Dear Friend, Ally, Lords of the Earth

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

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

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

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

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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Have-a-go heroes: the women saving elephants in their free time

With one elephant killed every 25 minutes, the poaching crisis continues. But with the commitment and activism of a growing global network – dominated by women – laws and attitudes around the world are changing

If dedication and hard work were all it took, Maria Mossman would have saved every last elephant by now. Despite having two children, aged five and seven, and a part-time job for a large corporation, she also spends 35 to 40 hours a week as an unpaid activist. It was even more time when the children were younger. “I used to come home from work at about 4pm and then sit on my computer, networking with other groups and activists until two o’clock in the morning,” she recalls.

Mossman, 41, got heavily involved in elephant activism in 2013. As well as founding Action for Elephants UK (AFEUK), she’s one of the key organisers of the global elephant and rhino marches. “It’s really hard work,” she says. “Really stressful. Just before the marches you say: ‘We’re not going to do this again.’ And as soon as one is over you start planning the next one.”

Related: Elephants on the path to extinction - the facts

Related: 'If we stopped poaching tomorrow, elephants would still be in big trouble'

The poaching lit a fire in me. The barbarism of the act was so horrifying

Related: Why the Guardian is spending a year reporting on the plight of elephants

Campaigners have also been targeting other materials from endangered species – rhino horn, tortoiseshell and leopard fur

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One ton of elephant ivory to be destroyed in Central Park

Publication Date:  Jul 12 2017 WHAT:      The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will destroy more than one ton of illegal ivory confisca...
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Innovative ivory fingerprinting kit arrives in France

David Cowdrey Jul 10 2017 Two of IFAW’s new ivory fingerprinting printing kits, which were developed in the UK by the Metropolitan ...
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Namibia: U.S.$740 Reward for Reporting Poaching

[Namibian] Anti-poaching organisation 'Help our Rhinos NOW Namibia' (HoRN.NAM) has called on the public in the Kunene region and across the country to report wildlife crimes.
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Uganda: Residents Reject UWA Proposal to Turn Area Into Game Reserve

[Monitor] Agago -Following several years of destruction of crops in Kaket Parish in Lapono Sub-county, Agago District, by elephants straying from Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) officials now want the area be turned into a ...
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Boris Johnson backs ‘all-out ban’ on ivory sales

Foreign secretary confirms government’s pledge, despite absence from manifesto

A total ban on ivory sales in the UK could still be introduced by the British government, foreign secretary Boris Johnson has said, signalling a possible U-turn that has been welcomed by conservationists.

In their 2015 manifesto the Conservatives promised to “press for a total ban on ivory sales”. But the pledge was quietly taken out of this year’s Tory manifesto, sparking anger among conservation organisations, which say that by allowing the trade to continue, the UK is fuelling elephant poaching.

Related: Hong Kong authorities seize 'record' ivory haul

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

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Cameroon: ‘Maalle’ – Wanted for Elephant Poaching!

[Cameroon Tribune] The educative film by Ashu Egbe focuses on societal ills and their impact on the community.
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Elephant calf reunited with wild herd in India

Rupa Gandhi Chaudhary Jul 10 2017 A displaced female elephant calf was rescued near the A displac read more
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South Africa: Two Suspected Rhino Poachers Killed in Shootout

[News24Wire] Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife field rangers shot and killed two suspected rhino poachers after a gunfight at the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game park in the early hours of Sunday morning.
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South Africa: KZN Police Arrest Three Suspected Rhino Poachers

[News24Wire] Three suspected rhino poachers will appear in the Hluhluwe Magistrate's Court on Monday, after being caught by police carrying a high calibre hunting rifle, a silencer, ammunition and an axe.
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South Africa: Serial Rhino Poaching Brothers Back in Court

[News24Wire] Two brothers accused of rhino poaching, Deon and Niklaas van Deventer, and Onward Muchangowa - a Zimbabwean national - are expected back in the Makhado Magistrate's Court on Monday.
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Largest online retailer in Japan bans ivory sales

Tania McCrea-Steele Jul 7 2017 Rakuten, the largest online retailer in Japan, has banned ivory sales on its platform. read more
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