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Animals
An anti-poaching unit patrols in Kenya's Chyulu Hills. Charlie Shoemaker

The Most Valued Anti-Poaching Equipment May Surprise You

By Heartie Look

In recent years, the battle against wildlife poaching in Africa has taken a high-tech turn. Night-vision goggles, body armor and unmanned aerial vehicles have all become part of the modern ranger armament. But for rangers on the ground, their actual requests are often more everyday—starting with a good pair of socks.

"It is not always the fancy kit that rangers need," said Keith Roberts, executive director for wildlife trafficking at Conservation International (CI). "It is rather the basics that can make all the difference."

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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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Animals
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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Animals
A new mole species named Euroscaptor orlovi discovered in northern Vietnam. WWF

115 New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong

Not every newly-discovered species becomes a cartoon character. But the Vietnamese crocodile lizard (Shinisaurus crocodilurus vietnamensis) has achieved such fame as "Shini," a lizard who teaches the importance of protecting his species to local schoolchildren.

The lizard is just one of 115 species—including a snail-eating turtle and a horseshoe bat—discovered in the Greater Mekong region in 2016. That's an average of more than two new species found each week. A new WWF Report, Stranger Species, documents the work of hundreds of scientists around the world who have discovered previously unknown amphibians, fish, reptiles, plants and mammals in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

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Animals
Melody Lytle / Flickr

The Curious Case of the Phantom Hippo Teeth

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.

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Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Steven dosRemedios / Flickr

Trump Administration Reverses Ban on Elephant Trophy Imports

The Trump administration has agreed to allow the remains of elephants killed in Zimbabwe and Zambia to be brought back to the U.S., a reversal of an Obama-era ban.

In 2014, the President Obama's administration banned the imports of elephant trophies to protect the species. "Additional killing of elephants in these countries, even if legal, is not sustainable and is not currently supporting conservation efforts that contribute towards the recovery of the species," they said at the time.

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Climate
Schooling fairy basslets, Great Barrier Reef. GreensMPs / Flickr

62 Natural Wonders of the World at Risk From Climate Change

By Joe McCarthy

The marshy expanses of the Everglades in Southern Florida contain hundreds of species of animals, including flamingos, alligators and manatees. Clusters of mangroves span its coastline, acting as ecosystem hubs, and if you take a boat through the region, you'll see countless plants that are native to the area.

But the Everglades, which have been around for more than 5,000 years, are collapsing, as saltwater intrudes from rising sea levels, pollution seeps from surrounding industries, invasive species kill off native species, bad water management techniques dry parts of the wetland, and climate change intensifies.

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Meet the 'Pangolin Men' Saving the World's Most Trafficked Mammal

At the Tikki Hywood Trust in Harare, Zimbabwe, a group of charity workers known as the "Pangolin Men" dedicate their lives to saving a prehistoric-looking animal from an increasing threat of extinction.

The pangolin is the only mammal in the world with scales. Sadly, it's this unique feature that gives the pangolin the unfortunate title of the world's most trafficked mammal, with more than a million illegally hunted and killed in just the last decade. All eight species in Africa and Asia are hunted for their scales, meat and use in traditional Asian medicine.

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Animals
A baby-pangolin. The U.S. has been instrumental in the past in combatting wildlife trafficking, a role the nation could abandon under Trump's draconian budget.

Trump Budget Undercuts U.S. Commitment to Global Wildlife Conservation

By William H. Funk

Proposed funding cuts to environmental programs in President Trump's proposed 2018 budget have drawn anxious attention from around the world. But while the biggest numbers deal with rolling back the Obama administration's climate change initiatives, more subtle withdrawals of federal support from lesser known international programs threaten the continued existence of some of the planet's most iconic animals.

President Trump's 2018 budget proposes a 32 percent across-the-board shrinkage of U.S. foreign assistance, affecting hundreds of sustainability, health and environmental programs.

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