Elephants have been hit hard by a global poaching epidemic that’s emptying the planet of an array of wildlife. As many as 30,000 elephants are killed for their ivory each year. But people and governments are taking a stand for these remarkable animals – and making a tremendous impact.
Rampant ivory poaching has reduced the elephant population in Tanzania’s oldest and largest protected area by 90 percent in fewer than 40 years. WWF is sounding the alarm for urgent action in combating wildlife crime in the reserve.
Setting an example for the world in the fight to save elephants, the United States has finalized new regulations that will help shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas.
Nepal marked two consecutive years since its last rhino was poached on May 2, 2014. This exceptional success is a result of a combination of high-level political will and government entities, and the active involvement of conservation communities.
WWF designed and installed a camera and software system smart enough to both distinguish human movement from that of animals and to alert rangers of the presence of poachers. What does this mean for conservation?
Tiger populations fighting for a comeback in the wild will receive a much needed lifeline from the United States government. Improved and tightened regulations around captive tigers will make it more difficult for captive-bred tigers to filter into and stimulate the illegal wildlife trade that threatens wild tigers in Asia.
In a significant blow to the illegal ivory trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), authorities dismantled a major ivory trafficking syndicate thanks to a law enforcement supported by WWF and partners.
South Africa announced its first decrease in rhino poaching since 2007, but an increase in the number of rhinos killed in neighboring countries offsets this slight improvement. The South African government confirmed 1,175 rhinos were lost in the country in 2015—slightly down from 1,215 in the previous year.
In a landmark move for elephants, the government of Hong Kong is actively exploring phasing out domestic ivory trade. The government is also set to strengthen efforts to tackle the illegal ivory trade.
The plight of Sumatran rhinos needs global attention and commitments if conservation is to succeed. The science is telling us that we can’t put off mounting a serious, concerted effort to save Sumatran rhinos. We have pulled three species of rhino back from the brink so we know we can do the same for the Sumatran rhino.
Over two tons of elephant tusks, carved ivory, and trinkets in Thailand—most of it from elephants poached a continent away in Africa—made its way into a machine that ground the ivory into chips. The solemn ceremony to destroy Thailand’s illegal ivory follows a number of important laws the country passed to crack down on the illegal ivory trade.
Bhutan is home to an amazing 103 wild tigers—an increase from a previous estimate of 75 that was not based on actual field surveys—according to the country’s first-ever tiger survey released on Global Tiger Day Conducted entirely by Bhutanese scientists, the survey spanned habitats ranging from snowy, cold mountains in the north—where both tigers and snow leopards roam wild—down to dense, subtropical forests in the south.
New draft ivory regulations will significantly curtail the sale of commercial ivory in the United States and help stop wildlife crime worldwide. President Obama announced the long-awaited regulations—along with the formation of an ambitious new United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance —on his first official trip to Kenya.
Today at a hearing on wildlife poaching before the Senate Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, WWF’s senior vice president of wildlife conservation Ginette Hemley attested that wildlife crime is an urgent crisis that must and can be stopped.
An enormous machine roared to life pulverizing more than one ton of illegal elephant ivory tusks, trinkets and souvenirs in the heart of New York City today. The ivory crush in Times Square sent a dramatic message to the world that the United States will not tolerate ivory trafficking.
Several countries, including China, have recently joined the US in publicly destroying their illegal ivory stockpiles—a powerful act demonstrating that a country will not tolerate wildlife crime. The act ensures that stockpiles of seized ivory will never again be sold and affirms that ivory is only of value if it remains on elephants as nature intended. And these burns and crushes also bring global attention to a problem threatening not only elephants and other wildlife, but also national development and regional stability.
Since becoming a WWF global ambassador, Andy Murray has been particularly passionate about raising awareness for WWF’s initiative in Nepal that supports the training and use of sniffer dogs to help track down, apprehend and deter poachers in and around Chitwan National Park.
Thailand has until the end of March 2015 to take measures to shut down domestic trade in illegal elephant ivory or it will face trade sanctions under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which met in Geneva last July.
Rajkumar Praja, one of Nepal’s most wanted wildlife criminals, was arrested by an INTERPOL team in Malaysia and extradited to Nepal where he faces a lengthy spell in jail for rhino poaching and trafficking in rhino horns.