African forest elephants may ​face extinction sooner than thought

GR.–It’s difficult to think of a response to this.  Apparently humanities love of ivory is stronger than its love of elephants.

Oliver Milman, Guardian:  New study finds poaching has helped shrink population by 60% since 2002 – and eventually may be responsible for eradicating one of the largest creatures left.

African forest elephants: research indicates their rate of population growth is about three times slower than their savannah cousins.

Photograph: Cristián Samper/WCS

Forest-dwelling elephants are likely to face extinction far more quickly than previously assumed because their sluggish reproduction rate cannot keep pace with rampant poaching and habitat loss, a new study has found.

The first comprehensive research into forest elephant demographics found that even if poaching was curbed, it will take nearly 100 years for the species just to recover the losses suffered in the past decade. The forest elephant population has crashed by more than 60% since 2002, with the species now inhabiting less than a quarter of its potential range of the Congo basin in Africa.  Source: African forest elephants may face extinction sooner than thought: study

Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers

GR.– The green body of these Macaws remind of Poirot, the mischievous little parrot in my children’s stories.  In one story, Poirot comes close to becoming a victim of the pet trade.

Juan Carlos Cantu.– “For the third year in a row, this nest monitoring project prevented poaching of endangered military macaws.

“At one time, you could see the striking plumage of the military macaw up and down the length of Mexico. But over decades, as we lost swaths of forest habitat and saw poaching for the illegal pet trade become more aggressive, these birds began to disappear from the wild. Today, only a few thousand remain in Mexico, in small, fragmented areas isolated from one another. And the threats that put this species in danger still continue.

“Military macaws are one of the most sought-after parrot species in all of Mexico for the illegal pet trade. While poachers will take macaws of any age, nestlings are the most vulnerable. And the methods they use to reach these young parrots are devastating in more ways than one.

“Military macaws nest in cavities high up in trees. To reach a nest, poachers will often cut down the entire tree – a practice that puts the nestlings in danger, and destroys healthy nesting habitat for the species. So three years ago, we joined forces with a team of scientists in Puerto Vallarta to start a nest monitoring program. With a watchful eye on a specific group of nests, the scientists could collect important data about these birds in the wild. And if poachers knew the nests were monitored, they would be less likely to strike.

“This year, I’m happy to say that we closed out the third successful season of the project in a row! MS Carlos Bonilla and his team of researchers were able to monitor 22 nests this season, 14 of which had successful parents rearing chicks until they fledged the nest. Not one of these nests was poached by traffickers. The end result: 15 fledgling macaws safely left their nests with their parents.”  Continue reading: Project Protects Military Macaw Nests from Poachers



U.S. Pet Trade Imports 6 Million Tropical Fish Captured Using Cyanide Each Year

GR.–Despite efforts by many conservation organizations, animal trafficking continues to push species toward extinction.

 ‘Finding Dory’ Expected to Fuel Consumer Demand for Royal Blue Tangs, Other Wild-caught Fish

OAKLAND, Calif.— “A new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity and For the Fishes finds that 6 million fish tropical marine fish imported into the United States each year for the pet trade have been exposed to cyanide poisoning.

“The findings come ahead of the release of Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory, which is likely to fuel a rapid increase in the sale of tropical reef fish, including royal blue tangs like Dory. The groups’ new report, Poisoned Waters, examines the destructive practice of cyanide poisoning in places like the Philippines and Indonesia that supply the tropical aquarium-fish market in the United States.

“Finding Dory is almost certainly going to trigger a consumer drive to buy tropical fish like the ones seen in the movie. Sadly this business has a dark and dangerous side that ruins coral reefs and devastates tropical fish populations,” said Nicholas Whipps with the Center.

“To catch fish with cyanide, crushed cyanide tablets are placed in squirt bottles filled with seawater. The dissolved cyanide is then sprayed directly onto the reefs near the targeted fish to stun the fish and make it easier to scoop them up. In some cases 55-gallon drums of cyanide have been dumped overboard to capture fish.”  Continue reading:  Analysis: U.S. Pet Trade Imports 6 Million Tropical Fish Exposed to Cyanide Poisoning Each Year


Map exposes the scale and nature of rhino horn trade – EIA International

Rhino mother and young:  photo (c) EIA

Environmental Investigation Agency.–“EIA has produced an interactive map of the illegal trade in rhino horn, the latest in a series of visualisations of illegal wildlife trade.

“Poaching is the main threat to the survival of rhinos today, driven by demand for their horns. The plight of rhinos in Africa hangs in the balance as poaching has escalated hugely over the past decade – poaching in South Africa increased by over 9,000 per cent in just seven years, from 13 rhinos in 2007 to 1,215 in 2014.

