Tag archives for poaching
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…
In the last three years I’ve worked tirelessly meeting people in the field of cheetah conservation both at home in California and in the countries where the cheetah still roam their natural habitat. From the ambassadors of their species in the United States to the wild cats of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the journey…
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
Gabon’s Minkebe National Park, once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population, has lost 11,100 elephants to the illegal ivory trade in recent years, the Wildlife Conservation Society says. If we can find hundreds of millions of dollars to fight terrorism in Mali, we should be able to find the resources to combat this last big push by poachers, which may well be the final blow to a species that has just about gone extinct in the majority of countries where it once ranged.
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.
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.
Botswana and Zambia, two premier wildlife destinations, recently banned all trophy hunting within a few months of each other. This move heralds a major shift in thinking about how Africa’s wildlife resources will be managed in the future. Why did they do this? In short: Corruption fueling unsustainable hunting and poaching that threatens species survival.…
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.
Despite ongoing protection efforts, rhinoceros poaching continues its sharp increase.
Zambia’s Bangweulu Wetlands are recognized by the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar Convention”) as one of the most important wetlands on earth. This vast, shimmering landscape is home to one of Africa’s most unique residents, the African shoebill (Balaeniceps rex). Shoebills are listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN and are threatened by excessive burning by…
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.
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.
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…
How does the slaughter of elephants happening now across Africa affect the innocence of children? For the makers of the film Lysander’s Song, they are inseparable. Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson’s five-year-old son Lysander was the inspiration for their project, a deeply-felt outcry against the illegal ivory trade. The rampant killing of these great…
2011 marked the worst year for elephant poaching and illegal ivory trading since the height of the trade in the 1980s, according to the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Following this lamentable news, both the British Parliament and the US Congress held hearings to address possible steps that the United Kingdom and the United States,…