 180 governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of endangered species. But is it doing the job? Karl Ammann asks some tough questions based on his observations of clear violations of the agreement.

Reporting on the Ivory Trade in Angola: Will the Nation’s Entry to CITES Make a Difference?

By Elena Bersacola and Magdalena Svensson Destruction of stocks of illegal ivory has been prevalent news in the media lately. Most recently it was Hong Kong announcing the intention to crush 28 tons of its illegally smuggled ivory to show support for the fight against wildlife trafficking. This comes soon after China, the United States,…

One More Generation’s Carter & Olivia Ries are Helping to Conserve South Africa’s Rhinos

I selected Carter and Olivia Ries of the Atlanta, Georgia-based non-profit One More Generation to be my second choice to profile for my series on young crusaders for National Geographic’s News Watch. I caught up with the brother and sister team of environmental conservationists just before they embark on a trip to South Africa to help…

The War on the Illegal Ivory Trade: A Conversation with IFAW’s US Bureau

A few weeks ago a friend of mine discovered that someone he knew was trading or in possession of contraband in the way of ivory and asked me who to contact. I told him to contact the USFWS.  Specifically, I suggested emailing or calling the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Division of Management Authority, the…

Most Wild-Caught Grey Parrots Die Before Market

Researchers in the field estimate that 45-65% of wild-caught African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) die before arrival at markets and quarantine facilities in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Terese Hart, Director of the TL2 Project (www.bonoboincongo.com), clarifies that trappers lose an average of 25%, local buyers declare a 10-40% mortality rate, and air transport to…

Let’s Not Shatter the Glass Eel

With the exception of sushi aficionados devouring unagi in rolls of avocado, rice, and a dab of wasabi, American eels do not get a lot of love today. Once a dietary mainstay of native peoples and early colonists, these nutritious animals have been devastated over the centuries by growing fishing pressure and the construction of dams along rivers where they once swam in abundance.

Destroying Elephant Ivory Stockpiles: No Easy Matter

When the Philippines destroyed its five-ton stockpile of seized elephant tusks on June 21, it marked not only the first time an ivory-consuming nation took such a public action but also the first time a country took key steps to guarantee that it could not re-enter the black market.

China Ivory Prosecution: A Success Exposes Fundamental Failure

Chinese media reported last week that China has convicted a major ivory seller in Fujian and his accomplices for their role in an international ivory trafficking scheme that smuggled nearly eight tonnes of ivory out of Kenya, Tanzania, and Nigeria. The arrest and conviction of a government-accredited ivory trader by Chinese authorities is a major…

April 14, 2013: Digging in a Graveyard on Halloween, Helping Kids by Hiking and More

This week, we meet a retiree who decided to climb the Seven Summits on a whim, learn about the humanism of primates, explore the potential for drones, previously used exclusively in combat, to help conservation, and we discover where food goes after you eat it.

Did Polar Bears Really Lose at CITES?

Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species 16th Conference of Parties held in Bangkok in March rejected a proposal to ban international trade in polar bears and their parts. The decision caused a stir because polar bears face a precarious future. While some non-governmental organizations were deeply disappointed by the failure to uplist polar bears from Appendix II to Appendix I, which would have banned all international trade in the species and their parts, Steven Amstrup—a renowned polar bear scientist—believes that limitations on trade don’t address the real challenge facing the iconic animals.

New Promises Follow Elephant Slaughter in Chad and Cameroon

In the aftermath of the largest elephant poaching episode thus far in 2013, Central African governments met to coordinate and adopt an emergency plan to combat the killings. But is it too little, too late? WARNING: This post contains graphic images of slain elephants and an aborted calf.

Sharks Cross Fin-ish Line at CITES and A New Era Begins.

By Demian Chapman, Debra Abercrombie, and Carl Safina “Shark Week” came early in 2013, but it was not on TV. It occurred in early March in Bangkok, Thailand, at the world conference of the nearly 200 member nations to CITES—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. After years of work, vigorous debate on the…

Apostolic Palace Video Exposes Ivory Use

During a week when the world learned that yet again a massive slaughter of elephants has taken place, this time of 89 elephants in Chad, many of which aborted upon being shot, I am struck by this video from ABC World News, which takes us inside the Apostolic Palace that Pope Francis I now calls…

7 Species of Sharks and Manta Rays Receive International Protection

Following news earlier this month that 100 million sharks are killed each year by fishermen—an astounding 274,000 every day—global governments agreed this week to offer the ocean predators new protection. At the annual meeting for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Bangkok this week, a coalition of global governments voted to protect five…