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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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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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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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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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World-Renowned Ivory and Rhino Horn Investigator Killed in Kenya

The conservation world is mourning the loss of renowned rhino horn and elephant ivory trade investigator Esmond Bradley Martin, who was found dead Sunday at his home in Nairobi‚ Kenya.

The 75-year-old U.S. citizen had a stab wound in the neck. His wife, Chryssee Martin, reported the death.

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Pauline Guilmot / Flickr

Hong Kong Bans Ivory Sales, UK Considers Similar Move

By Morgan Lynch

Hong Kong banned the sale of ivory on Wednesday, the latest blow to an illegal trade that has brought elephants to the brink of extinction.

The news came as lawmakers in the United Kingdom were considering a similar move, The Guardian reported earlier this month.

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A Kenyan ranger guards poached elephant tusks in preparation for the destruction of 105 tons of ivory and a ton of rhino horn in April. Mwangi Kirubi / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Ivory Trade in China Is Now Banned

China's ivory trade ban is now in effect, making it illegal to sell and buy ivory in the country.

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Elephant at Réserve Africaine de Sigean. Pauline Guilmot / Flickr

Japan's Lax Regulations Threaten Chinese Ivory Ban

Japan's failure to prevent illegal ivory exports could weaken China's coming ban on domestic ivory trade, conservationists said Wednesday.

The warning—made by Traffic, a wildlife trade monitoring group—comes just more than a week before the Chinese government will ban ivory retail sales and follows the closure of ivory factories in the country last March.

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