Please Help End Animal Abuse And Cruelty.

Animal Rights Activist Ricky Gervais

 “Animals are not here for us to do as we please with. We are not their superiors. We are their equals. We are their family. Be kind to them.” ~ Ricky Gervais.

Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuseanimal neglect or animal cruelty, is the infliction by omission (neglect) or by commission by humans of suffering or harm upon any animal. More narrowly, it can be the causing of harm or suffering for specific achievement, such as killing animals for entertainment; cruelty to animals sometimes encompasses inflicting harm or suffering as an end in itself, defined as zoosadism.

Animal cruelty can be broken down into two main categories: active and passive. Passive cruelty is typified by cases of neglect, in which the cruelty is a lack of action rather than the action itself. Oftentimes passive animal cruelty is accidental, born of ignorance. In many cases of neglect in which an investigator believes that the cruelty occurred out of ignorance, the investigator may attempt to educate the pet owner, then revisit the situation. In more severe cases, exigent circumstances may require that the animal be removed for veterinary care.

Whether it is Elephants killed for their tusks or beaten so they comply in the Asian tourism ‘industry’, Rhino slaughtered for their horns for ‘traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), animals skinned alive for the fur trade etc, animal activists need to stand together to fight for their rights.

At many elephant ‘sanctuaries’ across Thailand and in other countries, the elephants are taught to fear humans. This is so that they will act with compliancy. From babies they are tied up, starved and beaten in what is known as a ‘crush’. This is the act of breaking a young elephant’s spirit. And it’s mostly true what they say: an elephant never forgets. This means that, with their long memories, elephants remember this period of abuse for the rest of their lives. It ensures that the elephants will do what the trainers (also known as mahouts) say, and are more easily trained.

They are also commonly beaten with hooks and sticks that have nails poking out of them – this is when they are seen to be misbehaving or not following orders, or being too slow to respond. The mahouts want the animals to be constantly putting on a performance for those tourists who are there for elephant riding in Thailand.

UNDERCOVER FOOTAGE SHOWS CRUEL TRAINING USED ON BABY ELEPHANTS TO BOOST THAILAND TOURISM

As poaching and habitat loss ravage rhinoceros and elephant populations, protections for these species are vitally important. Today, all five rhino species and both elephant species are threatened with extinction. Efforts are underway across the globe to save these iconic animals.

Elephants and rhinos often experience painful deaths when poached. Rhinos may have their horns cut off while they are still alive and contrary to belief, elephants do not lose their tusks; they are hacked out by poachers.

More than a thousand rhinos and tens of thousands of elephants are killed each year to feed demand for ivory and rhino horn. The international trade in elephants, rhinos, and other species is the second-largest threat to wildlife after habitat loss. If the market continues to drive poaching, both rhinos and elephants could vanish from the wild as early as 2034.

HORRIFIC IMAGES OF ELEPHANTS POACHED FOR THEIR TUSKS AND A RHINO FOR ITS HORN

Every year, hundreds of badgers meet a horrific death in the name of ‘sport’ in the UK at the hands of terriermen. Many of those who have been caught digging into badger setts have used the excuse that they were after foxes – and many have escaped prosecution by so doing.

The Lychee and Dog Meat Festival, commonly referred to as the Yulin Dog Meat Festival is an annual event starting on 20th of June where an estimated 10,000 – 15,000 dogs and cats are slaughtered for their meat.

The ‘festival’ began in 2010 to celebrate summer solstice. Advocates and restaurant owners say that eating dog is traditional in the summertime. Around 10-20 million dogs are killed for their meat each year in China. However, critics argue there is no cultural value in the festival and it was mainly devised as a way of making money.

While slaughtering dogs is common in China, the festival is seen as representative of the cruelty and lack of hygiene associated with the largely unregulated industry. In addition, many of the animals killed are stolen pets some of which have been seen still wearing their collars.

Some are sent to the festival in small cages without food or water on trucks that can travel hundreds of miles.

Slaughtering takes place in front of the live animals, usually with a club or with a blow-torch to induce the pain and fear that some restaurant owners claim makes their adrenaline-rich meat tastier.

“Psychologically and mentally, they have already died many times,” said Peter Li, a China policy specialist with the Humane Society International.

DOGS ARE TORTURED TO DEATH IN THE BELIEF THAT IT MAKES THE MEAT TASTIER

Trophy hunters pay large sums of money, often tens of thousands of dollars, to travel around the world to kill wild animals. Who can forget the killing of Cecil the Lion in 2015 in Zimbabwe? He was hunted over many hours with a bow and arrow, before being skinned and beheaded by Dentist Walter Palmer.

More often than not animals in their prime and in breeding age are targeted by trophy hunting because of their specific characteristics; their black mane, their long tusks, the size of their antlers, in fact Safari Club International offers prizes for the largest animals killed. Where older males are targeted this can have extreme negative consequences for the herd or pride; older males offer protection to groups and keep juvenile males in line, when they are killed less experienced animals move in, increasing the risk of human wildlife conflict and killing the cubs of the older male. When the elephants with the largest tusks are killed, we have seen the size of elephant tusks in the population decrease over time, making it harder to find food and defend themselves.

CECIL THE LION WAS SHOT BY DENTIST WALTER PALMER IN JULY 2015 AND CAUSED INTERNATIONAL OUTRAGE

More than 10,000 are caught, tortured and killed in the UK each year by huntsmen with terriers – with almost a third of these illegal acts being carried out in Wales. Alarmingly, this figure is rising constantly. Terry Spamer, a former RSPCA inspector, believes that there are around 2,000 people involved in badger baiting currently. However, only around three people are caught and convicted of badger baiting each year, while the majority carry on breaking the law.

Traditional fox hunting was banned in England and Wales under the Hunting Act 2004. In spite of existing legislation, there has been 500 successful prosecutions under the Act. However, many incidents of illegal hunting have gone unpunished.

FOX HUNTING AND BADGER BAITING IS ILLEGAL IN THE UK BUT CARRIES ON WITH WITH APPARENT IMPUNITY

Dogfighting is an inhumane ‘bloodsport’ where dogs who have been bred, conditioned and trained to fight are placed in a pit to fight each other for spectator ‘entertainment’ and profit. Fights average one to two hours, ending when one of the dogs cannot continue.

Dog fights usually take part in quiet, private locations, such as in an industrial unit or farm building. Participants will spend months training their dogs in preparation, much like boxing, the fighters will have to hit a target weight to take part. Organisers will create a fighting ‘pit’ for the dogs to fight within.

