wildlife trade

Endangered by the illegal trade in rhino horn, much of which is exported to China in a trade largely operated by Chinese citizens: White Rhino at Okaukuejo, Oshikoto, Namibia. Photo: Paolo Lucciola via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

China must take responsibility for its citizens' wildlife crimes in Africa

Namibian Chamber of Environment
| 6th January 2017
Chinese citizens are responsible for much of the wildlife crime taking place in Namibia, inflicting immense damage to the country's environment, and undermining community based conservation, writes the Namibian Chamber of Environment in this Open Letter to China's Ambassador Xin Shunkang. China must act to stop its citizens' criminal activities, and invest in making good the damage caused.

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How's it worth more? Alive or dead? African bush elephant. Photo: Arno Meintjes via Fliuckr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Saving the elephant: don't forget local communities!

Ross Harvey
Alexander Rhodes
| 10th October 2016
With 27,000 African savannah elephants a year illegally killed for their ivory, the species is in peril, write Ross Harvey & Alexander Rhodes. Now international action at CITES and the closure of domestic ivory markets are attacking the ivory trade at both ends. But we must also give our full support to 'elephant neighbor' communities.

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Protestors march on the UK Prime Minister's Downing Street residence to demand a complete ban, in the UK and worldwide, on the trade in antique ivory. Photo: Paul Nicholls Photography.

Elephants: ten years left, and counting ...

Anneka Svenska
| 27th September 2016
Poaching of elephants and rhinos for their ivory tusks and horn is fast pushing these beautiful animals to extinction, writes Anneka Svenska. Decisive action is needed at the 17th CITES congress in South Africa to ban all international trade in these products, matched by equally strict laws at a national level.

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Could a legal, regulated trade in rhino horn help save these wonderful animals by paying for their conservation and taking the profit out of poaching? Photo: rhino on the Eastern Cape, South Africa, by Colin via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our rhinos, we need a legal horn trade

Keith Somerville
University of Kent
| 22nd September 2016
The trade ban on rhino horn is not working, writes Keith Somerville. But non-lethally and sustainably harvested rhino horn can earn income to encourage breeders, pay rangers and anti-poaching teams, provide surveillance and supply wider benefits that will gain the support of people around parks, reserves and ranches.

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Malayan pangolins (M. javanica) are protected in the spirit of China's wildlife laws - but not in their letters. Photo: Zhaomin Zhou, Author provided.

What's in a name? To control China's wildlife trade, law must keep up with science

Chris Newman
Zhaomin Zhou
| 20th September 2016
With the conference of the CITES convention limiting international trade in endangered species taking place in South Africa this weekend, Chris Newman & Zhaomin Zhou highlight China's problem of out-of-date species names in its national laws. If they are not updated, it's only a matter of time before illegal wildlife traders escape conviction under under this legal loophole.

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This Baka boy, and his community, hunt only for their own subsistence. But they are criminalised by the 'fortress conservation' promoted by 'Last Days of Ivory'. Photo: Seclen Kucukustel / Atlas.

'Last Days of Ivory' promotes a military conservation that is fatal for tribal peoples

Lewis Evans
| 17th November 2015
The massacre of elephants for Asian ivory trade is driving the iconic African giant to extinction, writes Lewis Evans. But the 'military response' is both brutal and ineffective, all the more so as it excludes and alienates the indigenous communities who are the best defenders of nature and wildlife. The simplistic message of 'Last Days of Ivory' is both damaging and dangerous.

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Parrots born and raised without natural parents. Photo: iStock.

Captive breeding - saving wildlife? Or saving the pet trade?

Clifford Warwick
| 2nd September 2015
The international pet trade presents itself as responsible and conservation-aware, writes Clifford Warwick - and a key part of the message is the idea that its animals are captive bred. But the truth is very different. Quite apart from the routine cruelty and high mortality, the trade continues to depend on captive wild animals and contributes only negatively to wildlife survival.

