The best news for elephants in a decade: the Chinese government has pledged to shut down the ivory trade within its borders. Once implemented, this will end the single largest driver of the poaching killing of Africa’s elephants. China’s announcement came during a ceremony to destroy more seized ivory, and signals what we hope will be the critical tipping point in the ivory crisis. The day before the news broke, concert pianist Lang Lang released a powerful new 60-second Public Service Announcement. Watch it and feel hope in your heart! Meanwhile, new price data suggests that China’s ivory trade may already be slowing amid the first significant reductions in the country’s licensed ivory factories and shops.
The Tanzanian government has announced staggering declines to her elephant population, describing one area of the country as a ‘slaughterhouse’. Until recently Africa’s second biggest elephant population, new estimates suggest over 65,000 elephants have been lost in the last 5 years. The new figures reveal that the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem has lost 76% of its elephants in the last five years, leaving only an estimated 8,272 remaining. This follows the industrial-scale ivory poaching in Selous, which lost 67% of its population in the four years up to 2014. Having taken the important first step of acknowledging the problem, it now remains to be seen what action will be taken.
Sioux, matriarch of the Native Americans family in Samburu, has been killed, apparently for witchcraft. After tribal clashes in the area her body was found with two younger elephants. Their ivory was untouched but their nipples, genitals and tips of their trunks were gone. Witch Doctors believe these will make a warrior immune to bullets.
A group of young webfolk in the US can’t make a difference for elephants without getting out from behind their screens, right? Wrong. Just four months after launching, startup Ivory Ella is already making a splash by connecting the people to the problem, all via t-shirts. What’s more, their name is shared by a famous elephant family…
With China’s announcement there is a ray of hope for elephants. If global efforts succeed in ending the ivory crisis, the long-term future of the species will be determined by how well elephant corridors are protected while Africa’s infrastructure develops. A new high-speed railway across Tsavo in Kenya is a valuable test case.
You can never start too young to be an elephant saviour, as Christopher Mark Lesamana has showed. Only 12 years old, Christopher has just won an award for rescuing a baby elephant and leading authorities to ivory. Meanwhile our community outreach team have been busy spreading elephant appreciation!
Our Mission: To secure a future for elephants and sustain the beauty and ecological integrity of the places they live, to promote man’s delight in their intelligence and the diversity of their world, and to develop a tolerant relationship between the two species.
ATCNews : Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome is the publisher of ATCNews, Eastern Africa’s leading aviation, tourism and conservation news blog of its kind. Wolfgang has over 45 years of experience in the tourism, aviation and conservation fields in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, covering all aspects of safari operations, hotel operations and air operations. Since 1992 he resides in Uganda, previously living for 17 years in Kenya.