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Gabon Makes Huge Ivory Bust

Illegal haul was taken from about 20 elephants: government rep

(Newser) - Two Gabonese men—one of whom reportedly worked for the West African country's water and forest department—have been arrested for allegedly poaching, and a government rep tells Reuters that "We can confirm the seizure of around [440 pounds] of ivory, which represents about 20 elephants." That... More »

Greenland's Vikings Weren't Farmers, They Were Walrus Hunters

They apparently had a lucrative ivory trade going on: researchers

(Newser) - For a long time, scientists wondered why Vikings settled in Greenland as farmers, since livestock doesn't thrive there and the growing season is truncated, notes Hakai Magazine . But while speculation as to why they eventually abandoned the island territory range from climate change to soil erosion , researchers now think... More »

More Elephants Being Killed Than Born

35K killed annually since 2010; deaths driven by illegal ivory trade

(Newser) - A new study tallying the African elephant population has made a stark finding: If poaching continues at its current rate, the animal may be extinct in a century, the BBC reports. "We are shredding the fabric of elephant society and exterminating populations across the continent," says the study'... More »

Poachers Kill One of World's Biggest Elephants

Satao, almost 50, was found mutilated, with his tusks hacked off, in Kenya

(Newser) - An enormous and iconic elephant thought to have been born in the late 1960s—considered one of the last great "tuskers," with ivory that weighed more than 100 pounds and was so big it touched the ground—has been killed by poachers in Tsavo National Park in Kenya.... More »

Obama Cracks Down on US Ivory Sales

Sellers will now have to prove their ivory is legit

(Newser) - The Obama administration today announced a ban on nearly all ivory imports, exports, and sales, along with rules designed to make skirting the ban especially difficult. Under the new rules, all commercial imports of African elephant ivory are banned, including antiques. Most domestic sales will be banned as well; there... More »

Giant Ivory Stockpile to Go Up in Flames

Tusks of 11K elephants will be destroyed in Hong Kong

(Newser) - Hong Kong plans to burn the tusks of an estimated 11,000 elephants in the world's biggest burning of an ivory stockpile. The territory's government says the 28-ton stockpile of contraband ivory is a "management burden" and a "security risk," reports CNN . Hong Kong had... More »

US to Destroy 25 Years of Seized Ivory

Obama administration's move meant as warning

(Newser) - US officials have seized six tons of ivory over the past quarter-century, and this month, they plan to destroy it. The destruction in Denver—by rock-crusher—will be the first of its kind in this country, with the White House hoping to underscore that it won't tolerate poaching, Time ... More »

Activists Hope to Fight Poaching —With Nukes

New test can pinpoint year of elephant's death

(Newser) - As the slaughter of elephants for their ivory continues at its worst rate in decades , conservationists have enlisted an unlikely new weapon in the fight against poaching: Cold War-era nuclear bombs. Scientists have found that radioactive carbon left over from above-ground nuclear tests carried out between 1952 and 1962 makes... More »

US-Funded African Armies Slaughtering Elephants

Poaching is at its highest level in decades

(Newser) - Elephant poaching in Africa is at its highest level in decades, and American taxpayer dollars are helping to fund the frenzied slaughter, the New York Times finds. Soldiers from US-trained and funded armies in Uganda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been implicated in poaching and ivory... More »

2011's Elephant Carnage: Tens of Thousands

Populations on decline across Africa, wildlife groups warn

(Newser) - The mass slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa by poachers has once again reached crisis levels, warns the world body that tracks endangered species. As many as tens of thousands of elephants were slaughtered by poachers last year alone, and the illegal trade in tusks and horns is "... More »

2011: Deadly Year for Elephants

Ivory seizures represent at least 2.5K dead

(Newser) - This year will ring out as one of the deadliest for elephants since ivory sales were banned more than two decades ago. Officials seized tusks from a record 2,500 elephants, and while some of those could be from long-dead animals, the news still isn't good. "As most... More »

Feds Make $1M Ivory Bust

Philadelphia dealer accused of bringing one ton of tusks to US

(Newser) - Tusks from large numbers of elephants killed by poachers in west and central Africa ended up in the hands of a Philadelphia art dealer, federal investigators say. The dealer is accused of paying a co-conspirator to travel to Africa, buy raw ivory for carving, and stain it so the specimens... More »

To Sidestep Ivory Ban, Russia Digs Up Mammoth Tusks

Tusk treasure trove lies beneath Siberian ice

(Newser) - Russia is turning to the Siberian soil to satisfy an appetite for "ethical ivory." Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the worldwide ban on elephant ivory and digging up giant woolly mammoth tusks to sell abroad.Michelle Obama has been spotted wearing jewelry made from the ancient tusks of... More »

Thailand Seizes $2M in Elephant Tusks

Smuggled ivory found in boxes marked computer printers

(Newser) - Thai authorities repeated a warning for tourists not to buy ivory products of any kind in the country after finding a massive haul of tusks at Bangkok's airport Saturday. Officials, acting on a tipoff from authorities in Qatar, uncovered 296 African elephant tusks worth an estimated $2 million in boxes... More »

Elephants on Verge of Extinction

Illegal hunting could kill off African population in 15 years

(Newser) - Within 15 years, African elephants could be extinct as a consequence of rampant ivory poaching, conservation experts say. Africa's elephant population numbers just 600,000, and that number appears to be dwindling by about 38,000 a year. That’s faster than the birth rate. One animal welfare group is... More »

Poachers' Poison Slays Rare Elephant

Giant male ate spiked pineapples

(Newser) - A rare Sumatran elephant died after eating pineapples spiked with poison by poachers in northwestern Indonesia, officials report. The giant 30-year-old male, its tusks ripped out for the ivory, was the ninth Sumatran elephant found dead in the region in the last three months. At least seven of them were... More »

Namibia's Ivory Sale Raises Poaching Fears

Legal auction could lead to more poaching

(Newser) - Namibia kicked off two weeks of ivory auctions yesterday, marking the first time in almost a decade that the elephant tusks have sold legally, reports the Times of London. Seven tons brought $1.18 million from Chinese and Japanese buyers, and 108 tons—the equivalent of 10,000 elephants—will... More »

EBay Bans Ivory Sales

Total ban announced ahead of report showing site fuels trade in wildlife products

(Newser) - EBay will introduce a total ban on ivory sales after the holidays in a bid to prevent elephant poaching, Ars Technica reports. The company banned international sales of ivory on its site in 2007 but critics say it did little to halt the trade in illegal ivory. Conservationists estimate 20,... More »

Numbers Soaring, S. Africa Mulls Elephant Cull

In 13 years since killing ban, overpopulation posing serious threat

(Newser) - South Africa's 1995 ban on culling elephants has proven wildly successful—perhaps too successful, writes Karen Lange in National Geographic. As the population has skyrocketed from 8,000 to 13,000 in the years since, starving elephants are now ravaging vegetation and taxing the nation's ecosystem, forcing experts to consider... More »

UN Approves China to Buy Ivory

Critics say allowing imports plays 'Russian roulette' with elephants' lives

(Newser) - China has been given a green light to begin importing African ivory by a UN body that banned the sale 10 years ago, a decision that has infuriated conservation groups, the Daily Telegraph reports. African states say they need to sell stockpiles of ivory from elephants that are culled or... More »

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