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It may not be to your taste, but the trade in mammoth tusk carvings, like this one on show at the Treasure Island Hotel, Las Vegas, is depressing the price of elephant ivory and helping to preserve the species. Photo: Cheryl Q via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To save our elephants, don't ban mammoth ivory - encourage it!

Douglas MacMillan
| 27th August 2015
There is widely held belief that there' only one way to protect rhinos, elephants and other endangered species poached for the international wildlife trade, writes Douglas MacMillan: a complete trade ban. But it's a dangerous misconception. By raising prices and engaging criminal networks, bans speed up extinction rather than preventing it.

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If it's such a good idea to burn real rhino horn, how is making synthetic horn going to help? Rhino horn ready for incineration, 21st September 2014 at Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic. Photo: IFAW via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Can 'genetically-identical' synthetic horn save the rhino?

Diogo Veríssimo
| 6th July 2015
Soon a artificial rhino horn may be on the market that's identical to the real thing down to its DNA, writes Diogo Veríssimo. A boon for rhinoceros conservation? Or an act of biopiracy that will enrich biotech corporations while perpetuating demand for rhino horn and confounding efforts to end its trade?

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Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser
| 25th June 2015
Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings.

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Almost one in every two of Tanzania's elephants has been lost in the last five years - but the government is more concerned to conceal the truth, than to tackle the crisis, Photo: Sakke Wiik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tanzania in denial over 60% elephant population crash

The Ecologist
| 4th June 2015
After six months of denial Tanzania has finally admitted that its elephants have suffered a catastrophic 60% decline in five years. But they still refuse to accept it's caused by poaching for ivory, rampant corruption and 'above the law' smuggling networks.

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Different types of UAVs work in various challenging situations. Photo: Thomas Snitch (CC BY-NC-ND).

Satellites, mathematics and drones take down Africa's poachers

Thomas Snitch
| 3rd February 2015
Using new technologies to take on poaching in Africa is reaping big dividends, writes Thomas Snitch. Where drones are deployed as part of an integrated package of measures, poachers quickly give up. The trouble is, they move to other unprotected locations. So we must extend the program to all of Africa's most at-risk areas.

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Photo: Olivier Girard for Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Kathryn Bigelow and the bogus link between ivory and terrorism

Diogo Veríssimo
| 19th January 2015
Claims that the ivory trade is financing terrorism in Africa are all based on a single unreliable source, writes Diogo Veríssimo, yet the real link between terror groups and the illegal charcoal trade barely gets a mention. Is the 'reality gap' caused by the 'Like, share, donate' cycle that drives social media and fund-raising?

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Over 50% of an iguana shipment found dead. Photo: PETA.

The exotic pet trade is a global evil that must be stopped

Clifford Warwick
| 10th November 2014
Behind the relatively sanitized faç;ade of the exotic pet industry resides a vast chronicle of species decline, ecological disruption, animal suffering, mortality, and the global dissemination of pathogens, writes Clifford Warwick. We are in the midst of a profit-fueled frivolous wildlife biocide, as animal traders strive to bring the next curiosity fish, turtle or primate into our homes.

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Tiger skin being processed at Xia Feng. Photo: © EIA.

China's lethal wildlife trade loophole

Vicky Lee
| 21st May 2014
A little-known licensing scheme allows over 100 Chinese companies to trade in wildlife products like tiger skins, ivory, bear bile and musk deer glands. Vicky Lee shows how the system provides cover for the lucrative illegal wildlife trade to reach wealthy buyers.

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Disturbing evidence of an 8x10-foot section of 'poached' burl-wood. Photo: US National Park Service.

Redwood thieves force California forest curfew

Oliver Tickell
| 6th March 2014
Thieves are stealing valuable growths of bud tissue from the trunks of Coast redwood trees in California, putting their long term survival at risk. Park authorities have responded by closing a road used by the thieves at night.

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