“Demand for rhino horn comes primarily from Vietnam and China, where it is ground up for use as a hangover cure, party drug or in traditional medicine (despite having no medicinal value), used as a material for carving cups and trinkets or is displayed whole as a status symbol.  Continue reading: Map exposes the scale and nature of rhino horn trade – EIA International


#WildforLife – Backed by Stars, UN Campaign Seeks to Mobilize Millions to End Illegal Trade in Wildlife

GR.–Publicity campaigns work best when we design them to appeal to the correct audience.  Is the typical customer for poached animals and their body parts likely to respond to celebrity messages?  It seems unlikely that the poachers will.  Nevertheless, celebrities will draw attention to the issue, and though they might not evoke a response among the customers, they might create public attitudes that can indirectly influence customers.  And for the public, knowing a problem exists is a great step toward solution.

Ban Ki-moon, Gisele Bündchen, Yaya Touré and Ian Somerhalder among those aiming to spur action to protect endangered species

UN, Nairobi, Wednesday, 25 May 2016.–“The United Nations, backed by A-list celebrities from across the globe, today launched an unprecedented campaign against the illegal trade in wildlife, which is pushing species to the brink of extinction, robbing countries of their natural heritage and profiting international criminal networks.

“Each year, thousands of wild animals are illegally killed, often by organized criminal networks motivated by profit and greed,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “I call on all Governments and people everywhere to support the new United Nations campaign, Wild for Life, which aims to mobilize the world to end this destructive trade. Preserving wildlife is crucial for the well-being of people and planet alike.”

“#WildforLife, launched today at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) in Nairobi in front of environment ministers from every corner of the planet, aims to mobilize millions of people to make commitments and take action to end the illegal trade.”  Continue reading:  Backed by Stars, Unprecedented UN Campaign Seeks to Mobilize Millions to End Illegal Trade in Wildlife


Legal ivory sale drove dramatic increase in elephant poaching, study shows | Environment | The Guardian

Damian Carrington, Monday 13 June 2016:  Research shows the legal sale in 2008 catastrophically backfired – but two African nations want to repeat the stockpile sell-off.

A huge legal sale of ivory intended to cut elephant poaching instead catastrophically backfired by dramatically increasing elephant deaths, according to new research.

The revelation comes just months before a decision on whether to permit another legal sale and against a backdrop of more African elephants being killed for ivory than are being born. In 2015 alone, 20,000 elephants were illegally killed.

The international trade in ivory was banned in 1989 but, in 2008, China and Japan were allowed to pay $15m for 107 tonnes of ivory stockpiled from elephants that died naturally in four African nations. The intention was to flood the market, crash prices and make poaching less profitable.

But instead, the legal sale was followed by “an abrupt, significant, permanent, robust and geographically widespread increase” in elephant poaching, concluded researchers Prof Solomon Hsiang at the University of California Berkeley and Nitin Sekar at Princeton University, whose work was published on Monday.  Continue Reading: Legal ivory sale drove dramatic increase in elephant poaching, study shows | Environment | The Guardian


T-shirt Time! | Fight for Rhinos

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Source: T-shirt Time! | Fight for Rhinos



Wildlife Weekly Wrap-up – Defenders of Wildlife Blog

Weekly Wildlife Wrap-up Stories

Cracking Down on Ivory

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized new regulations to help protect elephants from the demands of the ivory trade. Previous rules had loopholes that allowed those selling illegal ivory attempt to pass it off as legal. But with the new regulations comes a near-total ban on the commercial trade of ivory in the U.S., putting an end to the trade of products that had served as a cover for illegal ivory. More than 300,000 African elephants are killed for their ivory tusks each year, pushing the species closer to the brink of extinction.

Learn about the new ivory regulations

Back in the Wild Again . . . .

A Bear Doesn’t Care . . . .

Protect the Pallid! . . . .

Source: Wildlife Weekly Wrap-up – Defenders of Wildlife Blog


What Do Elephants and Cocaine Have in Common? – Scientific American Blog Network

Wildlife products and drugs both fuel massive levels of international crime, according to a new United Nations report.

A massive new report published this week by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) proves what conservationists have been saying for years: smuggling of wildlife products is huge business.

The report—compiled from records of 164,000 seizures related to wildlife crime in 120 countries—details the illegal trade in flora and fauna used to create furniture, fashion items, cosmetics, food and medicine, and jewelry, as well as the rampant smuggling of live animals for the pet trade and entertainment venues.

Source: What Do Elephants and Cocaine Have in Common? – Scientific American Blog Network

Is the lion the new rhino?

Is poaching coming to the domain of the lion? This is the third of these brutal incidents in less than a week.

Source: Is the lion the new rhino?