Tag archives for wildlife trafficking
In a week of wildlife conservation announcements coming out of New York, including CGI’s commitment to spend $80 million fighting elephant poaching, and the merge between Rare and The Nature Conservancy, the nonprofit organization African Parks (AP) added its news to the mix: African Parks is partnering with the government of Chad to launch the first national program to combat elephant poaching in central Africa.
Richard Ruggiero, J. Michael Fay, and Lee White write that wildlife trafficking will receive overdue world attention this week at the United Nations General Assembly and by the Clinton Global Initiative and other elite platforms. “The ongoing slaughter of African elephants will be in particular focus, as African states and their partners seek to craft consensus on how best to save the largest land mammal from extinction.”
Relentless poaching is threatening to claim more rhinos in South Africa this year than ever before. But there is hope that a comprehensive strategy to fight the criminals could start reversing the sickening trend.
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.
Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Tara D. Sonenshine writes that in the end the war on poaching will be won through changing hearts and minds.
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.
The growing incursion of rhino poachers from Mozambique into South Africa’s flagship Kruger National Park is beginning to strain relations between the two countries. South African security operatives trying to stem the relentless killing of the enigmatic animals speak of it as a “border war”. They are getting increasingly fed-up with Mozambique’s security agencies for not doing more to clamp down on the poachers and the rhino-horn smugglers on their side of the boundary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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 number of rhinos killed for their horns in South Africa so far this year has shot up to 618. This is well past last year’s shock record of 448 and substantially more than the tally of 550 predicted at the beginning of 2012. And still there is no sign of the onslaught letting up.…
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.
Hillary Clinton to ask intelligence community to look into illegal wildlife trade; pledges $100,000 to launch new global system of enforcement.
Authorities in Madagascar this week arrested two men and seized close to 200 of some of the world’s rarest tortoises that they were trying to smuggle out of Antananarivo’s Ivato Airport to Jakarta, Indonesia, TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, said today.
The shadow of rhino poaching keeps darkening the magnificent landscape that places South Africa among the most biodiverse countries in the world. Already the figure for the year so far stands at about 200 rhinos killed. This has conservationists fearing that the toll for the year could end up exceeding the shocking 333 killed last year.
A restaurant owner could face RM600,000 (U.S.$196,000) in fines and time in jail after authorities found him in possession of meat and parts of several protected species including several pieces of dried tiger parts, TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, said today. “Officers from the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) in Pahang, a…
From Leon Marshall in Johannesburg The assault on South Africa’s rhino population has continued unabated into 2011. After last year’s massacre of 333 of the country’s rhino herd, the death toll since the beginning of 2011 already stands at a disheartening 71 of the seriously endangered species. This is higher than at the same time…
With only 3,500 tigers hanging on in isolated patches of wilderness scattered across 13 Asian countries, the prospects for the survival of the species outside zoos is grim. The Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, is convening a summit in St. Petersburg this weekend to discuss and endorse a plan that would double the population…
From Leon Marshall in Johannesburg Rhino poaching keeps taking on such alarming proportions in South Africa that the country’s defence force has now been called in to help fight the ruthless killers who are mostly using assault weapons and often other sophisticated equipment to carry out their crime. The request has come from South African…
News of another wild tiger killing has come on the eve of the international summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, to discuss an urgent strategy to save the last tigers in the wild. A rare Siberian tiger was killed yesterday by poachers near Vladivostok, Russia, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said in a news…
NGS stock photo by Michael Nichols For four days starting this weekend, government leaders from the 13 tiger range countries will be meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, to confirm a plan to restore and conserve one of the world’s most iconic big cats to its wild habitat. Teams from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia,…
Parts of at least 1,069 tigers have been seized in tiger range countries over the past decade, according to an analysis of tiger seizures released today by TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. Wild tiger numbers are in steep decline, caused by a combination of poaching and illegal trade in the animals themselves, coupled with…