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


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


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


SamanthaBy Samantha Schmidt

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Today is World Wildlife Day


(Originally posted on

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Wildlife Crimes Investigation Unit leads to Zambian ivory trafficker arrest

May 23 2017

Ivory, from no less than five elephants, was unsuccessfully smuggled across the Zambia Malawi border and picked up by IFAW’s Wildlife Crimes Investigations Unit – thanks to their undercover informant network.Zambia-Malawi Border.

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Rescued elephant calf reunited with mother

May 22 2017

An elephant calf struggles to get out of a water tank near a village near the outer edge of Pakke Tiger Reserve in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh. read more

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Big Game Hunter Killed by Elephant in Zimbabwe

Theunis Botha, 51, of South Africa, led hunting trips for wealthy tourists. An elephant fell on him after it was shot by another hunter.

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Related: 《卫报》为何要用中文报道大象的生存危机?

Related: 人口70亿的世界,如何保护野生动植物?

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Namibia: Hundreds Arrested for Poaching

[New Era] Windhoek -The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has revealed that they arrested more than 222 suspects for poaching and illegal possession of either rhino horns or elephant tusks in 2016.

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Why would Theresa May ditch a pledge to ban ivory trading?

The Tories’ manifesto has dropped a promise to outlaw the trade. Protecting wildlife should be a priority, not an option

Strange news: Theresa May has decided to drop a Tory pledge to push for a total ban on ivory trading (only the sale of ivory items produced after 1947 is prohibited). Why would she do that? Doesn’t she need votes? I thought nearly everyone loved elephants – who votes for helping to wipe them out? Apparently, wealthy antiques dealers. Lady (Victoria) Borwick, the Tory candidate for Kensington and the president of the British Antique Dealers’ Association, is an acquaintance of the PM; perhaps she was whom May had in mind.

This makes me feel horribly sick. Although Borwick and her colleagues are primarily concerned with pieces from the pre-1947 era, the fact these items remain in circulation arguably has a knock-on effect on how hunting is perceived. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes for its ivory, with more being shot for fun by big-game hunters – what is to stop a dishonest dealer passing off new spoils as old?

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Zimbabwe: Ivory Case Hits Snag At Constitutional Court

[The Herald] Two Harare women accused of unlawful possession of 25,9 kilogrammes of raw ivory valued at $6 475 have had their case seeking to compel the prosecution to reveal the informant struck off the Constitutional Court’s roll.

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Zimbabwe: Exported Baby Elephants Distraught

[Zimbabwe Standard] Last year, more than 30 baby elephants were taken out of their natural habitats and with the blessings from the government and the Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife Authority (ZimParks), were flown to China. They were then dispatched to various zoos throughout the Asian country and their lives were never the same again.

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South Africa: SA Hunter ‘Trampled to Death By Elephants in Zimbabwe’ – Report

[News24Wire] Zimbabwe’s national wildlife authority has confirmed the death of a South African hunter killed by elephants near Hwange in the west of the country this weekend, it was reported on Sunday.

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South Africa: Rhino Owners Cry Foul After Poaching Gang Suspects Get Bail

[News24Wire] South Africa’s rhino security community has expressed outrage after a Grahamstown High Court judge granted bail to three of the country’s most notorious rhino poaching suspects, the Ndlovu Gang, effectively releasing them from police custody. This despite strong arguments from the State that the trio posed an immediate flight risk and a continued threat to rhino.A month after hearing the group’s second bid for bail, in April, Judge JE Smith this week granted R15 000 bail each to Zimbabwean nationals Forget

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Live Q&A: What impact is human development having on the world’s elephant populations?

The conflict between humans and elephants for space and resources is driving the rapid decline of elephant populations. Join us on Wednesday 24 May from 1-2.30pm BST to discuss how elephants and humans can live together

This week an elderly man was killed by a wild elephant in central India as he picked tendu leaves in the Surajpur forest. A few days earlier, a father and his son were injured after two elephants wandered into their house in Tamil Nadu. As human populations grow and communities live in closer proximity to elephants, one of the world’s most unique and beautiful animals can become the most dangerous.

But human development is also contributing to the severe decline in elephant populations. Across Asia and Africa, elephants’ natural habitats are being destroyed by rapid urbanisation and industrial and agricultural expansion.

Related: Can elephants and humans live together?

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Zimbabwe: Safari Players Await U.S. Decision On Ivory Ban

[Zimbabwe Independent] THE Safari Operators’ Association of Zimbabwe (Soaz) is awaiting a decision by the United States over an ivory ban which has crippled its operations and severely reduced its revenue base, businessdigest has learnt.

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