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Elephant poaching drops in Africa but populations continue to fall

New report also reveals rise in large-scale illegal ivory shipments which could be due to panic sell-off by traffickers as countries implement domestic bansElephant poaching in Africa has declined for the fifth year in a row, experts have said. But ele...

World’s deepest lake crippled by putrid algae, poaching and pollution

Lake Baikal in Siberia holds one fifth of the world’s unfrozen fresh water, but its precious fish stocks are disappearing

Lake Baikal is undergoing its gravest crisis in recent history, experts say, as the government bans the catching of a signature fish that has lived in the world’s deepest lake for centuries but is now under threat.

Holding one-fifth of the world’s unfrozen fresh water, Baikal in Russia’s Siberia is a natural wonder of “exceptional value to evolutionary science” meriting its listing as a world heritage site by Unesco.

Related: 'Parched' Chinese city plans to pump water from Russian lake via 1,000km pipeline

There used to be underwater forests of sponges 15 years ago, now they are all dead

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Replenish the swamp: Turkey returns 7,500 trafficked frogs to the wild

Five poachers arrested after police discover huge operation to sell frogs on to France and China

Turkey’s gendarmerie has released 7,500 frogs into the wild after capturing five poachers involved in one of the largest frog trafficking operations in the country.

The country’s state news agency said the men were detained when their minibus was examined during a routine check as they travelled through the touristy region of Cappadoccia. Officers found dozens of nets with thousands of frogs inside. The men were allegedly destined for Adana, where they intended to sell them to an exporter.

The export of edible frogs is a lucrative trade, with large markets in France and China where the amphibians are a delicacy. Turkey issues licenses for frog hunters, but it is only permitted in certain seasons and some frog species cannot be legally traded.

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Elephants mourn. Dogs love. Why do we deny the feelings of other species?

Scientists are discovering more and more about the internal lives of animals. But what does this mean for the way humans behave? Last week footage of five young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe to sell to zoos travelled round the world. Parks offic...

Fatal extraction: how demand for hippos’ teeth is threatening them with extinction

The black market’s insatiable demand for ivory has turned poachers’ attention away from well-protected elephants to more vulnerable hippos

It seems almost incomprehensible that the desire for an ivory ornament or piece of jewellery justifies the slaughter of a majestic elephant, but as their populations continue to crash, the ever-hungry black market has become creative in order to satisfy its greed. Now, ivory hunters are setting their sights on everything from arctic narwhals to fossil mammoths. But one unexpected victim of this barbaric practice is the humble hippopotamus. A new study says that a rise in demand for hippos’ teeth is threatening the mammal with extinction.

In many ways, it takes a lot of effort to kill an elephant. They are legally well protected in most countries where they range and international regulations are clear. Also, smuggling large tusks internationally is highly conspicuous. Hippos offer a cheaper and, in many ways, “easier” ivory option. The simple truth is that they are not high on the priority list of the international conservation community. Find a group of wild-living African elephants and, often, they will either be tracked with radio collars or will be the focus of long-term conservation research, intensive ecotourism or determined law-enforcement efforts. Not so with hippos. Unlike their famous savannah cousins, they don’t come with a protective human entourage, meaning poachers can take their time. Additionally, they are not protected especially well at either a national or international level.

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It’s chic to save the elephant, but what about the world? | Lucy Siegle

This poshest of enviro-crusades fails to question why animals are facing extinction

When Michael Gove teased the announcement of an environmental victory on the Today programme last week, I wondered if he had solved climate change.

But no… of course it was elephants. A partial ban on the UK’s domestic ivory trade, missing since the manifesto, was back on the table, he revealed. Gove tipped his hat to former environment secretary and major landowner Owen Paterson for championing the elephant. (Paterson’s greatest hits include an attempt to scrap the UK’s Climate Change Act.)

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Rescue of the olive ridley sea turtle

Of the millions of eggs laid by the endangered olive ridley sea turtles on one Costa Rican beach, few survive both predators and poachers. But how could allowing local villagers to harvest the eggs be a solution?

Dawn on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast and the dark figure of a man at the water’s edge gradually becomes distinct under a pinkening sky. I switch off my torch. Jairo Quiros Rosales and I are the only people to be seen on this broad black beach, the volcanic sands of which stretch north for several miles. Jairo is beckoning, so I hurry down to him, scanning the beach and murky shoreline. As the light grows, I make out the funereal vultures flecking the distance, and assorted mutts appear from the gloom to sniff the night from the sands.

