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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.
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- Gonzalo Could be First Atlantic Hurricane of the 2020 Season ›
- Hanna Pummels Texas as First Atlantic Hurricane of 2020 and Earliest ‘H’ Storm on Record - EcoWatch ›
- Tropical Storm Warnings Issued for Puerto Rico, Eastern Caribbean as Earliest ‘I’ Storm Threatens to Form - EcoWatch ›
- Isaias Lashes East Coast With Deadly Winds and Rain - EcoWatch ›
- 2020 Hurricane Season Expected to Be Most Active Since 1980s - EcoWatch ›
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service<p>"The shipment violated the Lacey Act and included CITES listed species," Gavin Shire, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Chief of Public Affairs, told <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/04/us/shark-fins-seized-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a>. "We are limited to what we can say about this as it is an ongoing case."</p> <p>While it is illegal in the U.S. to cut off a fin from a live shark and discard the rest of the animal, it is not illegal to traffic or trade shark fins in the U.S. </p> <p>"The recent seizure of more than 1,000 pounds of shark fins in Miami from potentially protected species demonstrates why we need a federal shark fin ban," said Ariana Spawn, an ocean advocate at the nonprofit advocacy group Oceana, as <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/04/us/shark-fins-seized-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">CNN reported</a>. She urged the Senate to pass the <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/877" target="_blank">Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act</a> (S.877), which would ban the trade of fins nationwide.</p>
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- The Surprise Middleman in the Illegal Shark Fin Trade: The U.S. ... ›
The world's oldest known living black rhino has died at age 57.
Nutrient Content is Often Altered During Cooking<p>Cooking food improves digestion and increases the absorption of many nutrients.</p><p>For example, the protein in cooked <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs" target="_blank">eggs</a> is 180% more digestible than that of raw eggs.</p><p>However, some cooking methods reduce several key nutrients.</p><p>The following nutrients are often reduced during cooking:</p><ul><li><strong>water-soluble vitamins:</strong> vitamin C and the B vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12)</li><li><strong>fat-soluble vitamins:</strong> vitamins A, D, E, and K</li><li><strong>minerals:</strong> primarily potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium</li></ul><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Although cooking improves digestion and the absorption of many nutrients, it may reduce levels of some vitamins and minerals.</p>
Boiling, Simmering, and Poaching<p>Boiling, simmering, and poaching are similar methods of water-based cooking.</p><p>These techniques differ by water temperature:</p><ul><li><strong>poaching:</strong> less than 180°F (82°C)</li><li><strong>simmering:</strong> 185–200°F (85–93°C)</li><li><strong>boiling:</strong> 212°F (100°C)</li></ul><p>Vegetables are generally a great source of vitamin C, but a large amount of it is lost when they're cooked in water.</p><p>In fact, boiling reduces vitamin C content more than any other cooking method. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/broccoli" target="_blank">Broccoli</a>, spinach, and lettuce may lose up to 50% or more of their vitamin C when boiled.</p><p>Because vitamin C is <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/water-soluble-vitamins" target="_blank">water-soluble</a> and sensitive to heat, it can leach out of vegetables when they're immersed in hot water.</p><p>B vitamins are similarly heat sensitive. Up to 60% of thiamine, niacin, and other B vitamins may be lost when meat is simmered and its juices run off.</p><p>However, when the liquid containing these juices is consumed, 100% of the minerals and 70–90% of B vitamins are retained.<a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/80400525/Data/retn/retn06.pdf" target="_blank"></a></p><p>On the other hand, boiling fish was shown to preserve <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3" target="_blank">omega-3 fatty acid</a> content significantly more than frying or microwaving.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>While water-based cooking methods cause the greatest losses of water-soluble vitamins, they have very little effect on omega-3 fats.</p>
Grilling and Broiling<p>Grilling and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/broil-vs-bake" target="_blank">broiling</a> are similar methods of cooking with dry heat.</p><p>When grilling, the heat source comes from below, but when broiling, it comes from above.</p><p>Grilling is one of the most popular cooking methods because of the great flavor it gives food.</p><p>However, up to 40% of B vitamins and minerals may be lost during grilling or broiling when the nutrient-rich juice drips from the meat.<a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/80400525/Data/retn/retn06.pdf" target="_blank"></a></p><p>There are also concerns about polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are potentially cancer-causing substances that form when meat is grilled and fat drips onto a hot surface.</p><p>However, researchers have found that PAHs can be decreased by 41–89% if drippings are removed and smoke is minimized.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Grilling and broiling provide great flavor but also reduce levels of B vitamins. Also, grilling generates potentially cancer-causing substances.</p>
