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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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Tanzania’s ghost safari: how western aid contributed to the decline of a wildlife haven

Lions, elephants and hippos have vanished from Kilombero valley after UK and US-funded projects helped turn a once-thriving habitat into farmland, teak, and sugar plantations

The long road from Dar es Salaam brings you through sparsely wooded hills and fields to the narrow northern neck of the Kilombero valley. There’s a bend in the road, then the land opens out, suddenly, in front of you.

Along the west side lie the steep-faced Udzungwa mountains, one of the last pristine rainforests in Tanzania. The Kilombero river runs through the red soils of the valley, flooding in November or December and subsiding by June. Down the longer eastern flank rise the Mahenge mountains, and beyond them, invisible, unfurls the vast territory of the Selous game reserve, one of the largest remaining chunks of African wilderness.

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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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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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A world safe for robots and mammoths | Letters

Woolly mammoths | Transport investment | Baby boomers | Flat cakes | Weetabix

Can it be right to bring back the mammoth (Report, 17 February)? It disappeared at the beginning of this man-made age of extinction. For it to be returned towards its end, with declining populations of elephants and rhinos, is irony itself. It also highlights that technology is now so poorly controlled that the march of scientific ability will continue to outpace its ethics. Is a world of super-intelligent robots and their woolly mammoth pets really the direction to be going in?
Dr Colin Bannon
Crapstone, Devon

• Fun though it might be to see a woolly mammoth in the 21st century, I question the mammoth function in combating global warming. George Church says: “They keep the tundra from thawing by punching through snow and allowing cold air to come in,” and “In the summer they knock down trees and help the grass grow.” Couldn’t a bloke in a JCB do that? And a lot more cheaply, I imagine.
Francis Blake
London

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Elephants in crisis: MPs accuse government and Europe of dragging their feet over ivory ban

‘This is the last chance saloon,’ say politicians and campaigners pushing for urgent action

The UK and EU, the world’s largest exporters of legal ivory, have been accused of not doing enough to save Africa’s fast disappearing elephant populations.

“This is the last chance saloon to save elephants,” said UK Labour MP Justin Madders at a meeting at Westminster Hall on Monday where more than 30 MPs on both sides of the chamber debated a public petition of 107,000 signatories calling for government to close its domestic ivory markets.

Related: Live Q&A: What can we do to help elephants?

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Prince William charity urges UK to back ivory trade ban

Conservationists urge Tories to resist antique dealers’ lobby and make good on manifesto promise

The environment secretary Andrea Leadsom is under increasing pressure to make good on a Tory manifesto commitment to ban the UK ivory trade after China announced it would close down its domestic ivory market.

Conservation organisations, including a charity championed by Prince William, say that by allowing the trade to continue the UK is fuelling the annual slaughter of thousands of rhinos and elephants. A recent study suggested that the UK is now the third-largest supplier of illegal ivory items to the US.

Related: Elephant poaching costing African nations millions in lost tourism revenue

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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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Boris Johnson makes ‘save African elephant’ plea

Foreign secretary, who backs ban on ivory trade, breaks off London speech to make plea for ‘magnificent’ vulnerable animal

Boris Johnson has interrupted a sweeping speech on the UK’s geopolitical future to make a passionate plea to save the African elephant, saying they are on the brink of extinction as they “get turned into umbrella stands and billiard balls”.

In the midst of a speech at Chatham House to ambassadors and foreign policy advisers, the UK foreign secretary said he was “obsessed with the tragic fate of the African elephant”.

Related: Saving Africa's elephants: 'Can you imagine them no longer existing?'

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Boris Johnson makes ‘save African elephant’ plea

Foreign secretary, who backs ban on ivory trade, breaks off London speech to make plea for ‘magnificent’ vulnerable animal

Boris Johnson has interrupted a sweeping speech on the UK’s geopolitical future to make a passionate plea to save the African elephant, saying they are on the brink of extinction as they “get turned into umbrella stands and billiard balls”.

In the midst of a speech at Chatham House to ambassadors and foreign policy advisers, the UK foreign secretary said he was “obsessed with the tragic fate of the African elephant”.

Related: Saving Africa's elephants: 'Can you imagine them no longer existing?'

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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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