Dogs who have been used in fighting often have serious injuries to their head, ears, front legs and chest that are caused as they go head-to-head in a pit. They will also have injuries of different ages, some old scars and some fresh wounds.

IT IS BELIEVED OVER 16000 DOGS DIE EACH YEAR IN ORGANIZED DOG FIGHTS

Each year, thousands of bulls are barbarically slaughtered in bullrings around the world. Over the centuries, bullfighters have found countless ways to rig the “fight” in their favor. Bulls are often weakened with drugs or by having sandbags dropped on their backs. Their horns have been shaved to keep them off balance, or petroleum jelly has been rubbed into their eyes to impair their vision.

Every year, approximately 250,000 bulls are killed in bullfights. Bullfighting is already banned by law in many countries including Argentina, Canada, Cuba, Denmark, Italy and the United Kingdom. Although legal in Spain, some Spanish cities, such as Calonge, Tossa de Mar, Vilamacolum and La Vajol, have outlawed the practice of bullfighting. There are only a few countries throughout the world where this practice still takes place (Spain, France, Portugal, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador). ~ HSI.

BULLS ARE TORTURED IN THE NAME OF CULTURE AND TRADITION

Each year from approximately September 1 to March 1, a large-scale hunt of dolphins takes place in the small village of Taiji, Japan, as featured in the 2010 Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove. During this six month season, dolphin hunters utilize drive hunt techniques to herd large numbers of dolphins to shore, resulting in their capture or death.

The captured dolphins may be selected for live trade to aquariums and marine parks for display, while others are slaughtered for their meat. The price for live captures is many times higher than those killed.

THE ANNUAL TAIJI DOLPHIN SLAUGHTER

What you can do to help end animal abuse

We believe EVERY animal should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. We raise awareness to protect and conserve wild, captive, companion and farm animals.

It is vital that we protect animals against acts of cruelty, abuse, and neglect by enforcing established animal welfare laws and, when necessary, taking action to ensure that those who abuse animals are brought to justice.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

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RARE BIRTH OF SUMATRAN RHINO BRINGS HOPE FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES

A Sumatran Rhino has successfully given birth in a Lampung sanctuary, environment officials said, in a boost for conservation efforts targeting the critically endangered animal.

THE CLAF BORN IN WAY KAMBAS NATIONAL PARK

The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates fewer than 80 Sumatran Rhinos remain in the world, mainly in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

A Rhino named Rosa gave birth to a female calf on Thursday in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, after suffering eight miscarriages since 2005, when she was brought in from the wild for a breeding program.

“The birth of this Sumatran Rhino is such happy news amid the government’s and partners’ efforts to increase the population,” Wiratno, a senior official at Indonesia’s environment ministry, said in a statement Monday. 

The calf, who has yet to be named, brings the number of Sumatran Rhinos in the Way Kambas sanctuary to eight.

Successful births are rare. The calf’s father, named Andatu, was the first Sumatran Rhino born in a sanctuary in more than 120 years.

Standing between 3.3 – 5 feet, Sumatran Rhinos are the smallest of all Rhinoceroses and they have a lifespan of around 35 – 40 years. They were once found across South and Southeast east, from the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas in Bhutan to eastern India, through Myanmar, Thailand, and  possibly to Vietnam and China. Now, the species is critically endangered, with less than 80 individuals remaining in the wild in small fragmented habitats on the island of Sumatra and nearby Borneo.

MOTHER ROSA WITH HER CALF

In 2017, Rhino conservation experts and the Indonesian government concluded that the only way to save the species was through a captive breeding program. The move was similar to an initiative launched in the 1980s that saw 40 Sumatran rhinos captured for breeding. But in this case, nearly half of the captive animals had died by 1995 and not a single calf had been born.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature classifies the Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all Rhino species, as critically endangered.

Multiple threats have brought them to the brink of extinction, including poaching and climate change.

This handout photo released on March 28 and made available on March 29, 2022 shows female rhino named Rosa (l) with her new baby born at the Way Kambas National Park, in Way Kambas, in Lampung province. Rosa delivered a baby rhino on March 24, for the first time after translocating from roaming in villages. A critically endangered Sumatran rhino was born in an Indonesian sanctuary bringing hope to the conservation of the rapidly declining species, an official said. (AFP/Handout)

Rhino horn is often illegally traded for traditional Chinese medicine. 

Indonesia is also racing to save another critically endangered species – the Javan Rhino.

Once numbering in the thousands across Southeast Asia, fewer than 80 are alive today, mainly in a national park on Indonesia’s main island of Java.

Efforts to conserve the species have shown promising results with the birth of five calves in Ujung Kulon National Park last year.

The Mission of Protect All Wildlife is to prevent cruelty, promote the welfare of ALL animals EVERYWHERE, and help END animal abuse.

Please support our work by donating ANY amount, large or small. It only takes a minute and your donations make it all possible. Thank you for your support.

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South Africa’s Ivory Delusion. Why Selling Ivory Stockpiles To China Will NOT Stop The Illegal Ivory Trade

The values of Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s ivory stockpiles have been grossly overstated, and their proposed sale would lead to another poaching epidemic.

In 2020 the world reacted in shock when Namibia announced plans to auction off 170 live Elephants to the highest bidder.

Despite criticism, the plans have continued to move forward — and that may just be the start. Tucked away in a press release justifying the auction was a rehash of the country’s oft-repeated desire to also sell ivory. The Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s stated:

“Namibia has major stockpiles of valuable wildlife products including ivory which it can produce sustainably and regulate properly, and which if traded internationally could support our Elephant conservation and management for decades to come.”

Namibia is not alone in this desire to capitalize on its wildlife. In Zimbabwe’s national assembly last year, the minister of environment valued the country’s stockpile of 130 metric tonnes (143 tons) of ivory and 5 tonnes (5.5 tons) of rhino horn at $600 million in U.S. dollars. This figure, which would value ivory at more than $4,200 per kilogram, has since been seized upon by commentators seeking to justify the reintroduction of the ivory trade.

Charan Saunders is an environmental accountant dedicated to ethical conservation, so she wanted to understand these numbers and how they motivate countries. In truth, she found not even full black-market value comes close to arriving at this figure.

Black-market values are, of course, often invisible to the general public, but the most recent data from criminal justice experts finds that unworked (or raw) Elephant ivory sells for about $92/kg on the black market in Africa, while rhino horn is currently selling for $8,683/kg.