Microwaving<p>Microwaving is an easy, convenient, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microwave-ovens-and-health" target="_blank">safe</a> method of cooking.</p><p>Short cooking times and reduced exposure to heat preserve the nutrients in microwaved food.</p><p>In fact, studies have found that microwaving is the best method for retaining the antioxidant activity of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic" target="_blank">garlic</a> and mushrooms.</p><p>Meanwhile, about 20–30% of the vitamin C in green vegetables is lost during microwaving, which is less than most cooking methods.<a href="http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/NFS-11-2012-0123" target="_blank"></a></p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Microwaving is a safe cooking method that preserves most nutrients due to short cooking times.</p>
Roasting and Baking<p>Roasting and baking refer to cooking food in an oven with dry heat.</p><p>Although these terms are somewhat interchangeable, roasting is typically used for meat while baking is used for bread, muffins, cake, and similar foods.</p><p>Most vitamin losses are minimal with this cooking method, including vitamin C.</p><p>However, due to long cooking times at high temperatures, the B vitamins in roasted meat may decline by as much as 40%.<a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/80400525/Data/retn/retn06.pdf" target="_blank"></a></p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Roasting or baking does not have a significant effect on most vitamins and minerals, except for B vitamins.</p>
Sautéing and Stir-Frying<p>With sautéing and stir-frying, food is cooked in a saucepan over medium to high heat in a small amount of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-cooking-oils" target="_blank">oil</a> or butter.</p><p>These techniques are very similar, but with stir-frying, the food is stirred often, the temperature is higher, and the cooking time is shorter.</p><p>In general, this is a healthy way to prepare food.</p><p>Cooking for a short time without water prevents the loss of B vitamins, and the addition of fat improves the absorption of plant compounds and antioxidants.</p><p>One study found that the absorption of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/beta-carotene-benefits" target="_blank">beta carotene</a> was 6.5 times greater in stir-fried carrots than in raw ones.</p><p>In another study, blood lycopene levels increased 80% more when people consumed tomatoes sautéed in olive oil rather than without it.</p><p>On the other hand, stir-frying has been shown to significantly reduce the amount of vitamin C in broccoli and red cabbage.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Sautéing and stir-frying improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and some plant compounds, but they decrease the amount of vitamin C in vegetables.</p>
Frying<p>Frying involves cooking food in a large amount of fat — usually oil — at a high temperature. The food is often coated with batter or bread crumbs.</p><p>It's a popular way of preparing food because the skin or coating maintains a seal, which ensures that the inside remains moist and cooks evenly.</p><p>The fat used for frying also makes the food taste very good.</p><p>However, not all foods are appropriate for frying.</p><p>Fatty fish are the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-omega-3-rich-foods" target="_blank">best sources</a> of omega-3 fatty acids, which have many health benefits. However, these fats are very delicate and prone to damage at high temperatures.</p><p>For example, frying tuna has been shown to degrade its omega-3 content by up to 70–85%, while baking causes only minimal losses.</p><p>In contrast, frying preserves vitamin C and B vitamins, and it may also increase the amount of fiber in potatoes by converting their starch into resistant starch.</p><p>When oil is heated to a high temperature for a long period of time, toxic substances called aldehydes are formed. Aldehydes have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases.</p><p>The type of oil, temperature, and length of cooking time affect the amount of aldehydes produced. Reheating oil also increases aldehyde formation.</p><p>If you're going to fry food, don't overcook it, and use one of the <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthiest-oil-for-deep-frying" target="_blank">healthiest oils for frying</a>.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Frying makes food taste delicious, and it can provide some benefits when healthy oils are used. It's best to avoid frying fatty fish and minimize the frying time of other foods.</p>
Steaming<p>Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins, which are sensitive to heat and water.<span></span></p><p>Researchers have found that steaming broccoli, spinach, and lettuce reduces their vitamin C content by only 9–15%.</p><p>The downside is that steamed vegetables may taste bland. However, this is easy to remedy by adding some seasoning and oil or butter after cooking.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>Steaming is one of the best cooking methods for preserving nutrients, including water-soluble vitamins.</p>
