GET INVOLVED!

Dear Friend, Ally, Lords of the Earth

An elephant is pictured in Tsavo East National Park in southern Kenya on January 31, 2013. (Ivan Lieman/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1967, Romain Gary, that remarkable poet of the spirit, penned an address to you, the elephants of earth, of such stunning clarity and beauty; it is a prayer for life. It made one almost jealous of your great startling species, so many years ago. I was just a little boy then in Paris. My grandfather had known Gary and helped to liberate my home town. I did not know the fascists in WWII. I did not fly fighter planes to deliver us from tyranny. I did not liberate starving prisoners who suffered the torture and ignominy of the camps. I did not partake of the horrors of that time. I am of another time.

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Seeing the Elephant in the Room

African elephants. (Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson)

As a concerned parent and Academy Award nominee who helped alert the world to the elephant crisis in the landmark “Agony and Ivory” article in Vanity Fair in 2011, written by Alex Shoumatoff, I deplore the recent CITES decision in South Africa to not give maximum protection to elephants.
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The Second Elephant Disaster

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I pointed the small hidden video camera at George Poon outside one of his clandestine ivory factories in the UAE. When he realised we had just filmed his ivory cutters churning out bangles from poached ivory he screamed, his eyes glaring furiously. Turning on our heels, Des Hamill from the UK’s ITN Television News and I ran across the dusty street, threw the camera in our baking car and pulled away. Poon, shouting in Chinese, ran after us, held on to the front door and tried to reach the camera through the window. As I accelerated he fell off. I’ll never forget the image of him in the car’s wing mirror, shaking his fist in the dirt thrown up by our speeding Toyota.

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Conservation and Humanitarianism: Two Sides of One Coin

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There is increasing urgency to include local communities in environmental matters, especially those communities living near nature reserves. This is partly fuelled by those who seek equality in reaping ecosystem benefits. However, the biggest motivation for increasing public participation is a realisation that these often poor local communities will be most affected by any failing ecosystems. Most live off the land and do not have the financial means to cushion any blows dealt by weakened ecosystems. Members of these communities may often transgress into the nearby protected areas for subsistence hunting. From this subsistence hunting some see a way of making money and escaping poverty. This then provides foot soldiers for some of Africa’s biggest environmental problems; industry-scale bush meat trade, and poaching of elephants and rhinos. Continue reading “Conservation and Humanitarianism: Two Sides of One Coin” »

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A Call to Action

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I remember my first encounter with wild elephants. “Quiet”, the person with the flashlight beaming under my tent flap whispered. The light stunned me awake, and as I shook off my grogginess and pushed back the cover of my sleeping bag, I saw the face behind the flashlight belonged to Noah, our Tanzanian guide. He held his finger to his lips and then waved my tent mate and me outside. When my eyes adjusted to the night, I could see what the others in our group were looking at. My jaw dropped. At the edge of our campsite, standing by a makeshift water fountain of piled stone, was a herd of maybe nine elephants.
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Letter to an Elephant

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lifeI hope you won’t consider me discourteous if I tell you that your size, strength and craving for unrestricted existence make you quite obviously anachronistic. You’re therefore considered as incompatible with modern times, and for all of us who are sick and tired of our polluted cities and even more polluted minds, your colossal presence and the fact of your survival against all odds, acts as a God-sent reassurance. Everything is not yet lost, the last hope of freedom has not yet vanished completely from this earth and, who knows, if we stop destroying elephants and save them from extinction, we may yet succeed in protecting our own species from our destructive enterprises as well.  Continue reading “Letter to an Elephant” »

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The Animal Protection Engine (APE): Modern Tech and Wildlife Conservation

Dr. Thomas Snitch is Chairman of the Board of Visitors at the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences and a Visiting Professor at Maryland’s Institute of Advanced Computer Studies. In May, 2013, he flew the first night UAV anti-poaching missions in Africa

The world was recently outraged to learn of the death of the beloved Zimbabwean lion, Cecil. Then, just last week, a mammoth 50 year old elephant with huge tusks was killed by a German hunter in Zimbabwe. It is a pity the bull elephant didn’t have a name since he has already disappeared from the world news.

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The Real Buzz Kill

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Travel Diary: Samantha Schmidt

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SamanthaBy Samantha Schmidt

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Today is World Wildlife Day

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(Originally posted on www.ifaw.org.)

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South Africa:Seven Suspects Arrested for Dealing and Possession of Rhino Horns

[SAPS] As part of strengthening the fight against rhino poaching and protecting the endangered species, the Kuruman Flying Squad and Stock Theft Units arrested seven suspects yesterday, 10 January 2017 for dealing and possession of rhino horns.

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Wildlife Detectives Pursue the Case of Dwindling Elephants in Indonesia

Advocacy groups are going undercover to help the police track down poachers and using unconventional means to save the animals.

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Wildlife Detectives Pursue the Case of Dwindling Elephants in Indonesia

Advocacy groups are going undercover to help the police track down poachers and using unconventional means to save the animals.

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Wildlife Detectives Pursue the Case of Dwindling Elephants in Indonesia

Advocacy groups are going undercover to help the police track down poachers and using unconventional means to save the animals.

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Namibia:Five Suspected Poachers Denied Bail

[Namibian] FIVE suspects who were arrested last week for being in possession of four elephant tusks were denied bail in the Katima Mulilo Magisitrate’s Court on Monday.

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Liberia:Elephants Go On ‘Rampage’ in Nimba

[Observer] A group of elephants has resurfaced in the Gio Forest near Tappita District in Lower Nimba County destroying plantain farms and breaking down rice kitchens (storage barns), the Daily Observer has reliably gathered.

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Tanzania:Kenya Runs Out of Wildlife Space

[Daily News] KENYA’s latest wildlife census — held just last December – shows the country is currently ‘proud’ home to 7,347 elephants, citing a slight increase in the jumbo’s population.

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BBC considers whether to stop showing ivory on Antiques Roadshow

Programme accused of being out of touch after China bans all trade in ivory and UK looks to tightening existing legislation

The BBC is considering whether to stop showing ivory on the Antiques Roadshow as the government looks to a total ban on the material’s sale in the UK.

China has already outlawed all trade in ivory and the UK government is consulting on whether to follow suit as attempts to stop the poaching of elephants increase around the world.

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In Africa, Geneticists Are Hunting Poachers

DNA databases holding samples from thousands of rhinoceroses and elephants are helping to convict illegal traffickers.

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In Africa, Geneticists Are Hunting Poachers

DNA databases holding samples from thousands of rhinoceroses and elephants are helping to convict illegal traffickers.

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Rhinoceros DNA database successful in aiding poaching prosecutions

Statistical study shows how powerful RhODIS database is in linking forensic evidence to particular animals, say researchers

A large database of rhinoceros DNA is successfully being used to prosecute poachers and those trading rhino horns, new research has revealed.

While numbers of the southern white rhino – the only wild subspecies of white rhino in Africa – have grown to about 20,000, fewer than 5,500 black rhinos are thought to exist in the wild, and both species are affected by poaching.

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Zimbabwe:Seven Suspected Poachers Thrown Into Remand Prison

[The Herald] Seven suspected poachers who shot and wounded a rhino in the Save Valley Conservancy were recently sent to remand prison after the court threw out their application for refusal of further remand.

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