Tag archives for elephants
Readers of this blog and other news related to the calamitous trends in the large-scale poaching of African elephants have another word to add to the vocabulary of crimes against nature: Minkebe. I did not share the shock that the news release from the Office of the President Ali Bongo Ondimba brought to most readers.…
With just seven days remaining before Bryan Christy’s Blood Ivory article hits the newsstands, we’re down to the wire. A complete story is within our grasp, but it’s uncomfortably obvious that we don’t yet have enough. Our legal team insists that we remove ourselves from the field before “Blood Ivory” is released. Sensing the pressure, the reality is that we either deliver now or come up short.
Anticipating the scramble, we had split into two teams. I’m on the ground in Dar es Salaam posing as an ivory buyer with Aidan Hartley. Our goal is simple: capture the bad guys on film, red handed. Our second team is in China, their objective is much more complex: explore the driving forces behind the growing demand for ivory.
More than half of Thailand’s elephants are in captivity. Once used for transportation, religious festivals, and war stemming back to 2000 BCE, adult elephants today work in illegal logging and tourism camps, while calves simply wander the city streets. Most of Thailand’s working elephants are considered private property. As the only source of revenue for their owners,…
According to CITES experts, more than 25,000 elephants—an estimated 12 percent of the world’s elephant population—were killed in Africa last year alone, and some say the numbers could be much higher.
In a new Web series, National Geographic filmmakers share their experiences documenting the illegal ivory trade. Follow journalists Bryan Christy and Aidan Hartley as we go undercover and inside the criminal network behind ivory’s supply and demand.
What does it actually mean to “harmonize” elephant mortality and why should we do it? The simple answer is that with many people engaged in elephant conservation in Kenya, we need to agree on the actual figures, so that we can document what is going on and react in an appropriate way. In reality the situation is a bit more complex.
Poachers are capitalizing on the disarray in the Central African Republic (CAR) and appear to be moving freely in a search of elephants. Late last year several columns of Sudanese poachers, up to 200 well-armed men, were spotted traveling across northern CAR toward Chad and Cameroon. Reports last week indicate that these poachers are moving back-and-forth between CAR and Chad.
Shifra Goldenberg, a Colorado State University student researching the effects of poaching and other disruption on the social structure and survival of young female elephants, shares memories and thoughts of the recent poaching of a young elephant in a wildlife conservation reserve in Kenya. The bull, known to the research community as Phylo, was found with his face hacked off and ivory stolen by gunmen who came for him under the light of the full moon.
The Society for Conservation Biology’s Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative released a statement last week calling upon the world’s religious leaders to stop using elephant ivory. As the statement notes, “In addition to the ethical concerns raised by the possible extinction of elephant populations or species, the ivory trade is associated with considerable bloodshed for humans as well as elephants.” The Collaborative concludes that “the requirements of religion and conservation should be and, indeed, can be complementary in reaching the best possible outcome whereby religious faith is respected and the future of elephants safeguarded.”
The new wave of killing of elephants in Africa is in many ways far graver than the crisis of the 1970s and 80s. Firstly there are fewer elephants, and secondly the demand for ivory is far higher. Record ivory prices in the Far East are fueling poachers, organised crime and political instability right across the African elephant range. And the situation shows no sign of calming.
More elephants were slaughtered for their ivory in Kenya this weekend, including 20-year-old Phylo, an elephant known to wildlife conservationists.
Dear friends of Changila, I am deeply moved by all your letters, which I have read over and over again. Thank you. [You may read and add to the letters to Oria at the foot of her blog post Saluting Changila.] I share your feelings of rage and sadness. It will be a long battle to…
“We are absolutely convinced that the massacre of elephant is a very serious matter,” writes Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, in a response today to our correspondence about the use of elephant ivory for devotional icons by some Catholic followers.
As Father Lombardi points out, it was emails from readers of A Voice for Elephants blog to his office that encouraged him to write this letter. Please continue the conversation by commenting here and also, if you wish, by writing directly to his office.
The religious use of ivory is among the least publicized and seemingly most easily correctable drivers of the massive elephant slaughter now taking place across Africa. Does the Vatican consider the use of ivory religious carvings and ecclesiastical gifts to be morally wrong or at odds with Church doctrine? There has been no response to several requests National Geographic made to the Vatican to clarify the Church’s position.
The large number of mature and experienced African elephants being killed illegally for their ivory is exposing younger surviving elephants to a higher risk of mortality from predation and other risks, wildlife conservationists said today.
On January 3 Oria Douglas-Hamilton flew in tribute over the mutilated remains of an elephant named Changila, slaughtered outside Kenya’s Samburu National Park. He was killed the day after her 80th birthday. She pays tribute to the elephant and mourns the loss of another victim of the illegal ivory trade.
Right now, the subject of ivory trading is on everyone’s lips: to trade or not to trade? There’s also a lot of talk about reducing demand by targeting consumers with awareness campaigns. But no one talks about targeting the individuals, governments, and vested interests that stimulate the trade.
Gangs of heavily armed elephant poachers have crossed the Central African Republic (CAR) from Sudan and are reported to be close to the southern Chad and northern Cameroon borders. Informers recognized one of the poachers as part of the group responsible for the killing frenzy that left roughly 650 elephants dead in and around northern Cameroon’s Bouba Ndjidah National Park in February 2012.
National Geographic Contributing Writer Bryan Christy offers observations and suggestions on what the priorities should be for the newly announced U.S. initiative to form a global coalition to protect wildlife in their environments and end the illicit global trade in wildlife goods. “If I could offer only one suggestion on how to reduce wildlife crime, it would be this: Look to the grass roots,” Christy says.
Following the capture of the poachers, Chadian communities have gathered to support the country’s elephants. The wildlife organization SOS Elephants, traditional leaders, and administrative authorities together have initiated an education campaign to explain why elephants deserve protection and how creation of a safe corridor could help.
Zakaria Ibrahim, Brahim Khamis, Daoud Aldjouma, Djibrine Adoum Goudja, and Idriss Adoum—all dead, gunned down during dawn prayers. Where? North of Zakouma National Park in Chad, central Africa. When? September 3, 2012. Why? They were assassinated for protecting the last of the elephant herds found in the vast stretches between the Sahara Desert and the Congo forest.
“Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship” is generating keen interest in the Philippines. The country’s ivory trade has been the cover story of the Philippine newspapers this week and is receiving similar attention across the country, especially on the island of Cebu.
National Geographic’s undercover investigation into how the global religious market for ivory is a driving force in the slaughter of thousands of African elephants has prompted extensive media coverage — and calls for an official inquiry — in the Philippines. Bryan Christy reported in the October 2012 issue of National Geographic that he traveled to the…
Elephants are being illegally killed across Africa at the highest rates in a decade, and the global religious market for ivory is a driving force. “Ivory Worship,” the cover story in the October issue of National Geographic, offers the first in-depth investigation of this untold story. For a behind-the-scenes perspective on this story, we interviewed…
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Many of us saw this as a turning point, a time when the world adopted a new paradigm for development. We have come to realize that economic growth and social justice cannot be achieved at the expense of the environment.
Fearless Conservationist and Scientist, Dr. Joyce Poole has been decoding elephant language for years and is now working on a project to help mentally scared elephants recover after a 16-year civil war gripped Mozambique, devastating its people and its wildlife . Find out how you can join her for a live conversation, Tuesday March 23 at 2:30pm ET.