China's domestic ivory trade ban, which comes into force this year, is a major cause for optimism, writes Aron White. There are still loopholes, such as a partial exemption for 'cultural relics', that need clarifying and closing. Yet the new law sends a strong and timely signal that the global ivory market is progressively shutting up shop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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endangered species taking place in South Africa this weekend, Chris Newman & Zhaomin Zhou highlight China's problem of out-of-date species names in its national laws.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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
We all know about the risk to elephants and rhinos from the illegal wildlife trade, but now the helmeted hornbills of Borneo and Sumatra are at risk as online traders find ready buyers for their carved beaks in China.
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?
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.
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.
Internet retail giant Rakuten has announced it is terminating sales of whale products through its Japanese marketplace Rakuten Ichiba and has given merchants 30 days to remove them. But thousands of ivory products are still for sale.
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.
Prohibition - of alcohol, drugs and prostitution - has not worked. So, Paul Jepson asks, why did the London Conference insist it's the answer to saving rhinos, elephants and other endangered species targetted by the global trade in wildlife products?