Therefore, a more realistic valuation of Zimbabwe’s ivory stockpiles, using an optimistic wholesale price of $150/kg, would give a potential income of only $19.5 million in U.S. dollars.

This is a 30th of Zimbabwe’s estimate.

And even then, those numbers fail to account for the disaster that would happen if ivory sales return — as we saw in the all-too-recent past.

The One-Off Sales

SEIZED ILLEGAL IVORY

International trade in ivory has been banned since 1989, following a 10-year period in which African Elephant numbers declined by 50%, from 1.3 million to 600,000. However, in 1999 and 2008 CITES allowed “one-off sales” of stockpiled ivory, to disastrous effect. The selling prices achieved then were only $100/kg and $157/kg, in U.S. dollars respectively, due to collusion by official Chinese and Japanese buyers.

The intention of CITES in approving the one-off ivory sales was to introduce a controlled and steady supply of stockpiled ivory into the market. The legal supply, coupled with effective systems of control, aimed to satisfy demand and reduce prices. This in turn should have reduced the profitability of (and the demand for) illegal ivory. Poaching should have followed suit and decreased.

Instead, the sales led to an increase in demand and, consequently, an increase in Elephant poaching. The 2008 ivory sale was accompanied by a 66% increase in illegally traded ivory and a 71% increase in ivory smuggling. An investigation in 2010 by the Environmental Investigation Agency documented that 90% of the ivory being sold in China came from illegal sources.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comparison of Elephant poaching figures for the five years preceding and five years following the sale showed an “abrupt, significant, permanent, robust and geographically widespread increase” in poaching.

The problem has not faded away. Most recently the two African Elephant species (savanna and forest) were declared endangered and critically endangered due to their continued poaching threat.

ZIMBABWE ELEPHANTS

Still, some African nations look fondly at the 2008 sale and have long hoped to repeat it. The Zimbabwe Ministry’s 2020 statement follows yet another proposal to the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (COP18) by Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana to trade in live Elephants and their body parts, including ivory. The proposal was not accepted by the parties.

Why Didn’t Ivory Sales Work?

The one-off sales of ivory removed the stigma associated with its purchase, stimulated the market demand, and increased prices.

The ivory that China purchased in 2008 for $157/kg was drip-fed by the authorities to traders at prices ranging between $800 and $1,500 per kilogram. This meant that the bulk of the profits went to filling Chinese government coffers — not to African nations — and in doing so, created a large illegal market which drove prices even higher.

Raw ivory prices in China increased from $750/kg in 2010 to $2,100/kg in 2014. The market had been stimulated, prices increased and the volume of legal ivory available was insufficient to meet demand as the Chinese government gradually fed its stockpile into the market.

Japan, the other participant in the one-off sales, has systematically failed to comply with CITES regulations, meaning that there were (and still are) no controls over ivory being sold, allowing the illegal markets to function in parallel to the legal one.

In a very short space of time, criminals ramped up poaching and Elephant numbers plummeted.

What Has Happened to the Price of Ivory Since Then?

With no recent legal international sales, combined with the significant U.S., Chinese and United Kingdom domestic ivory sales bans, the price for raw ivory paid by craftsmen in China fell from $2,100/kg in 2014 to $730/kg in 2017. That’s when China closed all its official ivory carving outlets and theoretically stopped all official ivory trade.

The price currently paid for raw ivory in Asia, according to an investigation by the Wildlife Justice Commission, is currently between $597/kg and $689/kg, in U.S. dollars. Ivory sourced in Africa and sold in Asia has additional costs such as transportation, taxes and broker commissions. The prices paid for raw ivory in Africa have decreased correspondingly from $208/kg to $92/kg in 2020.

Those numbers pale in comparison to a living Elephant. A 2014 study found that live Elephants are each worth an estimated $1.6 million in ecotourism opportunities.

Funding Conservation

One half-truth is that the money earned from the legal sale will be used to effectively fund conservation.

One of the CITES conditions of the 2008 sale was that funds were to go to the conservation of Elephants. South Africa placed a substantial portion of the income from its share of the pie in the Mpumalanga Problem Animal Fund — which, it turns out, was well-named. An internal investigation found the fund had “no proper controls” and that “tens of millions” of rand (the official currency of South Africa) had bypassed the normal procurement processes.

Ironically, proceeds were also partly used for the refurbishment of the Skukuza abattoir, where most of the 14,629 Elephant carcasses from culling operations between 1967 and 1997 were processed.

All the while, Africa’s Elephant populations continued to decline.

How to Stop Poaching

In light of these deficiencies — and in light of Elephants’ recently declared endangered status — the very reverse of actual conservation can be expected if any nation is again allowed to sell its ivory stockpiles. The cost of increased anti-poaching efforts required from the consequent increase in poaching will outweigh the benefit of any income from the sale of ivory stockpiles.

To stop poaching, all international and local trade must be stopped.

Repeating this failed experiment will send a message that it is acceptable to trade in ivory. Ivory carving outlets in China will re-open and demand for ivory will be stimulated. The demand for ivory in an increasingly wealthy and better-connected Asia will quickly outstrip legal supply and poaching will increase.

Meanwhile, the management of a legal ivory trade requires strong systems of control at every point in the commodity chain to ensure that illegal ivory is not laundered into the legal market. With recalcitrant Japan continuing to ignore CITES, “untransparent” Namibia “losing tolerance” with CITES, and Zimbabwe ranking 157 out of 179 on the corruption perceptions index, not even the basics for controlled trade are in place.

Therefore, aside from the strong theoretical economic arguments against renewed one-off sales, the practical arguments are perhaps even stronger: If international ivory and rhino horn sales ever again become legal, the cost to protect Elephants will skyrocket and these culturally valuable animals will plunge into decline — and possibly extinction.

About the author: Charan Saunders grew up in Cape Town and studied genetics and microbiology and then went on to qualify as a chartered accountant. She has worked in London in the forensic science field and was the chief financial officer of a major vaccine manufacturer for six years. She now serves as a financial director in the field of conservation.

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Asian Elephant Mom Carries Dead Calf For Weeks, New Eye-Opening Videos Reveal

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead.

Female Elephants are very protective of their calves, and when youngsters die, some mothers continue carrying their babies’ corpses. 

Asian Elephants, like their African cousins, seem to mourn their dead, sometimes even carrying their lost infants in their trunks for days or weeks, new research finds. 

