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Legalizing Ivory Trade: Taking to New Heights a Dangerous Policy Proposal

From Alejandro Nadal and Francisco Aguayo: Debate around the policy response to the current elephant poaching crisis has been polarized around the issue of market-based instruments, and as a result a lot of attention has focused on some form of regulated legal trade. We examine first the proposal for legalizing international trade and establishing a high-end market model in China as a means to reduce illegal trade. Second, we analyze the assertion that speculative stockpiling is the core driver of elephant poaching.

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.

October 19, 2014: Creating Electricity From Food Waste, Arresting Poachers and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they unearth the habits of the world’s largest-ever carnivore, digest kitchen waste to cook dinner, eat like a 500 year old king, stalk Chernobyl’s ruins, trace tree rings’ roots, write a novel about elephants with a plot twist, kayak to protest dams, prosecute poachers in Mozambique, and see the unseen as a large format film.

CITES and confiscated elephant ivory and rhino horn – to destroy or not destroy?

Over the past 24 months we have seen a number of countries, including Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA, destroy stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory and rhino horn that have been seized and confiscated. I have been invited by national CITES authorities to witness several…

Report Estimates Enormous Economic Value of Living Elephants

When a young elephant dies at the hands of an ivory poacher, according to a recent report, the commercial loss to the tourism industry is more than $1.6 million–­–the amount the animal would have contributed to the economy had it lived a full and happy life.

October 12, 2014: Fighting South Pole Frostbite, Bathing Elephants and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they survive frostbite on the frozen continent, explore Haiti’s marine culture, bathe an elephant, bobsled with British champions, dance with Birds of Paradise, learn the Secrets of the National Parks, and discover what has been hiding in Vietnam’s jungles.

Ancient “Oddball” Mammal Reshuffles Family Tree?

A mysterious mammal that waded through South Asian swamps 48 million years ago is a distant cousin of modern rhinoceroses and tapirs, a new study says.

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.

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: 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.  

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Jumping Spiders, Angry Cats

Can elephants track scents? How can a jumping spider travel so fast? Read this week’s Ask Your Weird Animal Questions column.

September 7, 2014: Walking Through Conflict Zones, Driving 200 Miles Per Hour and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they dodge whales and pirates on the Indian Ocean, track poachers in Africa, find lost societies in Orkney, shed light on glowing sharks, harmonize with melting ice in Antarctica, live underwater for 31 days, follow in the pawprints of a lone wolf for 1,200 miles, and rove across the red planet.