And then I see them: about 100 metres further up the beach, like strange, regularly humped stones, hundreds of olive ridley sea turtles are making their way from the ocean on to the beach to lay their eggs. This is the arribada. It means “the arrival” in Spanish, and I have been waiting more than a month to see it.

Her shell heaves with obvious effort and her eyes stare unresponsively as she enters a trance-like state

The poachers have turned violent, threatening and attacking, even killing the environmentalists

All around me, local men and women are dancing a tarantella on the sand, stamping gently in bare feet to find nests

Related: The pioneering vets who save rhinos left for dead by poachers – in pictures

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Marchers across the world demand justic for wildlife

Paula Kahumbu: The Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions brings people in cities across the world together to demand action to save threatened wildlife from extinction

Today, 7 October 2017, thousands of people are gathering in more than 100 cities all over the world to show solidarity with wildlife in the Global March for Elephants, Rhinos and Lions. This year’s theme ‘Justice for All’ draws attention to the dire threat to these species as a result of international wildlife crime.

In my home city Nairobi, the planning for this march has involved tens of organizations, including NGOs, local and national government agencies, universities, schools, companies, diplomatic embassies and local communities. More than 100 young volunteers have helped with preparations and will be present on the day to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Some great strides have been made to save elephants. There is a global momentum against illegal trafficking in wild animal products, as evidenced by China’s ban on trade in ivory products and the recent decision by Japanese online retailer Rakuten to join the list of others who no longer allow the sale of animal trophies on their platforms. These moves raise hopes that the life expectancy of elephants and other endangered species in the wildlands will go up in the coming years.

If we don’t make wildlife relevant for Africans, and African economies, we will lose the space that wildlife needs and I fear that our animals will become homeless. We are losing habitats at an alarming rate. In the period between 2010 and 2015, Africa lost an estimated 2.8 million hectares of forest per year.

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Wayne Lotter obituary

Conservationist who took on the ivory poachers to protect the African elephant

When he was offered a leading role in the documentary The Ivory Game (2016) by its producer, Leonardo DiCaprio, the conservationist Wayne Lotter modestly gave the credit instead to his wildlife rangers, who led the way in tracking down one of Africa’s most notorious poachers, thought to be responsible for 10,000 elephants’ deaths. Lotter preferred to be in the background, while the spotlight fell on the cause for which he fought: saving the dwindling populations of Africa’s wild elephants, through practical, dogged, on-the-ground tracking of poachers and protection of their prey.

Lotter has been shot dead in Dar es Salaam, aged 51. Although the identity of his killers is not known, the murder may have been connected to one of the criminal groups involved in wildlife killing and ivory trafficking in Tanzania. These groups have turned what used to be small-scale ivory poaching into a highly organised international criminal enterprise that exists mainly to service Chinese demand for ivory and other rare animal products. “The more you go after them, the more situations where there is confrontation between poachers and rangers will take place,” Lotter said last year. “There are going to be risks.”

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UK ivory trade ban to help end ‘shame’ of elephant poaching

Current UK law allows trade in ‘antiques’ carved before 1947 but government bows to campaigners and will ban sale of ivory regardless of age

The UK government has bowed to campaigners and will ban the sale of ivory regardless of age, according to a new consultation.

The UK is the biggest exporter of legal ivory in the world and shutting down the trade will help prevent illegal ivory being laundered by criminals. More than 50 elephants are killed by poachers every day on average and the population of African elephants plunged by a third between 2007-14 alone, leading to warnings that the entire species could go extinct.

Related: Exclusive: footage shows young elephants being captured in Zimbabwe for Chinese zoos

Related: China's ivory ban sparks dramatic drop in prices across Asia

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Why Can’t We Protect Elephants?

They need our help, not an easier way to make their carcasses into trophies.
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For Now, Trump to Keep Ban on Importing Elephant Trophies

The president reversed his own administration’s decision in an evening tweet, prohibiting trophies of killed elephants from being brought into the country.
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Trump Bags Another Anti-Obama Trophy: Dead Elephants

The administration is lifting a ban on importing elephant parts severed as trophies after the animals are shot in Zimbabwe.
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Trump Administration to Lift Ban on ‘Trophy’ Elephant Imports

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it planned to reverse a ban on the imports from Zimbabwe, following its earlier move to allow them from Zambia.
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Lions next in line of fire as US rolls back curbs on African hunting trophies

The Trump administration’s lifting of restrictions on importing elephant body parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia is not the last gift to hunting interests

Hunting interests have scored a major victory with the Trump administration’s decision to allow Americans to bring home body parts of elephants shot for sport in Africa. Another totemic species now looks set to follow suit – lions.