Tips to Maximize Nutrient Retention During Cooking<p>Here are 10 tips to reduce nutrient loss while cooking:</p><ol><li>Use as little water as possible when poaching or boiling.</li><li>Consume the liquid left in the pan after cooking vegetables.</li><li>Add back juices from meat that drip into the pan.</li><li>Don't peel vegetables until after cooking them. Better yet, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peeling-fruits-veggies" target="_blank">don't peel at all</a> to maximize their fiber and nutrient density.</li><li>Cook vegetables in smaller amounts of water to reduce the loss of vitamin C and B vitamins.</li><li>Try to eat any cooked vegetables within a day or two, as their vitamin C content may continue to decline when the cooked food is exposed to air.</li><li>Cut food after — rather than before — cooking, if possible. When food is cooked whole, less of it is exposed to heat and water.</li><li>Cook vegetables for only a few minutes whenever possible.</li><li>When cooking meat, poultry, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-fish" target="_blank">fish</a>, use the shortest cooking time needed for safe consumption.</li><li>Don't use baking soda when cooking vegetables. Although it helps maintain color, vitamin C will be lost in the alkaline environment produced by baking soda.</li></ol><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p><strong></strong>There are many ways to preserve the nutrient content of foods without sacrificing taste or other qualities.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>It's important to select the right cooking method to maximize the nutritional quality of your meal.</p><p>However, there is no perfect cooking method that retains all nutrients.</p><p>In general, cooking for shorter periods at lower temperatures with minimal water will produce the best results.</p><p>Don't let the nutrients in your food go down the drain.</p>
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By Fred Kockott
Wildlife ACT response team with the bodies of 13 white-backed vultures, poisoned for the traditional medicine trade. Wildlife ACT / Mongabay<p>Nearby was the body of an impala — snared, killed, and laced with poison. The rangers burned all the contaminated carcasses to ash to remove the poison from the ecosystem.</p><p>It is the fourth vulture poisoning incident in northern Zululand this year, bringing the total recorded number of vultures harvested for body parts in this region alone to 53. The actual number of birds killed is believed to be much higher as many incidents are never detected.</p><p>The <a href="https://www.ewt.org.za/what-we-do/what-we-do-species/vultures-for-africa/" target="_blank">Endangered WildLife Trust's (EWT) Vultures for Africa Programme</a> manager, Andre Botha, said it was difficult to quantify how many vultures are deliberately poisoned for body parts.</p><p>According to records kept by EWT, more than 1,200 vultures have been deliberately poisoned in Southern and Eastern Africa this year. Culprits include poachers who poison the carcasses of elephant and other game in an apparent effort to conceal illegal activities from rangers. These poisonings are referred to as "sentinel poisonings", as vultures circling over poached animals alert rangers to the killings.</p>
Poisoned vulture: more than 1,200 vultures have been deliberately poisoned in Southern and Eastern Africa in 2019. Wildlife ACT / Mongabay<p>"Vultures provide critically important ecosystem services by cleaning up carcasses thus reducing the spread of dangerous diseases such as anthrax and rabies and resulting in highly significant economic and human health benefits," said Brent Coverdale, an animal scientist for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife at the symposium. "We really can't afford to lose them."</p><p>As vultures are protected by law, it is illegal to possess or kill any of the six vulture species found in South Africa. Nevertheless, deliberate killings continue.</p><p>Roberts said the latest poisoning incident had been reported to local police.</p><p>"We are hoping this leads to an arrest," said Roberts. "If the illegal harvest of these birds is not halted, then extinction may be just around the corner and the services that they provide within the ecosystem will be lost forever."</p><p>As part of a bid to save vulture populations, managers of conservation areas and private game reserves in South Africa are collaborating to <a href="https://news.mongabay.com/2019/11/lift-off-for-first-african-vulture-safe-zones/" target="_blank">create safe havens for existing vulture populations</a>.</p><p><em><em>Fred Kockott is the founding director of <a href="https://rovingreporters.co.za/" target="_blank">Roving Reporters</a>, a journalism training agency that focuses on environmental, social and justice issues.</em></em></p><p><em>Additional reporting by Mlu Mdletshe, Roving Reporters.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://news.mongabay.com/2019/12/alarm-over-mass-vulture-poisoning-in-south-africa/" target="_blank">Mongabay</a>.</em></p>
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Are tigers extinct in Laos?
