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forest elephants

China bans ivory imports – what will happen next month?

There was no big announcement and the source was a small article in the state run Legal Evening News but China has just made a major policy decision for elephants. The country has  – from immediate effect – banned the import of ivory and elephant tusks for 12 months. Is this just a short term measure or can we read into it some indication as to the stance of the central Chinese government next month when they meet to decide on whether to ban the domestic ivory trade. The announcement of the ban was made by the State Forestry Administration. The ban will mean that the government will immediately stop […]


landsat data

Deforestation rate soars 62% since 1990’s

A new satellite based study has shown that deforestation rates have soared by 62% since the 1990’s. During the 2000-2010 period 6.5 million hectares of primary forest was lost each year. An area equivalent to Norway being cleared every 5 years. The new study overturns claims by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) who said deforestation rates were falling. The FAO’s Forest Resource Assessment was produced using collections of separately submitted reports from dozens of countries. The new survey, set to be publicised in Geophysical Research Letters, is based on actual data from images produced by Landsat. The images record the actual changes to land use over the 20 year period […]


India deploys undercover commandos to combat wildlife trade

India has deployed plain-clothes commandoes along the Uttarakhand and Nepalese border to improve security against smugglers and wildlife traders. The news was made public today by SSB Additional Director General Somesh Goyal. he also confirmed that operations have already started. Goyal explained that teams of specially trained plain-clothes commandoes were patrolling the border in order to work better with local communities and to be more effective at intercepting smugglers. He said, “The force wants to get maximum cooperation from locals residing near these transit and trade routes to keep a tab on smugglers and wildlife traders.” Operations are being undertaken along all 22 trade routes between India and Nepal.  Patrol […]

amur leopard wwf-russia ISUNR

Amur leopard population doubles

With barely a couple of dozen animals in the wild during 2007 the amur leopard was close to extinction. It still is but at least the numbers are heading up. From an estimated 26-30 adults in 2007 numbers in the last census show that at least 57 of the big cats now live in it’s main stronghold with possibly another dozen living in China. The 2014 census of Russia’s Land of the Leopard National Park used extensive camera trapping over 900,000 acres. it was carried out by park authorities and researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences with the support of The Amur Leopard Center and WWF-Russia. The camera footage and […]


Are synthetic wildlife products the way forward?

Is killing the demand for wildlife products such as rhino horn, elephant ivory and tiger parts the best way to protect our most precious wildlife or is growing the parts in a lab the way forward? A small start-up bio-engineering company called Pembient thing growing rhino horn, ivory and other wildlife products in the lab is the way to end poaching. Marketing themselves as ‘the De Beers of Synthetic Wildlife Products’ the company thinks it can produce the wildlife products at such a low cost that it makes no economic sense for poaching. The company has already been to Vietnam to test their lab produced ‘rhino horn’ powder. Despite their […]


Forensic DNA tests show majority of Thai ivory on sale comes from African elephants

Ivory traffickers be warned: the Thai authorities have a powerful forensic tool in the country’s drive to detect ivory of illegal origin entering its markets and ensure domestic traders are complying with new laws. A collaborative project between Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has trialed forensic DNA examination of ivory products to assess the origin of elephant ivory products commonly available in local markets. One hundred and sixty items of small ivory products legally acquired by TRAFFIC researchers primarily from retail outlets in Bangkok were subjected to DNA analysis at the DNP’s Wildlife Forensics Crime Unit (WIFOS Laboratory). […]

leopard - ingwe

Name a camera trap programme launched

We, the INGWE Leopard Research team, have recently launched our campaign, named “Your Own Camera In Africa” on the popular crowd funding site Kickstarter. With the aim of expanding our network of camera traps out in South Africa, our intention is to increase data collection that will help protect African wildlife, with a particular focus on the African leopard. Our unique method of using motion-sensor cameras to analyze leopard populations, territories and behaviors will help us towards their protection as unfortunately there are still permits available that endorse the hunting of these majestic big cats despite there being an obvious and worrying lack of data surrounding population numbers. The […]


Flawed model questions reliability of wildlife surveys

A flaw in a commonly used wildlife survey and census method could undermine the accuracy of those surveys. The accuracy of estimated populations of endangered species such as tigers is now under question. A team of statistical mathematicians discovered the flaw and explained how results using ‘index-calibration’ are unreliable. The flaw impacts on major species surveys such as the recent India National Tiger Survey which claimed an increase of 30% in the country’s tiger population. The  team of scientists from the University of Oxford, Indian Statistical Institute, and Wildlife Conservation Society exposes the short-comings of ‘index-calibration’ and while they are not suggesting that tiger numbers are not increasing in India […]

Erik Mararv and Ambassador Guan Jian, Congo

New road set to boost anti-poaching activities

The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, has donated US$100 000 to conservation in Odzala-Kokoua National Park which will be used for the construction of a 27 kilometre road to connect the Number 2 Highway with the new Odzala-Kokoua National Park eastern sector base, extending on to the Mambili River. This ground-breaking Chinese initiative is the first collaboration of its kind with Odzala-Kokoua National Park, and in the Congo, and has been welcomed by the Republic of Congo Minister of Forest Economy and Sustainable Development, Henri Djombo, the European Union Ambassador to Congo, Saskia De Lang, and Odzala’s park manager, Erik Mararv. The new […]

Sunda Pangolin

Rescued pangolins sold to restaurants

When police from the northern province of Vietnam intercepted poachers and rescued 42 pangolins it might be safe to assume that eventually those pangolins would be released back into the wild. However once the pangolins were handed over to forest officials the officials decided to sell them to local restaurants. Conservationists from Education for Nature-Vietnam have been angered by the decision of the forestry department and accuse the officials of effectively supporting the trade in endangered animals. Even if, as claimed by officials, the pangolins were in such a poor condition they would likely die, selling them to restaurants should not have been contemplated. Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, deputy director […]

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Ivory poaching hurting elephant population

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Can lab grown wildlife products reduce poaching?

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