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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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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.
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.
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.
GreenDreamsPhotography / Flickr
By Elly Pepper
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).
The 75-year-old U.S. citizen had a stab wound in the neck. His wife, Chryssee Martin, reported the death.
China's ivory trade ban is now in effect, making it illegal to sell and buy ivory in the country.
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.
By Laura G. Shields
Think of the illegal wildlife trade, and elephant tusks and rhino horns come to mind. But another of the world's largest land mammals is slipping under the radar: the common hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) may be at greater risk than previously believed, according to a new analysis of the international trade in hippo teeth.
Hippo ivory, from their large canines and incisors, is an affordable alternative to elephant ivory (international trade in elephant ivory is increasingly restricted). Its legal trade quotas are agreed upon by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). But when researchers looked into CITES trade records for an investigation recently published in the African Journal of Ecology, the numbers looked suspicious.