That's the conclusion of a detailed new study that found no evidence wild tigers still exist in the country.
Illegal wildlife snares in Laos. Bill Robichaud / Global Wildlife Conservation / CC BY 2.0<p>The loss of tigers in Laos was an avoidable, if not unexpected, tragedy. The most recent <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/tiger-populations-increasing/" target="_blank">worldwide tiger population estimates</a>, released in April 2016, put the number of tigers remaining in the country at all of two. The observation of those last two Laotian tigers came from the first year of the camera survey; they were never seen again — except, in all likelihood, by the trappers who killed them.</p><p>"Our team did what we could with our limited resources to conserve the species," said Rasphone. "We did our best despite being defeated by the high international demand in the illegal wildlife trade for this species."</p><p>Their deaths continue the <a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/tigers-at-risk/" target="_blank">slow decline of the Indochinese tiger</a> (<em>Panthera tigris tigris</em>). Today their only healthy populations remain in Thailand, which at last count had about 189 wild tigers. The Indochinese tiger (previously considered its own subspecies) also persists at unsustainable levels in China (about 7 tigers), Vietnam (fewer than 5) and Myanmar (no reliable population count).</p><p>Unfortunately, the news of tigers' extirpation in Laos hasn't generated much attention in the country.</p>
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Leaders from three international NGOs — the United Nations, the World Health Organization and WWF International — teamed up to issue a stark warning that pandemics like the coronavirus are a direct result of the destruction of nature caused by humans.
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By Sonya Angelica Diehn
Dams are often touted as environmentally friendly. Although they do represent a renewable source of energy, a closer look reveals that they are far from green. DW lays out the biggest environmental problems of mega-dams.
