Why We Need to Protect the Extinct Woolly Mammoth | A CITIES Conference Update

THE  VENUS OF BRASSEMPOUY  (FRENCH:  LA DAME DE BRASSEMPOUY , MEANING "LADY OF BRASSEMPOUY", OR  DAME À LA CAPUCHE , "LADY WITH THE HOOD") IS A FRAGMENTARY IVORY FIGURINE. IT WAS DISCOVERED IN A CAVE AT  BRASSEMPOUY , FRANCE IN 1892. ABOUT 25,000 YEARS OLD, IT IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST KNOWN REALISTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF A HUMAN FACE. THE VENUS OF BRASSEMPOUY WAS CARVED FROM MAMMOTH IVORY.  VIA WIKIPEDIA FRANCE.

THE VENUS OF BRASSEMPOUY (FRENCH: LA DAME DE BRASSEMPOUY, MEANING "LADY OF BRASSEMPOUY", OR DAME À LA CAPUCHE, "LADY WITH THE HOOD") IS A FRAGMENTARY IVORY FIGURINE. IT WAS DISCOVERED IN A CAVE AT BRASSEMPOUY, FRANCE IN 1892. ABOUT 25,000 YEARS OLD, IT IS ONE OF THE EARLIEST KNOWN REALISTIC REPRESENTATIONS OF A HUMAN FACE. THE VENUS OF BRASSEMPOUY WAS CARVED FROM MAMMOTH IVORY. VIA WIKIPEDIA FRANCE.

Why We Need to Protect the Extinct Woolly Mammoth | A CITIES Conference Update

By Zara Bending, Associate, Centre for Environmental Law, Macquarie University. First published on The Conversation.

An audacious world-first proposal to protect an extinct species was debated on the global stage last week.

The plan to regulate the trade of woolly mammoth ivory was proposed, but ultimately withdrawn from an international conference on the trade of endangered species.

Instead, delegates agreed to consider the question again in three years, after a study of the effect of the mammoth ivory trade on global ivory markets.

Why protect an extinct species?

The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement regulating trade in endangered wildlife, signed by 183 countries. Every three years the signatories meet to discuss levels of protection for trade in various animals and their body parts.

The most audacious proposal at this year’s conference, which concluded yesterday in Geneva, was Israel’s suggestion to list the Woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) as a protected species.

Specifically, it aimed to list the woolly mammoth in accordance with the Convention’s “lookalike” provision. Once woolly mammoth ivory is carved into small pieces, it is indistinguishable from elephant ivory without a microscope. The proposal is designed to protect living elephants, by preventing “laundering” or mislabelling of illegal elephant ivory.

Had it passed, it would have been the first time an extinct species has been listed to save its modern-day cousins. Most populations of woolly mammoths went extinct after the last ice age, 10,000-40,000 years ago.

Debunking Myths about the Impact of Elephants on Large Trees

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Debunking Myths about the Impact of Elephants on Large Trees

By Ross Harvey, Independent Economist; PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town. First published on The Conversation.

Elephants are often accused of being responsible for the unsustainable loss of large trees in protected areas. This is because they strip bark and break branches. They can also have a heavier impact through uprooting trees or snapping stems. They have forage preferences too. Marula, knobthorn and red bushwillow are among their favourites.

This type of behaviour has raised concerns over the effects of elephants on large trees in protected areas such as South Africa’s Kruger National Park. As a result, elephant populations have been managed to preserve trees and the environment in a static state.

Researchers Dr Michelle Henley and Robin Cook recently set out to establish whether elephants are in fact responsible for large tree mortality.

They did this by reviewing the science and evaluating how effective past strategies have been at mitigating large tree loss, given that such loss was typically attributed to high elephant densities. These strategies usually focused on controlling elephant numbers lethally, through either culling or hunting.

Prince Harry, Nat Geo, Steve Boyes Take Us 'Into The Okavango' A Fragile Ecosystem We Simply MUST Save

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Prince Harry, Nat Geo, Steve Boyes Take Us 'Into The Okavango' A Fragile Ecosystem We Simply MUST Save

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, discussed his ‘20 year connection’ with Angola and Botswana, posting a heartfelt Instagram message on Thursday. The tribute was created in conjunction with a fundraising event promoting National Geographic’s ‘Into The Okavango’ documentary film.

Harry explained that he is ‘grateful’ to see National Geographic partnering with both the Angolan government and The Halo Trust to promote the sustainable management of the Okavango Delta’s resources.

Criminals Will Not Leave 500,000 Tons Of Woolly Mammoth Ivory Tusks Buried In Arctic

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Criminals Will Not Leave 500,000 Tons Of Woolly Mammoth Ivory Tusks Buried In Arctic

The upcoming CITIES conference, taking place in Sri Lanka from May 23 to June 3 and attended by 183 countries, will consider the Israeli proposal to give protection status to the woolly mammoth, a species extinct for 10,000 years.

Supporters of the Israeli proposal argue that affording the prehistoric mammoth Appendix II protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)could play a vital role in saving elephants who are being poached at the rate of around 30,000 animals a year.

Many argue that banning woolly mammoth ivory will only drive the excavation of woolly mammoth ivory into organized crime syndicates. A ban on woolly mammoth ivory will surely drive up the price of ivory, making it impossible to believe that the estimated 500,000 tons of mammoth tusks buried in the Arctic will remain there untouched.

‘Too Many Elephants’ in Africa? Here’s How Peaceful Coexistence with Human Communities Can Help

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‘Too Many Elephants’ in Africa? Here’s How Peaceful Coexistence with Human Communities Can Help

Africa’s elephant population has plummeted from roughly a million in 1970 to around 400,000 today – a decline which is largely blamed on poaching for their ivory tusks. At its peak in 2011, poaching claimed 36,000 elephants a year, or one every 15 minutes.

Many of us are familiar with these statistics thanks to campaigns to end the ivory trade. But with our attention focused on poaching, an arguably greater threat to Africa’s elephants has emerged. In the time that Africa’s elephant population has crashed, its human population has boomed. The number of people living in Africa has doubled since 1982, reaching a billion in 2009, and is expected to double again by 2050.

To feed and house this growing population, natural habitats have been fragmented by roads and railways and entire swathes have been converted to farmland and settlements. As a result, Africa’s elephants have been squeezed into smaller and increasingly isolated pockets of land. It’s very possible that the future for all of Africa’s elephants will resemble what is currently seen in South Africa.