Tag archives for elephants
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…
My friend Ken Wahl is an award-winning actor having won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Emmy. The passionate animal advocate and voice for veterans of war is best known for his starring role in the prime time television series Wiseguy. Ken is anything, but a traditional actor. In fact, he was on…
With illegal ivory trade at its highest level in almost two decades, and large-scale ivory seizures more than doubling since 2009, a new commitment to submit ivory shipments for DNA testing is a welcome development. “The single most important thing we can do is figure out where the killings are taking place,” says Samuel Wasser, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington. Wasser and his team innovated techniques for extracting and analyzing DNA from ivory. The team also developed a DNA map for African elephants that allows the geographic origin of a tusk to be ascertained within a 160-mile radius.
As poachers fired on forest elephants inside the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, a World Heritage Site in the Central African Republic (CAR), the impotence of foreign governments and non-governmental organizations in preventing the slaughter of wildlife amid political chaos was, once again, revealed. Earlier this week, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) reported that on May 6…
Any discussion of elephants in captivity is met with controversy and criticism. Last week, I asked my colleague Jim Naelitz to provide his expert view on elephant management in zoos. The career elephant trainer and curator has worked with elephants at three AZA institutions. I felt Jim would provide a perspective fairly representing zoo elephant…
In this guest blog post, Ed Stewart, president, and co-founder, of the Performing Animal Welfare Society, takes issue with a News Watch post by Jordan Carlton Schaul about elephants in zoos. “The reason the management of elephants in captivity is coming under such scrutiny, is not, as [Schaul] states, because zoos and sanctuaries offer different environments for elephants, but because zoos and sanctuaries have different philosophies about captivity itself,” Stewart writes. On top of that, he adds, there presently exists no state-of-the-art keeping of elephants in captivity.
Walking in the footsteps of African elephant bull Jabu made us feel more closely connected to elephants than ever before. Working together with Sanctuary Retreats, Living With Elephants gave us the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend time with a trio of orphaned elephants in the Okavango Delta.
On our radar today: Scientists have played back a recording of Alexander Graham Bell’s voice for the first time; a fuel barge explosion in Alabama causes a fire; and…
Elephants may use a variety of subtle movements and gestures to communicate with one another, according to researchers who have studied the big mammals in the wild for decades. To the casual human observer, a curl of the trunk, a step backward, or a fold of the ear may not have meaning. But to…
As I plan for my trip to India to work with South Asia’s largest animal welfare and conservation organization, I realize that the one area that is the most removed from my field of expertise is elephant management and the captive breeding of elephants for conservation purposes. Sure I have been around Asian and African…
Wildlife conservationist Paula Kahumbu writes that Kenya stands at the crossroads of turning things around for elephants. The authorities need to recognize that poaching and ivory trafficking are serious crimes and immediately elevate penalties for wildlife crimes.
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.
When an endangered species begins to thrive in a certain area, that should be the cause of celebration. But in Kings Bay, Florida, the celebration is becoming problematic for the local manatee populations, that use the warm waters to survive the winters. The waters are becoming crowded with tourists who flock to the region to swim and kayak among the slow-moving marine mammals.
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.
Celia Ho, a 14-year-old girl from Hong Kong, has been working on an ivory ban campaign to help save elephants from the inhumane ivory market. In this post for A Voice for Elephants, Celia talks about some of her projects and asks for everyone’s support.
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…
This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson we go undercover to hunt for ivory poachers in Kenya, spy from the safety of a drone, hide from hippos while paddling down the Gambia River, learn to attract poison dart frogs for mates, and much more.
Little Fellow was a good-looking young bull with splayed tusks and ear lobes that curled out. But he would not live long enough to pass his genes on to the next generation. Born in the late 1990s, Little Fellow entered a world that was pretty safe for elephants. But today, 24 years on, it certainly isn’t. The ongoing slaughter is threatening the survival of the species, as well as tourism, economies, and stability in many African countries.
Sunday is opening day for the two-week-long 16th meeting, in Bangkok, Thailand, of the world’s leading body for regulating the world’s wildlife—the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). How will the gathering decide on the issue of legalizing the sale of ivory?
“And you can smell it; it’s almost like dried blood. There is the smell of death in here. All of these are confiscated trophies.” Reports investigative journalist, Aidan Hartley. We’ve just been given exclusive access to an astonishingly vast warehouse of government owned ivory in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
For our series finale, Aidan meets with Khamis Kagasheki, minister of natural resources in Tanzania, which stores the world’s largest stockpile of elephant tusks in the world — 90 metric tons. Kagasheki agrees to allow us to take the first-ever footage of the vast warehouse that stores thousands of tusks, valued at $50 million.
Most experts believe China is the world’s leading consumer of ivory products, and, according to a recent survey conducted to support our upcoming National Geographic Special, Battle for the Elephants, China’s demand for ivory products is at an all-time high. According to the poll, 84 percent of Chinese middle and upper-middle class consumers surveyed plan to buy ivory goods in the future. That represents a very large number and a very grim future for elephants.
According to Bryan Christy, these two sales gave cover to ivory smugglers in China, and the underground market exploded. According to CITES, 25,000 elephants were killed in Africa last year, though other observers say it could be many more. In Tanzania alone, poachers kill 30 elephants a day. The International Fund for Animal Welfare estimates that 84 percent of the ivory sold in China is illegal.
Since the opening up of the Chinese market and the growth of its economy, ivory, once a precious material available only to the ruling elite, has become increasingly available to the growing Chinese middle class.
A luxury goods store in Beijing allowed our cameras into their showroom where Christy explains how those auctions complicate what’s for sale legally and what’s not.
“I take every chance to share my campaign and the difficulties elephants are facing,” says Celia Ho, a 14-year-old student from Hong Kong who launched a campaign to stop ivory consumption after reading Bryan Christy’s “Blood Ivory” article in National Geographic. Her young voice represents a new hope for elephants that is increasing throughout Asia, while her story illustrates how one person can make a difference.
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.
Through a taxing series of twists and turns, I find myself on assignment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, about to go undercover with Aidan Hartley. Hartley is a seasoned war correspondent and investigative journalist, and no greenhorn when it comes putting his life on the line to get a story.
Our goal is time sensitive and dangerous: capture video of criminal ivory traders selling poached ivory. Once embedded, we have just a 3-day window to operate in the city; we fear pushing our investigation further could trigger the slaughter of more elephants.