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Animals
Circus elephants. Laura LaRose / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

New Jersey Is First State to Ban Wild Animal Circus Acts

It is now illegal to use elephants, tigers and other wild and exotic animals in traveling animal acts in New Jersey, the first state to mandate such a move.

Last week, Gov. Phil Murphy signed "Nosey's Law," the namesake of a 36-year-old African elephant with crippling arthritis that was forced to travel around the country, including to the Garden State, for traveling circus acts and suffered abuse, according to a press release from the governor's office.

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Campaigners say that the EU's domestic ivory trade puts elephants like these at risk from poachers. Ikiwaner / GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

Why Is the European Commission Backtracking on a Full Ivory Ban?

From bee-killing pesticides to single-use plastics, we can usually rely on the European Union to ban substances and activities that harm wildlife. That's why it's shocking and saddening to learn that the European Commission is walking back a commitment to end its domestic ivory trade, as The Independent reported early Thursday.

The EU banned raw ivory exports in 2017, but many rightly argue that this is not enough to discourage poachers from targeting elephants and slipping illegal items into the EU's legal trade. The U.S., China and the UK have all moved forward with full bans, so the EU is uncharacteristically behind the times on this one.

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Romsai the elephant and pianist Paul Barton. Paul Barton / YouTube

Man Playing Piano to Comfort Blind Elephants Is All We Need Right Now

Update, Nov. 7: Following the publication of this post, EcoWatch received feedback from PETA and readers stating that Elephants World is not a sanctuary because its treatment of elephants includes the use of bullhooks and visitors sitting on the elephants' backs. We contacted Elephants World and a representative said that their mahouts use bullhooks to prevent stronger elephants from attacking weaker elephants or visitors. "For emergencies like this our mahouts still carry the bull hooks. For the safety of the elephants as well as the visitors," the representative said. They also said that they do not allow visitors to sit on the animals. "This was something we did many years ago, and have stopped doing since we don't feel it's completely animal friendly," the representative said.

Meet Lam Duan, a blind elephant who lives at Elephants World, a sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Her name translates to "tree with yellow flowers," she loves corn and jackfruit and she's got an ear for classical music.

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Ola Jennersten / WWF-Sweden

Online Ivory Trade Perpetuated by Yahoo Japan, Weak Legislation

Yahoo Japan is the single biggest online platform for elephant ivory sales in Japan, according to a new TRAFFIC investigation, which recorded a staggering 4,414 ivory items plus 35 whole tusks for sale over a four-week period in June and July 2018.

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Elephants in Botswana, Chobe National Park. i_pinz / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

87 Elephants Killed for Ivory Near Botswana Sanctuary

Update, Sept. 13: The bottom of this article has been updated with a statement from the Botswana government.

At least 87 elephants were killed for their tusks near the Okavango Delta wildlife sanctuary in Botswana—the largest scale of poaching deaths ever seen in Africa, according to conservation nonprofit Elephants Without Borders.

They "discovered the alarming rate while flying the Botswana government aerial [elephant] census," the organization said in a Facebook post.

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Elephant eyelash at Tsavo East National Park , Kenya. Worldwide Features / Barcroft Me / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Wild-Caught Elephants Can Die Up to 7 Years Earlier

Catching an elephant from the wild can shorten its life by several years, a new study shows.

For the study, published Tuesday in Nature Communications, researchers studied records of 5,000 timber elephants in Myanmar to understand the effects of capture. They determined that capturing and taming wild-caught elephants resulted in a median lifespan that is 3–7 years shorter than their captive-born counterparts.

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Pexels

Can We Protect Elephants by Eavesdropping on Their Underground Messages?

By Jason Bittel

In the late 1990s, scientists discovered that elephants had a secret way of communicating, a vocalization so low in frequency it is imperceptible to the human ear. It's called infrasound. The ponderous pachyderms transmit these secret messages at least partly through the ground. When an elephant really lets loose, its infrasound can reverberate almost four miles through the rocks and sands of the savanna.

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Pexels

3 Reasons Elephants Make the Best Mothers

By Morgan Lynch

Being an elephant mother is a full-time job—and then some.

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GreenDreamsPhotography / Flickr

Great News for Elephants: UK to Introduce Legislation Banning Its Ivory Market

By Elly Pepper

The UK government announced Tuesday that it will soon introduce new primary legislation introducing a near-total ivory ban.

The announcement comes several months after the UK's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs commenced a public comment period on an impressive proposed ivory ban. About 130,000 individuals and organizations responded—88 percent of which were in favor of the ban—making it one of the largest consultations in UK history (see a summary of those responses here).

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