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Ready for Jo-burg


best-of-all-herd-pixAt the International Union for Conservation of Nature Congress in Hawaii, delegates from nearly 200 countries passed a resolution to ban ALL domestic commerce in ivory, everywhere.

Japan and South Africa walked out of deliberations infuriated at this proposed infringement of their right to despoil the earth and all that live therein.

Said the deputy program director of NRDC: “Today’s vote by IUCN members is the first time that a … More

After the Burn


best of the burnWe’ve had time to process the remarkable sight of 7 gigantic ivory pyres burning on the wet grass of Kenya. Opinions on the impact vary — there are still calls for continued tusk and horn trade (incredibly) while others salute this terminal signal to global markets on the absence of value of poached ivory. Time will deliver the judgments of Nature and history.

Reports of continued poaching persist, particularly in … More

Burn, baby, Burn!


Burn, baby, burnApril 30, 2016 is a day that will be remembered. On April 30, with 7 heads of African range states in attendance, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta will put the torch to over a hundred tons of ivory. Never has so much ivory gone up in smoke — not by a very long shot.

Why, some ask, destroy over a hundred million dollars worth of white gold?

The answer that elephant … More

Feeling the Burn

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mother and child Elephant charge ashtonishing bull elephant

On April 30, Kenya will burn all of its ivory stock. 120 tons of confiscated ivory will go up in smoke. The biggest destruction of ivory to date has been 15 tons. This will be 8 times the size of the largest burn to date. It’s meant to signal the closing of the chapter in which “white gold” is a global currency.

Many ask, Why destroy such beauty?

The answer … More



Elephants play at the Maasai Mara game reserve, about 300 km (186 miles) southwest of Kenya's capital Nairobi, October 31, 2012. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA - Tags: ANIMALS) - RTR39TXF

Kenya plans to burn 120 tons of ivory on April 30. That’s their entire stock of ivory from both poached and naturally expired animals. It’s 8 times more ivory than has every been destroyed at one time. Four heads of African range states will be present for the burn, along with a bevvy of celebs from the US and EU. This is more than a symbolic gesture. It signals the … More

The Final Turn?

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baby in blanketPeter Knights, inspiring head of WildAid, thinks that China will shut down its ivory commerce within the next 18 months. The signs of this abound. He agrees that shutting down Hong Kong’s open door policy to blood ivory is a critical next move, and that we must hope that Tanzania’s new government isn’t in the poaching business, as was its predecessor.

Bottom line: we aren’t (at all) where we were … More

Focusing Activist Energy


The fall of 2015 brings the elephant conservation struggle to a cusp.

CITES meets in a few weeks, and the US is proposing that the Parties to the convention upgrade the protected status of elephants, among other endangered species. This will shut a loophole in potential African states who can sell their stocks of ivory, notably among southern nations (Namibia, South Africa, Botswana).

This effort is alongside the banning of … More

The Plan – What’s Next for Saving the Elephants of Africa?



Botswana elephantsChina is awakening.

Hong Kong is not coming along as fast as it must. It’s the gateway for most smuggled ivory headed for Shanghai and Beijing. Hong Kong refuses to disclose name of licensed ivory traders – there are hundreds of them. HK has always been dedicated to privacy in financial matters. Counterfeit certificates for permitted ivory are ubiquitous. Senator Quat wants to shut down the ivory trade. So … More

Summer Doldrums – Quiet Before the Storm

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In a few weeks the president’s task force on wildlife trafficking will promulgate new rules, stringent penalties and proposed new levels of support for the global struggle against poaching.

Congress, in a rare display of bipartisan congeniality, is preparing legislation to increase support for anti-poaching activities here and abroad. The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service needs a dramatic increase in funding, as do other departments active in this effort. … More

Horizon of Hope


big boy“All great change occurs in silence,” my smartest professor at Harvard taught. Something important has happened, quietly: after months of planning, I held a meeting with an official at the Chinese Consulate in LA. This was about my writing a piece for a Chinese journal on the vital role of collaboration in the innovation economy. That’s a legitimate story and I have valuable material to share. But it was only … More

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