1. Dams Alter Ecosystems<p>Water is life — and since dams block water, that impacts life downstream, both for ecosystems and people. In the case of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/ethiopia-egypt-sudan-make-slow-progress-in-nile-dam-row/a-52015611" target="_blank">Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)</a>, which is being built in Ethiopia and is set to be Africa's largest source of hydroelectric power, Egypt is concerned it will receive less water for things like agriculture.</p><p>Downstream ecosystems rely not only on water, but also on sediment, both of which are held back by big dams. As solid materials build up in a manmade reservoir, downstream land becomes less fertile and riverbeds can become deeper or even erode away. <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/115/47/11891" target="_blank">Emilio Moran</a>, a professor of geography and environment at Michigan State University in the US, described sediment loss of 30 to 40% as a result of large dams.</p><p>"Rivers carry sediment that feeds the fish, it feeds the entire vegetation along the river. So, when you stop sediment flowing freely down the streams, you have a dead river."</p><p>And ecosystems may have adapted to natural flooding, which dams take away. </p><p>Mega-dams also often have a large footprint on land upstream. Aside from displacing human communities, flooding to create a reservoir also kills plants, and leaves <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/tanzanias-biggest-wildlife-reserve-under-threat/a-43902762" target="_blank">animals to drown or find new homes</a>. Reservoirs can also further fragment valuable habitat and cut off migratory corridors. </p>
2. Dams Reduce Biodiversity and Cause Extinction<p>Aquatic species, particularly fish, are vulnerable to the impacts of dams. Moran says the Itaipu Dam, which was constructed on the border between Paraguay and Brazil in the 1970s and 1980s, resulted in a 70 percent loss of biodiversity.</p><p>"On the Tucuruí Dam that was built in the 80s in the Amazon," he added, "there was a 60% drop in productivity of fish."</p><p>Many fish species rely on the ability to move about freely in a river, be it to seek food or return to where they were born. Migratory species are badly affected by the presence of dams. In 2016, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported a 99% drop in catches of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/poaching-dams-imperil-ancient-danube-fish/a-43907515" target="_blank">sturgeon</a> and paddlefish — both of which are migratory — over a period of three decades. Overfishing and river alteration were cited as major threats to the species' survival. </p><p>A <a href="http://www.mrcmekong.org/highlights/the-study-on-sustainable-management-and-development-of-the-mekong-river-including-impacts-of-mainstream-hydropower-projects/" target="_blank">2018 study</a> predicted that fish stocks on <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/a-dam-building-race-threatens-the-mekong-river/a-50049206" target="_blank">Asia's Mekong River</a> could drop by 40% as a result of dam projects – with consequences not only for biodiversity, but for the people whose lives and livelihoods depend on those fish.</p><p>The stakes for biodiversity are particularly high for animals threatened with extinction. And not only for aquatic species. The <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/new-orangutan-species-found-in-indonesian-forest/a-41217498" target="_blank">Tapanuli orangutan</a> — the Earth's rarest ape, with only 500 individuals left — could finally be pushed to the brink if a planned hydroelectric project in Sumatra, Indonesia, is completed. Dams can literally snuff out species. </p>
3. Dams Contribute to Climate Change (and Are Affected by It)<p>As reservoirs fill, upstream forests are flooded, eliminating their function as carbon sinks. As the drowned vegetation decomposes, decaying plants in manmade reservoirs release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. That makes reservoirs sources of emissions — particularly those in <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/forest-sos-earths-green-lungs-disappear/a-44908586" target="_blank">tropical forests</a>, where there is dense growth. It's estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from dams amount to about <a href="https://academic.oup.com/bioscience/article/66/11/949/2754271" target="_blank">a billion tons annually</a>, making it a significant global source.</p><p>And as the climate changes, more frequent and prolonged drought means dams will capture less water, resulting in <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/hydropower-supply-dries-up-with-climate-change/a-42472070" target="_blank">lower electricity production</a>. Countries dependent on hydropower will be especially vulnerable as temperatures keep rising. </p><p>Moran described a vicious circle, for example in Brazil, which gets 60 to 70% of its energy from hydropower: "If you wipe out half the rainforest, there will a loss of half the rainfall. And then there won't be enough water to provide the amount of power from those dams," he explained. </p>
4. Dams Reduce Water Quality<p>Manmade reservoirs trap fertilizers that run into the water from surrounding land. In addition, in some developing countries, sewage flows directly into the reservoirs. This kind of pollution can result in algae blooms that suck the oxygen out of the water, making it acidic and potentially harmful to people and animals.</p><p>Still water in large manmade lakes is warm at the top and cold at the bottom, which can also affect water quality. While warm water promotes the growth of harmful algae, the cold water that is often released through turbines from the bottom of a reservoir may contain damagingly high mineral concentrations. </p><p>In some cases, water in manmade reservoirs is of such bad quality that it is not even fit to drink. </p>