Whether Elephants  understand death in the same way humans do is unknown — and probably unknowable. But Asian Elephants are social creatures, and the new research adds to the evidence that they experience some sort of emotional response when they lose one of their own.

“Understanding Elephants’ response to death might have some far reaching effects on their conservation,” study co-authors Sanjeeta Sharma Pokharel of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute and Nachiketha Sharma of the  Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, wrote to Live Science in an email. “We have personally observed that when people witness an elephant responding to a dead kin, there will be some sense of relatedness, compassion and empathy towards the species. Therefore, anything which instantly connects people might pave the way for coexistence in elephant ranging countries.” 

Death ritual

African bush Elephants have long been observed reacting emotionally when a herd member dies. They might approach the body and touch it with their trunks, kick at the corpse or stand nearby as if on guard. Asian Elephants, however, are less well-understood. They tend to live in forested habitat, so they are harder to observe in the wild than savanna-dwelling African elephants.

“They can be 100 feet [30 meters] away from you, and you might not see them because the forest is so dense,” said Brian Aucone, the senior vice president for life sciences at the Denver Zoo, who was not involved in the new study. .

To get around this, Pokharel, Sharma, and their co-author Raman Sukumar, all of the Indian Institute of Science at the time, turned to YouTube, where remarkable animal videos are a staple. They searched the site for keywords related to Asian Elephants and death, and uncovered 39 videos of 24 cases between 2010 and 2021 in which one or more Asian Elephants were seen reacting to the loss of a herd mate. Eighty percent of the videos showed wild Elephants, 16% captive Elephants and 4% semi-captive Elephants (typically, semi-captive Elephants are animals that work in the timber industry or in tourist parks in Asia).

Some of the most striking behaviors seen in the videos occurred when a calf died. In five of the 12 videos showing a deceased calf, a female adult — likely the mother — was seen carrying the calf. Based on the state of decomposition of the corpse, it appeared that this carrying behavior went on for days or weeks.

Indian Forest Service ranger Parveen Kaswan uploaded one such video in 2019, showing an Asian Elephant dragging the body of a calf across a road in what he likened to a “funeral procession” in a post on Twitter at the time.

“I think they’re holding on and trying to grasp what has happened, and there’s something happening there with their interaction with their offspring, just like it would be with us,” Aucone said of the behavior.

Other commonEelephant reactions seen in the videos included restlessness or alertness when near the corpse; exploratory movements such as approaching or investigating the body; or touching and smelling. Elephants communicate through scent, Aucone said, so the sniffing is not surprising. In 10 cases, the elephants tried to lift, nudge or shake the body, as if to attempt to revive their lost comrade. In 22 cases, they seemed to stand vigil over the body.

AN ELEPHANT STROKING THE DEAD BODY WITH HIS TRUNK AS OTHERS STAND GUARD

“We’ve seen some of this before ourselves,” Aucone told Live Science. When the zoo euthanizes older Elephants due to illness or infirmity, the staff give herd mates a chance to say goodbye, Aucone said. The survivors often sniff the deceased Elephant or lay their trunks by its mouth, a social behavior.

Animal grief

Elephants aren’t the only social creatures that react to death, especially to the death of babies. Orca mothers have been observed pushing their dead calves around, as have dolphins. In 2018, an orca female named Tahlequah off the coast of Washington held on to her lost baby for 17 days. Other female orcas were seen huddled around Tahlequah and her dead newborn in the hours after the baby’s death in what looked like a circle of grief. Ape and monkey mothers sometimes carry around dead infants for weeks or months.

TAHLEQUAH PUSHED THE BODY OF HER DEAD BABY FOR 17 DAYS

In the case of the Elephants, which are devoted to caring for their young, the mother-calf bond is fundamental, Pokharel, Sharma and Sukumar wrote in the study, published Wednesday (May 18) in the journal Royal Society Open Science(opens in new tab). This is true of primates, as well, Pokharel and Sharma told Live Science.

“[T]he mother-calf/infant bonding in both Elephants and primates have some striking similarities as both nurture their young until they become strong enough to forage and defend themselves,” they wrote. “Therefore, this long lasting bond between mothers and calves/infants may potentially motivate mothers to respond towards their unresponsive calves. It is very difficult to predict the exact causations and functionality behind the dead infants carrying. But, some of the YouTube videos certainly provide evidence that some species may have some sense of death awareness.”

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Ivory From At Least 150 Poached Elephants Seized In A DRC Raid

  • A three-year investigation has led authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo to 2 metric tons of ivory hidden in a stash house in the southern city of Lubumbashi.
  • The tusks are valued at $6 million on the international market and estimated to have come from more than 150 elephants.
  • The three people arrested in the May 14 raid are allegedly members of a major wildlife trafficking ring in the Southern African region.
POACHED ELEPHANT ON ITS KNEES WITH ANOTHER LYING DEAD BEHIND IT

Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo have seized 2 metric tons of ivory in the city of Lubumbashi, a hub for ivory trafficking.

The May 14 seizure is one of the largest in recent years, according to Adams Cassinga, who heads Conserv Congo, an NGO that fights wildlife trafficking and which took part in the operation. The seized ivory is estimated to be worth $6 million.

Authorities arrested three people, believed to be members of one of the major wildlife trafficking rings in the region. The network is linked to the smuggling of 20 metric tons of ivory in the past five years alone.

The latest seizure represents more than 150 elephants killed for their tusks, Cassinga said. The tusks originated from countries in Southern Africa, which has seen a surge in ivory trafficking in the 2000s, fueled by demand from Asia, particularly China.

Ivory found in a stash house in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image courtesy of Adams Cassinga/Conserv Congo
Ivory found in a stash house in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Image courtesy of Adams Cassinga/Conserv Congo

At the height of the crisis, 30,000 elephants were being killed every year, an average of 80 a day. African elephant populations have shrunk by 80% in the past 100 years, according to an analysis by WWF. The African savanna elephant (Loxodonta africana) is considered endangered on the IUCN Red List, while the forest elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis) is critically endangered, only a step away from being extinct in the wild.

Poaching has declined in recent years, a 2021 report by Geneva-based nonprofit Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI-TOC) found. One of the factors cited for the dip is the weakening of criminal networks because of raids and arrests.

DR CONGO AUTHORITIES SEIZE 1.5 TONNES OF ELEPHANT IVORY

“The reduced poaching seems to be the result of the dismembering through arrests and prosecutions of a large number of transnational organized criminal networks involved in ivory poaching and trafficking in East and southern Africa between 2014 and 2020,” the GI-TOC report said.

