The 96 Elephants campaign has asked the television program, Antiques Roadshow, to stop airing appraisals of ivory, even if it is antique. To help convince the PBS program, the campaign—run by the Wildlife Conservation Society along with dozens of partners—produced a satiric video capturing not the worth of ivory, but its cost (see below).
“Allowing any carved tusks or worked ivory—antique or not—into the marketplace furthers the existing loophole for illegal ivory and renders law enforcement ineffective. It sends a message to China and other consumer countries that it’s okay to sell raw and worked ivory, including ‘old’ stockpiles—further fueling the elephant poaching crisis. Our message to the public is simple: your family heirloom had its own family—don’t let elephants disappear,” John Calvelli, director of the campaign and WCS’s Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Director.
The WCS campaign is named after the estimated daily death toll of elephants for their ivory, which amounts to over 35,000 a year. Forest elephants, which scientists say is a distinct species, have been hit the hardest: a recent survey found that 65 percent of the world’s forest elephants were slaughtered for their tusks in the last 12 years.
(04/02/2014) At a time when Africa’s elephants are facing a relentless poaching crisis, one community has managed to safeguard their elephants in the most unlikely of places: Mali. In a country that has suffered from widespread poverty, environmental degradation, and, most recently, warfare, a collaboration between conservationists and the local community has kept Mali’s elephants from extinction.
(02/12/2014) Forest elephants have suffered unprecedented butchery for their ivory tusks over the past decade, according to new numbers released by conservationists today in London. Sixty-five percent of the world’s forest elephants have been slaughtered by poachers over the last dozen years, with poachers killing an astounding nine percent of the population annually. Lesser-known than their savannah cousins, a genetics study in 2010 found that forest elephants are in fact a distinct species, as far removed from savannah elephants as Asian elephants are from mammoths. These findings make the forest elephant crisis even more urgent.
(01/24/2014) The government of Hong Kong will destroy 28 tons of ivory confiscated from traffickers, reports CNN. The announcement, which comes just weeks after China destroyed six tons of seized ivory, suggests that the leaders of the world’s largest market for ivory may be getting more serious about addressing a global poaching boom, say conservationists.
(01/06/2014) China authorities destroyed 6.1 tons of illegal ivory during a public event held in Guangzhou on Monday.
(12/20/2013) A newspaper story about the impact of the ivory trade has gone viral in China, raising awareness among millions of Chinese, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). The story, published November 15 in Southern Weekly, has been shared widely across Chinese web sites and social media.
(12/19/2013) Biologists in Sri Lanka have published the first documented evidence of dwarfism in an adult wild animal. A male Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) measuring just over 1.5 meters (five feet) in height was seen in an aggressive encounter with another male of average size. The elephant’s small stature was due to disproportionately short legs, according to the findings published in the IUCN/SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group journal Gajah.
“The ‘dwarf’ was by far the main aggressor in the altercation and appeared to be older than the other, a young adult,” states the study. “Other than for the disproportionately short legs, morphologically and behaviorally the dwarf appeared normal.”
(12/04/2013) Beginning next year, light planes and helicopters will undertake the first ever continent-wide aerial survey of Africa’s vanishing elephant populations. The hugely ambitious initiative, which will count elephant herds in 13 countries, is being funded by Microsoft founder, Paul Allen, through his Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
(12/02/2013) As the African Elephant Summit open in Botswana today, conservationists released a new estimate of the number of African elephants lost to the guns of poachers last year: 22,000. Some 15,000 elephants killed in 42 sites across 27 countries on the continent, according to newly released data from the CITES program, Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE). But conservationists estimate another 7,000 went unreported. The number killed is a slight decrease over 2011 numbers of 25,000.
(12/01/2013) Raids in southern and eastern Africa yielded a stash of contraband linked to illegal poaching and logging, reports Interpol, which coordinated the operations.
(11/20/2013) A sensor used by researchers to capture low-frequency communication between elephants inadvertently recorded the audio of an elephant being gunned down by a poacher in Gabon, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society, which used the sound byte in a video highlighting the carnage of the ivory trade.