5. Dams Waste Water<p>Since more surface area of the water gets exposed to the sun, reservoirs result in much more evaporation than the natural flow of the river before that dam existed. It's estimated at least 7% of the total amount of freshwater needed for human activities evaporates from the world's reservoirs every year.</p><p>This effect is made worse in hot regions, Moran pointed out. "Certainly if you had a reservoir in a tropical area with high temperatures, there is going to be a lot of evaporation," he said. And big reservoirs "are, of course, evaporating constantly."</p><p>Reservoirs are also a haven for invasive plant species, and weed-covered reservoir banks can lead to evapotranspiration — or the transfer of water from the land to the atmosphere through evaporation from soil and transpiration from plants. Such evapotranspiration amounts to six times more than the evaporation from the water's surface. And there is even evidence that dams increase water use and promote water waste by creating a false sense of water security. </p><p>In the face of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/water-shortages-pose-growing-risk-to-global-stability/a-50394997" target="_blank">dwindling global freshwater resources</a>, some question whether dams should be reconsidered. </p>
So What Are the Alternatives?<p>The evidence is damning. But if mega-dams have so many harmful environmental effects, what are the alternatives? Although some green groups point to small hydropower as being more ecologically sound, Moran is skeptical. "A dam is a dam - it's blocking the fish, it's blocking the sediment."</p><p>He pointed to the need to consider not just how to maximize energy production, but also maintain ecological productivity. One option he cited is the use of in-stream turbines. </p><p>And many environment advocates agree that other renewable energies such as solar and wind can provide clean electricity at a far lower environmental cost. </p>
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By John R. Platt
Earlier this month a team of scientists announced they've developed a high-tech way to help save rhinos from poachers: They propose fabricating fake horns out of horse hair (which is also composed of inert keratin, like human fingernails) and then flooding the illegal market with their products, thereby lowering the price of powdered rhino horns so much that no one will ever want to kill another rhino again.
Confiscated rhino horns about to be burned.
Joanna Gilkeson / USFWS<p>Let's get to the ethical aspects of this trade in fakes. For one thing many consumers — those who actually use powdered rhino horn as "medicine" instead of holding on to it for eventual sale — are already being exploited. They're buying into false claims that rhino horn has curative qualities, including the recent and spurious assertion that it can <a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22229664-500-rhino-horn-isnt-a-hangover-cure-or-a-cancer-treatment/" target="_blank">treat cancer</a>. By selling fake rhino horns, you become complicit in that lie and directly harm people who could, and should, seek more appropriate and effective medical care.</p><p>Another ethical quandary: How are you going to get these products into the black market without putting your undercover operatives in direct harm from the violent criminals who run wildlife trafficking networks? And do we really think anyone's going to be able to squeeze these products into the same illegal market that professional law-enforcement operations haven't been able to shut down? The chances of success there seem slim — and potentially dangerous.</p><p>Finally let's address the invisible gorilla in the room: Selling fake rhino horn doesn't do anything to resolve the inequality that inspires poaching. More often than not, people hunt illegally to support their families. The monies they get from poaching may mean the difference between comfortable living and going hungry. Sure, their pay comes from the people higher up the clandestine ladder — and sure, some poachers are more criminally minded themselves — but if we want to solve the problem of poaching, we always have to factor in the fate of people on the ground.</p><p>Having said all this, I have to point out that the current idea to sell fake rhino horns is just lab science. The researchers fully acknowledge that they don't have an actual initiative to get these products into the market. They say it's up to someone else to actually figure out how to make their idea a reality — so for now it's basically a thought exercise, not a concrete plan.</p><p>I have a better idea: Let's leave this fake horn concept in the lab where it belongs and commit to more practical initiatives to help rhinos — and people — in threatened habitats, where real assistance is desperately needed. With poaching and illegal trafficking still running rampant, rhinos don't have time left for anything less.</p>
By John R. Platt
When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."
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The UK instituted the world's toughest ban on ivory last year which eliminated all sales of ivory and rankled collectors and dealers. Antique dealers sued in court to be able to continue to sell existing ivory and argued that the ban violated European law. The high court in the UK, however, struck down that argument earlier this week and said the UK's ban is fully legal, as The Guardian reported.
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