As the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was announcing it was lifting a ban on the import of elephant “trophies” from Zimbabwe and Zambia, it also quietly published new guidelines that showed lions shot in the two African countries will also be eligible to adorn American homes.

Related: Trump sons' hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

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Trump sons’ hunting in focus as US lifts import ban on African elephant trophies

  • Obama administration imposed ban because of conservation concerns
  • Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are enthusiastic big game hunters

The Trump administration’s decision to loosen restrictions around the import of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia has turned attention back to the president’s family’s own connection to the controversial sport.

Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump are prolific big-game hunters and during the 2016 campaign, images re-emerged of the pair on a 2011 hunting trip posing with animals they had killed on safari, including an elephant, a buffalo and a leopard.

The GOP. Here's Donald Trump Jr. holding the tail of an elephant (party symbol) that he killed. #TrumpSacrifices pic.twitter.com/FIGkcH2F0t

What went so wrong with Trump sons that they could kill this beautiful creature pic.twitter.com/L1gquLQrRz

Related: 'There's no sport in that': trophy hunters and the masters of the universe

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US to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe

Campaigners fear move by Trump administration will damage global efforts to end the ivory trade

Donald Trump’s administration plans to allow imports of elephant trophies from Zimbabwe into the US – a move campaigners fear could damage global momentum on ending the ivory trade.

In 2014, US big game hunters killing elephants in Zimbabwe were banned from bringing their trophies home, on the basis that the country had failed to show that it was taking elephant management seriously.

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Animals Strike Curious Poses by Elena Passarello review – brilliant essays on immortal beasts

The meanings of Dürer’s rhino, Mozart’s starling, Darwin’s tortoise and others explored with wild imagination and pyrotechnic prose

Elena Passarello starts this extraordinary book with the image of Yuka, a woolly mammoth chiselled from the softening permafrost by Siberian tusk hunters in 2010. First a rounded hoof comes into view, then a hollowed-out eye and finally the flank still bearing evidence of the gash that must have done for young Yuka – she was no more than 10 years old when she died – nearly 40 millennia ago. Most surprising of all, though, is the burning smoulder of her pelt, which has kept to its unconvincing ginger-red despite the passing centuries. Whoever knew that woolly mammoths shared their hair colour with dime-store dolls?

As Yuka is flopped on to the snowmobile it is not her odd dislocations – most of her spine is gone although her legs remain rigid – that qualify as one of the “curious poses” of the book’s title (taken incidentally from a line in “When Doves Cry” by Prince). It is what happens next, Passarello suggests, that stretches and shrinks Yuka into something truly strange. First she becomes the object of hard financial bargaining as the tusk hunters hide her carcass in a frozen cave and wait for the highest bidder. Then, when the scientists finally get their hands on her, she morphs into the poster child for a “rewilding” initiative that aims to make extinct breeds live again by splicing their ancient DNA into the embryo of their nearest living relatives.

Passarello moves between musicology, biography and the golden throat of a bird brain with virtuosic ease

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The week in wildlife – in pictures

Pintail ducks, an elephant seal pup and an osprey in action are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

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A green tree frog and an erupting volcano: Friday’s best photos

The Guardian’s picture editors bring you a selection of photo highlights, including a baby elephant and Melania Trump on the Great Wall

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Man jailed after rhino horns and elephant tusks are found in attic

Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m

A would-be trader in endangered animal parts has been jailed after rhino horns, elephant tusks and hippo teeth worth up to £2m were discovered by specially trained search dogs in a police raid.

Abbas Allawi, 52, was arrested when officers from the Metropolitan police’s wildlife crime unit searched his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on 19 October last year.

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Man jailed after rhino horns and elephant tusks are found in attic

Abbas Allawi is sentenced to 14 months for trying to sell on Instagram endangered animal parts worth up to £2m

A would-be trader in endangered animal parts has been jailed after rhino horns, elephant tusks and hippo teeth worth up to £2m were discovered by specially trained search dogs in a police raid.

Abbas Allawi, 52, was arrested when officers from the Metropolitan police’s wildlife crime unit searched his home in Gisburne Way, Watford, on 19 October last year.

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