The Lubumbashi raid was led by the DRC’s top conservation authority, known by its French acronym, the ICCN. It included members of the national police force, court officials and the NGO Conserv Congo.

The team recovered the ivory from a stash house in Lubumbashi in the southern DRC. Traffickers brought the poached parts into the DRC from Zambia, which lies on the country’s southern border. Lubumbashi has emerged as a major hub from where poached wildlife parts are funneled out of Africa. The items originate primarily in Southern African countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“We are sure it will bring a great deal of deterrence in a place where previously wildlife laws were neglected and not applied,” Cassinga said in a tweet.

Weak enforcement of laws, armed conflict and corruption have allowed international gangs to operate with impunity in western and Central Africa. The DRC, which shares borders with nine countries, serves as an important transit point for the movement of trafficked parts. The Central African nation, which hosts the largest swath of Congo Basin rainforest, is also a source country for illegal wildlife goods.

Yet, from 2000 to 2014, when elephant poaching was rampant, the DRC recovered only around 8 metric tons of ivory in seizures. Then, between 2015 and 2019, authorities there confiscated 20 metric tons, according to data collected by the Environmental Investigation Agency, an NGO based in the U.K.

“We are making strong efforts to take down all the illegal trade networks. With time, we have bigger impacts on the illegal networks,” Olivier Mushiete, head of the ICCN, said in a phone interview with Mongabay.

The Lubumbashi raid follows a series of raids in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, last year. Mushiete told Reuters at that time that they expect to recover more than 60 metric tons in future seizures. The current operation was a result of three years of investigation.

“The relationship between the government and the civil society is improving. You can see that it is yielding results,” Cassinga said. He added that support from partners like Zambia-based Wildlife Crime Prevention and international donors like the Rhino Recovery Fund is helping them combat wildlife trafficking.

The skull of an elephant recently killed by poachers who ripped out its tusks in Province Orientale, DRC.
The skull of an elephant recently killed by poachers who ripped out its tusks in Province Orientale, DRC. Image by Matchbox Media Collective via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Ivory poaching is one of the most lucrative illicit trades, valued at around $23 billion a year, according to Bloomberg.

CITES, the global convention on the wildlife trade, banned the international commercial trade in ivory in 1989. However, some countries continue to allow domestic trade and international trade, subject to varying degrees of regulation.

In the past decade, efforts to curb ivory demand have gathered pace, with the U.S. imposing a near-complete ban on elephant ivory trade in 2016 and China banning the domestic trade in 2017. The EU tightened its rules on the ivory trade in 2021. Narrower exemptions limit the legal ivory trade, which conservationists say often serves as a cover for unlawful transactions.

The three suspected traffickers from the Lubumbashi raid are due to appear in court this week.

Even if seizures and arrests increase, the impact on poaching could be limited by countries’ failure to prosecute alleged traffickers. Coordinating cross-border investigations and amassing the necessary evidence is tricky. Wildlife crimes are often not prioritized by law enforcement agencies or judicial authorities.

The arrest of two Vietnamese nationals during the seizure of 3.3 metric tons of ivory from Uganda’s capital, Kampala, in 2019 did not result in convictions because both suspects skipped bail.

Raids also tend to net intermediaries but rarely lead to the capture of those who organize, fund and benefit the most from this illegal trade. “As far as dismantling the network, that is unlikely. It may be slowed down,” said Chris Morris, who works with the Kenya-based organization Saving Elephants through Education and Justice (SEEJ). “These cartels are a business. They are prepared for losses from seizures and arrests.”

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A Poacher’s Attack Through The Eyes Of Rhino Calf Ntombi

As the number of rhinos killed by poachers keep rising and more traumatized orphaned calves are in need of care, Kirsten Everett, a volunteer at Nikela, takes us on a touching journey as she looks at the horrors of a poacher attack though the eyes of a young Rhino calf called Ntombi.

Vet Karen Trendler With Ntombi

“My mother and I were contently filling our hungry stomachs when we heard a strange noise. I carried on eating but she smelt the air for unknown scents. I saw the terrified look in her eye before she managed to control it; the unnatural smell meant something. A few minutes later we heard the ‘whop, whop’ of a metal monster flying closer towards us. Just when my mother focussed on it the men crept out of the bushes with a crunch of sticks. Something seemed to hit her and she grunted in surprise. The birds abandoned their posts heading away from the danger. I stood helplessly as she tried to run but ended up falling to the ground. The men surrounded her and tried to chase me away. I ran forward scared enough to not care about the men as they had done something to my mother, I needed her and they must go away.

Out of nowhere one of the big men spun on me and hit me hard with something sharp. Blood oozed from my wound as my mother answered my cry for help with a weak beg, ‘Away, away’. I backed away nursing my wound, how could I get to her?? She grunted again so I didn’t give up. I ran forward again but this time the angry man was merciless, determined to get his message across. As quietly as possible I took the cuts to my poor head trying not to worry my mother even more.

This The Work Of Poachers

Confused I backed away into the bushes calling to her to get up, but the eerie silence dragged on and she didn’t move a muscle. Fear glued me to the floor as I felt my young heart pulsing with anger and fear. A breeze blew, as I waited for the monsters to go so I could go to my poor mommy and find out what was wrong. My heart skipped a beat when I realised this was what my cousin had gone through only a full moon ago. It was terrible, my body couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t think clearly, I felt lightheaded from all my blood loss.

Finally when the monsters left I ran to her side, ‘Mom wake up.’ My voice cracked with emotion but still she didn’t respond. I took a step back and saw the pool of blood. Her horn had been brutally cut off and she lay lifeless. Above me a crow flew over.

I turned to run then I asked myself some important questions… where would I go? I wasn’t old enough to know the way to the dam yet. Who would protect me from predators? The truth was that I wasn’t strong enough to survive by myself yet. Would I be with my mother in the sky sooner than I thought? The last question scared me the most; out in the wild without my mother I might just be able to survive a week.

I heard the snap of a twig, I wasn’t alone. This time I didn’t have the strength to care what these humans wanted with me. I collapsed and slept for a few hours. I was almost completely unconscious though I sensed kindness near me. Too traumatised to do anything I lay as they treated my wounds. The people who tried to comfort me planted a seed of hope. Hope that I could survive and hope that the rest of the human race would come to its senses and help my species and all the others out there”.

