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Vancouver aquarium won’t keep whales or dolphins captive after public outcry

Canada aquarium has announced it will end the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity, after pressure from the public

For years the Vancouver aquarium fended off pressure from animal right activists, local government and residents, arguing instead that whales and dolphins were central to its mission. But this week the tourist attraction gave in to public pressure, and announced that it would end the practice of keeping cetaceans in captivity.

“It had become a local hot topic, to the point where it was just hijacking everything else,” said John Nightingale, the aquarium’s president.

Related: The world's coldest elephant?Activists demand Lucy's removal from Canadian zoo

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Thai police arrest notorious wildlife trafficking suspect

Exclusive: Boonchai Bach allegedly ran tusk and horn smuggling route from Africa

Police in Thailand have arrested one of the world’s most notorious wildlife traffickers, allegedly involved in the smuggling thousands of tonnes of elephant tusks and rhino horns from Africa to Asia, the Guardian has learned.

Boonchai Bach, who goes by multiple aliases including Bach Mai Limh, was arrested at his operational base in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Phanom, next to the Mekong River on Thursday.

Related: The crime family at the centre of Asia's animal trafficking network

Related: Revealed: the criminals making millions from illegal wildlife trafficking

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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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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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Pressure grows for UK to bring in blanket ban on ivory trade

Consultation by the government shows huge public support for ending all sales

Environmental campaigners believe that public pressure is finally about to force the environment secretary, Michael Gove, to introduce a blanket ban on the commercial trade in ivory in the UK.

A consultation on what form a proposed ban should take has just closed, and the government says it will give its response soon. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is overseeing the consultation, said there had been “a massive public response to the government’s proposed ban on ivory sales”. More than 60,000 responses were received, half of them coming in the week running up to Christmas, making it one of the biggest consultations in Defra’s history. Of the responses analysed so far, the overwhelming majority support a ban.

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Pressure grows for UK to bring in blanket ban on ivory trade

Consultation by the government shows huge public support for ending all sales

Environmental campaigners believe that public pressure is finally about to force the environment secretary, Michael Gove, to introduce a blanket ban on the commercial trade in ivory in the UK.

A consultation on what form a proposed ban should take has just closed, and the government says it will give its response soon. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is overseeing the consultation, said there had been “a massive public response to the government’s proposed ban on ivory sales”. More than 60,000 responses were received, half of them coming in the week running up to Christmas, making it one of the biggest consultations in Defra’s history. Of the responses analysed so far, the overwhelming majority support a ban.

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Country diary: venerable beech hosts a swarm of microscopic life

Mini-ponds have formed in the surface roots of an ancient tree and provide an environment for minute organisms to thrive

The beech that stands at the end of the stepping stones across Waskerley beck is an elephantine presence, dwarfing surrounding trees. The scarred grey bark of its bole has the colour and texture of pachyderm skin. Its moss-covered surface roots seem to be melting into the earth under the massive burden they support. Over decades they have grown and coalesced, creating hollows between them that retain water, fed by rivulets of rainwater trickling down the trunk.

There is a name for these mini-ponds that form on the surface of plants and are habitats for small aquatic organisms: phytotelmata, which translates from the Greek root as “plant ponds”. The best studied are those contained by leaf bases of urn plants or bromeliads that live on branches in rainforest tree canopies. They are breeding sites for frogs, dragonflies and even land crabs.

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Japan’s inaction on illegal ivory exports threatens Chinese ban, report says

Monitoring network Traffic says smuggling of undocumented ivory into China could undermine enforcement of imminent ban

Japan’s failure to prevent illegal ivory exports could undermine China’s forthcoming ban on its domestic ivory trade, conservation groups have warned.

Inaction by Japan’s government has allowed the smuggling of large quantities of undocumented ivory overseas, mainly to China, according to a report released in Tokyo on Wednesday by the wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic.

Related: Under pressure: the story behind China's ivory ban

Related: Bear bile and snakeskin boots: illegal goods seized at Heathrow – in pictures

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Bear bile and snakeskin boots: illegal goods seized at Heathrow – in pictures

The UK Border Force at Heathrow airport seizes illegal goods including taxidermied endangered species, ivory carvings and herbal medicines. The government agency is a world leader in identifying and preventing the unlawful trade in endangered animals a...

Africa’s new elite force: women gunning for poachers and fighting for a better life

Abused and disadvantaged mothers and daughters are being honed into a squad of sharpshooters to save wildlife in the Zambezi valley

The black metal of the AR-15 rifle has worn silvery and shiny in parts after years of use. More manageable than an AK-47 in close-quarter combat, the weapon is precise enough to bring down an enemy target at 500 metres. Used for decades by anti-poaching units throughout Africa, today this gun is not carried by a typical swaggering male field ranger; this one is cradled securely and proficiently by Vimbai Kumire. “This job is not meant just for men,” she says, “but for everyone who is fit and strong.”

Kumire is a 32-year-old single mother whose husband ran off with a younger woman while she was pregnant with her second child. She is practising setting up an ambush in the early morning in Zimbabwe’s lower Zambezi Valley, nestling deep into the green undergrowth like a dappled shadow.

Related: All female anti-poaching combat unit - in pictures

This is true empowerment... You are dealing with a highly vulnerable and damaged group of women

Damien Mander, and all his rangers, live on a vegan diet

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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.
Read More »

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.
Read More »

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.

Continue reading...
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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.
Read More »

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.

Continue reading...
Read More »

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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