Let’s stop the babies’ cries! Let’s save the last rhin0!

Written by Kirsten Everett. Based loosely on the story of “Ntombi” who was rescued by Karen Trendler and her team.

Update (July 31, 2013): This is Ntombi feeling good and playful

NTOMBI

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An Obituary To Tolstoy, One Of Africa’s Few Remaining Tuskers

TOLSTOY

18th March 2021: Just after dawn, Tolstoy lumbers into view. A wandering giant, with tusks almost scraping the earth, this great elephant has roamed beneath Mount Kilimanjaro for nearly 50 years.

He has survived ivory poachers, spear attacks and terrible drought, but the mighty bull could be confronting a new threat to his natural realm: surging demand for avocados.

A turf war has erupted over a 180-acre (73-hectare) avocado farm near Amboseli, one of Kenya’s premier national parks, where elephants and other wildlife graze against the striking backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

In 2020 Kenyan agribusiness KiliAvo Fresh Ltd received approval from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to start its own avocado farm on land in Kimana, southern Kenya it purchased from local Masai owners. [Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP]

Opponents of the farm say it obstructs the free movement of iconic tuskers like Tolstoy – putting their very existence at risk – and clashes with traditional ways of using the land.

Adjacent landowners and wildlife experts say elephants have already collided with KiliAvo’s electric fence – proof that it impedes migratory routes used by an estimated 2,000 tuskers as they depart Amboseli into surrounding lands to breed and find water and pasture. “Can you imagine if elephants in Amboseli died of starvation so that people in Europe can eat avocados?” Kenyan conservationist Paula Kahumbu, who heads the campaign group WildlifeDirect, said.

HUMAN WILDLIFE CONFLICT

16th March 2022: The Elephant named Tolstoy is a living natural wonder, carrying some of the largest tusks on the planet. So when Big Life’s rangers don’t see him for a while, they go looking.

They searched beyond their normal patrol areas and eventually found him resting under a tree. All appeared fine, until he took a step… something was badly wrong. Tolstoy could barely walk. Upon getting closer, the rangers could see the problem: a puncture wound in the joint on his front right leg.

Tolstoy being treated for his leg wound

A wound like this was no accident. Tolstoy frequently plays a high-stakes game called crop-raiding. When he wins, he comes away with a bellyful of highly nutritious crops. But when he loses, he gets speared.

Tolstoy doesn’t know it, but his crop raids can cost a farmer their entire season’s income in one night, and these farmers (justifiably) care little that Tolstoy is one of Africa’s dwindling number of ‘super tuskers’. It’s not the first time this has happened: in 2018 he was treated for three spear wounds, also a result of crop-raiding.

The Kenya Wildlife Service vet unit, funded by our partners at Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, was quick to respond, but the decision to treat him was not made immediately. Darting an animal of this size, particularly with a wound in a sensitive joint, is extremely risky because the Elephant may not be able to stand after treatment. The decision was made to wait 24 hours and see if his condition improved.

Big Life’s rangers stayed by his side, spending the entire night out with him, but the wound showed no signs of improvement. The decision was made to dart him, and it was done quickly and professionally.  His wound was thoroughly cleaned and treated, and Tolstoy was given antibiotics and painkillers before a jab to wake him up.

Tolstoy comes round watched by members of the KWS team

With great effort, he finally stood and stared back at the treatment team, before retreating into the shade. For now, his prognosis looks good, but he’s not out of the woods just yet as he continues to heal. Big Life rangers will continue to monitor him while he recovers. And they will continue to spend their nights out in the farms, keeping Elephants safe and helping farmers to protect their crops, in order to prevent this from happening again.

The elephant named Tolstoy is a living natural wonder, carrying some of the largest tusks on the planet. So when Big Life’s rangers don’t see him for a while, they go looking.

They searched beyond their normal patrol areas and eventually found him resting under a tree. All appeared fine, until he took a step… something was badly wrong. Tolstoy could barely walk. Upon getting closer, the rangers could see the problem: a puncture wound in the joint on his front right leg.

A wound like this was no accident. Tolstoy frequently plays a high-stakes game called crop-raiding. When he wins, he comes away with a bellyful of highly nutritious crops. But when he loses, he gets speared.

Tolstoy doesn’t know it, but his crop raids can cost a farmer their entire season’s income in one night, and these farmers (justifiably) care little that Tolstoy is one of Africa’s dwindling number of ‘super tuskers’. It’s not the first time this has happened: in 2018 he was treated for three spear wounds, also a result of crop-raiding.

THE SADDEST DAY

27TH April 2022: “This is so painful.”

These few words spoken by ranger Daudi Ninaai describe well how we are all feeling at Big Life. Tolstoy, one of Africa’s biggest ‘tusker’ Elephants, and an icon of the Amboseli ecosystem, has died at 51 years old.

He was speared in the leg 6 weeks ago, almost certainly by a farmer defending his crops from one of Tolstoy’s night-time crop raids. The wound was treated, but the resultant infection has ultimately had the worst possible consequences.

Big Life’s rangers in Kimana Sanctuary have been monitoring Tolstoy since his treatment. Yesterday morning, they found him lying down. This was not unusual for an Elephant who took frequent horizontal naps despite his enormous size, but upon getting closer, the rangers could see signs of his failed struggle to stand up. They knew that this time was different.

Tolstoy was still alive and two Kenya Wildlife Service vet units (both funded by the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust) responded. He was given further treatment, but getting him on his feet again was unlikely from the start. For hours the rangers and vets tried to pull him up with vehicles and ropes, with no success. A front-end loader was called in as a last desperate attempt, but Tolstoy was just too weak to stand.

With the rescue team running out of ideas, and night fast approaching, Tolstoy finally ran out of strength and died, surrounded by the rangers who have looked over him for so long.

Ranger Job Lekanayia is one of these: “Today is the saddest day in my job as a ranger, having lost one of the Elephants that I treasured the most. We tried everything that we could. I thought he would wake up, but he just couldn’t lift himself up.”

After 50 years on earth, there isn’t much that Tolstoy hadn’t seen. And there isn’t much that looks the same. His home has been transformed by the human species, and it is the consequences of rapidly expanding farmlands that eventually killed him.

His death is a reminder of the vulnerability of even the largest of animals, as well as the urgent need to protect habitat for wildlife and manage the interface between wild animals and human activities. There are solutions, and we are making progress despite a tragic setback such as this.

Over his long time on this planet, Tolstoy had a positive impact on countless people, and will be remembered as a calm and gentle giant. As ranger Lekanayia says, “All I can say is: rest in peace Tolstoy, we will miss you.”

TOLSTOY

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REMEMBERING SATAO, THE ELEPHANT KILLED BY POACHERS FOR HIS TUSKS SO LONG THEY TOUCHED THE GROUND

THE MAGNIFICENT SATAO ~ RICHARD MOLLER/TSAVO TRUST

Satao was one of the largest Elephants in the world. His weight was estimated to be over 7 tons and his tusks were so long he could rest them on the ground.

By logic, his size should have made him unreachable for any natural predators. However, in a world of destruction and corruption, logic doesn’t prevent the extinction of the African Elephant. Satao fell prey to poachers for his ivory in May 2014, which triggered a huge wave of grief in Kenya followed by international outrage in the news and on Twitter and Facebook.

Born in the late 1960s in Tsavo, Satao caused great amazement to everyone who ever caught a glimpse of him; rangers, tourists but also poachers. Many believe that Satao had the understanding that his tusks were beyond the ordinary. In fact, he had adjusted his behaviour to keep his tusks out of sight, which was incredibly impressive and heart-breaking at the same time. Impressive, because this once again proved how very intelligent Elephants really are, and sad, because Satao was nonetheless poisoned by arrows that caused his death.

The Tsavo Trust had been monitoring the Elephant’s movements using aerial reconnaissance for the last 18 months, and thanks to his enormous tucks the beast was ‘easily identifiable’ from the air.

But the technology was not enough to save the iconic beast from the hands of the poachers.

A Tsavo Trust spokesman said at the time: ‘With great sadness, we report the death of Satao, one of Tsavo’s most iconic and well-loved tuskers.

‘This magnificent Elephant was widely known in Tsavo East National Park, where he was observed with awe by many thousands of Tsavo’s visitors over the years.

‘No longer will Tsavo and Kenya benefit from his mighty presence.’

‘Satao, whose tusks were so long they trailed the ground, was discovered with his face hacked off at Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park’

He added: ‘The arrow had entered his left flank and he stood no chance of survival. We spotted his carcass on 2nd June but to avoid any potential false alarms, we first took pains to verify the carcass really was his.

‘Today it is with enormous regret that we confirm there is no doubt that Satao is dead, killed by an ivory poacher’s poisoned arrow to feed the seemingly insatiable demand for ivory in far off countries.

‘A great life lost so that someone far away can have a trinket on their mantelpiece.’

‘Rest in peace, Old Friend, you will be missed, he added.

Photos of his hacked off face and tusks circled the Internet and recorded the bitter loss and undignified death of this incredibly rare tusker.

AN UNDIGNIFEID END: SATAO WAS FOUND WITH HIS FACE AND TUSKS HACKED OFF!

Wildlife filmmaker based in Kenya Mark Deeble who had written a blog post Satao: last of the great tuskers about how poachers had been hunting Satao for some time and how he was injured but managed to escape until now:

He said “I was thankful that the bull’s wounds were healing and that we hadn’t had to dart him, but I was devastated that poachers had somehow managed to predict his movements and get close enough to fire two poison arrows into him. I am appalled at what that means – that the survival skills that the bull has painstakingly learnt over half a century have been rendered useless by the poachers’ use of mass-produced Chinese goods, GPS smartphones, cheap motorcycles and night vision goggles.

I think the old bull knows that poachers want his tusks, and I hate that he knows.

More than anything, I hate the thought that poachers are now closing in on one of the world’s most iconic Elephants.”

His fears came to reality on the 30th of May 2014!!

RIP Satao, you will NEVER be forgotten.

SATAO DRINKS AT A WATER HOLE IN TSAVO EAST NATIONAL PARK, KENYA, IN 2013, WHEN THE MAGNIFICENT TUSKER WAS IN HIS PRIME – MARK DEEBLE

NO ONE IN THE WORLD NEEDS AN ELEPHANT TUSK BUT AN ELEPHANT. ~ THOMAS SCHMID

A variety of styles of Nobody In The World Needs An Elephant Tusk Except Elephants tops are available at Save The Elephant with all proceeds helping Elephant charities.

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An Elephant Graveyard: 282 Elephant Deaths Registered In Odisha In 3 Years

In Odisha, rapid urbanization, mining and industry, expansion of linear infrastructure and fragmented habitats have sent Elephants into a growing conflict with humans over the last several years.

A TRAIN STOPS TO LET AN ELEPHANT & CALVES CROSS THE EAST COAST RAILWAY IN ODISHA

 A total of 282 Elephants died in Odisha from 2018 through August 31, 2021, the state’s forest minister Bikaram Keshari Arukha said.  The highest number of Elephant deaths (93) took place in 2018-19, followed by 82 in 2019-20, 77 in 2020-21 and 30 till end of August this year. 

UNFORTUNATELY NOT ALL ELEPHANTS ARE SO LUCKY!

As many as 43 of the Elephants were electrocuted, seven were killed by poachers, 13 were hit by trains, four in road accidents and 59 died in other accidents. The rest succumbed to infections — 18 died of anthrax, six of herpes and 77 of other diseases. As many as 34 Elephants died of natural causes and 21 due to unknown reasons. 

Seven Elephants WERE Electrocuted by Sagging Power Lines

The eastern state had 1,976 Elephants in 2017, according to the last census. This was an improvement from 1954 in 2015 and 1930 in 2012, the minister noted at the state assembly.

“Odisha’s forest and environment department has selected 14 traditional Elephant corridors in the state for smooth movement of the Elephants,” he added.

The Minister also informed that the state lost 17 Leopards in this period which included two Royal Bengal Tigers, killed in electrocution and disease separately in 2018-19. Five Leopards were killed in poaching. The Special Task Force of Odisha Police, State Forest department as well as the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau have seized at least 29 Leopard skins since April 2020. Nine Leopard skins were seized by Forest officials in Kalahandi alone in July this year.

Three of the leopard skins seized by forest officials in kalhandi

The Tiger population in Odisha plateaued at 28 between 2014 and 2018, according to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

The number of Leopards in the state, however, more than doubled to 760 in that period, according to the NTCA report released December 21, 2020.  

‘Leopards occupy areas vacated by Tigers and this is one of the main reasons behind the increasing Leopard population in the state, according to LA Singh,  former wildlife research officer of Similipal Tiger Reserve

Leopards also breed more often than Tigers and can survive in almost any type of habitat and need less space, he added. Tigers, the biggest of the big cats, thrive in larger forest expanses, said the expert.

a royal bengal tiger Similipal Tiger Reserve

To curb poaching of wild animals, the State Government has formed anti-poaching and anti-smuggling squads in the sensitive areas.

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Asian Elephants Face New Threat Due To The Illicit Traffic In Skin Trade For Traditional Chinese Medicine And Luxury Goods

A female Asian elephant skinned in Myanmar.

Once targeted for their ivory tusks, Asia’s already endangered elephants are facing a new threat to their survival: Poachers in Myanmar and elsewhere are selling their hides to be turned into purported cures for stomach ulcers and cancer as well as jewellery and prayer beads for sale in China. Elsewhere, the skins are being turned into luxury leather goods from golf bags and designer boots to wallets, belts and even motorcycle seats.

Trafficking in Asian elephant hides has grown over the past four years from small-scale sales of skins to a wholesale commercial trade. In Asia, this includes sales on open, online forums as well as by some Chinese pharmaceutical companies, according to the U.K.-based wildlife conservation group Elephant Family, which believes most of the Chinese products come from illegally traded Asian elephant hides. Legally licensed trade in hides from four African countries is strictly controlled and regulated.

Conservationists fear that elephant skin may even begin to replace ivory as a motive for poaching, and that any legal trade provides a loop-hole for illegal trade. For these reasons, they have urged countries to completely ban its importation.

PIECES OF ELEPHANT SKIN

Asian Elephants live across a vast range of 13 countries, from India to Indonesia, yet their global population of 30,000-50,000 is barely 10% of their African cousins. While all Elephants face the threats of habitat loss, conflict with people, and poaching for ivory, Asian Elephants are also threatened by illicit live trade for the entertainment industry and, most recently, by poaching for the illegal trade in their skins.

An investigation by Elephant Family into the illegal trade in Asian Elephants since 2014, through research, analysis and field investigations. Initially monitoring live trade, they were alarmed to discover a marked  increase in poaching in Myanmar, and seeing images of carcasses found with strips of skin missing but with the rest of the body left largely intact. They began investigating the trade in Elephant skin products both online and in physical markets and, in 2016, exposed this trade to the international conservation community at the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The first conservation organisation to investigate the Elephant skin trade chain, their research revealed that this trade continues to grow both in scope and in volume. Traders are diversifying and experimenting.

Initially, powdered Elephant skin was sold as a traditional medicine ingredient. Then a new trend emerged where dried Elephant skin was carved and polished into prayer beads and other Chinese collectibles, with traders extolling the qualities of the blood-red hue in the translucent subcutaneous layers.

There is now an increase in the online advertising of powdered Elephant skin for sale to, apparently exclusively, buyers in mainland China. Videos posted on marketing sites show images of backyards in Myanmar and Laos being used by traders to carve up chunks of Elephant skin, remove coarse hair with blow-torches and dry it in ovens before grinding it into a fine powder. It is then packaged for sale as Traditional Chinese Medicine for stomach ailments. Field investigations revealed that while some consumers are satisfied with these prepared products delivered to them by courier, more discerning buyers in China’s cities prefer to buy whole skin pieces complete with creases and hair to prove their authenticity, before grinding them into powder themselves.

The main source for Elephant skin is, at present, Myanmar, where officials have identified a poaching crisis that has developed rapidly since 2010. But traders have also mentioned other Asian Elephant range countries. Undoubtedly, the vast majority of known importers, online traders, physical salespeople and consumers are in China. The product labels are printed in Chinese, online traders communicate in  Mandarin and prices are quoted in Chinese currency. In early 2018, the investigation found Elephant skin products on sale in Yunnan, Guangdong, and Fujian provinces of China.

Like many forms of illegal wildlife trade, traffickers are exploiting a traditional, usually medicinal use, to create new trends that drive demand, and allow them to profit from poaching. Of particular concern is the discovery that Chinese pharmaceutical companies are advertising the sale of medicine that contains Asian Elephant skin derivatives, and that China’s State Forestry Administration has apparently issued licenses for these products.

At a time when China has shown commitment to ending its domestic trade in Elephant ivory, it would be troubling and perverse to find that, at the same time, it is creating a new legal demand for Elephant skin products. Conservationists, law enforcement specialists and many governments agree that domestic wildlife markets facilitate the laundering of illicit commodities while simultaneously placing increased demand on law enforcement agencies as they attempt to address a growing and illegal wildlife trade with limited resources, inadequate criminal justice responses and institutional corruption.

The report outlines Elephant Family’s findings and provides evidence of a profoundly worrying trend in Elephant skin trade that severely threatens already fragile populations of Asian Elephants. Moreover, this new trend could easily spread to Africa as has been seen with other species. As one trader told Elephant Family investigators “it’s only skin – who cares if it comes from Asian Elephants or African Elephants”.

A trader in Xishuangbanna, China, weighs a piece of Asian elephant skin in August 2016. This 420.3g piece would cost about $335

The report aims to provide greater insight into the illicit trade in Asian Elephant skin. We also raise critical questions that need answers, and make recommendations to guide urgent action by key stakeholders.

Key Findings Of The Report Found:

Since 2014, the trade in Asian Elephant skin has expanded from small-scale use to wholesale commercial trade as traffickers stimulate demand.

The first account of manufacturing Elephant skin beads was posted online in 2014. Elephant skin powder is now a dominant commodity sold as a medicine for stomach complaints.

Manufacture of Elephant skin products is taking place in Myanmar, Laos and China. The market in China is where skin products can reach several times the value at source. Elephant skin beads and powder are mainly traded through open online forums such as Baidu, and private personal messaging platforms such as WeChat. Traders use only Chinese language on forums and quote prices in Chinese currency.

The primary source of Asian Elephants used in the skin trade now appears to be Myanmar where poaching incidents have increased dramatically since 2010, with Elephant carcasses found with their skin removed entirely or in strips. Most traders also confirm that Elephant skin products use Asian Elephants, a species protected under Appendix I of CITES.

Elephant skin products have been found in physical markets in Mong La, Myanmar, and Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China and in January 2018 were also found in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China.

Documentation shows that China’s State Forestry Administration (SFA) issued licenses for the manufacture and sale of pharmaceutical products containing Elephant skin. These commercially produced products, claiming to contain African and Asian Elephant skin, were advertised for sale by several Chinese companies.

AT RISK

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