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.
By Mike Gaworecki
A team of marine mammal experts assembled by the Mexican government created a project called Vaquita Conservation, Protection and Recovery (VaquitaCPR) that aims to capture the remaining 30 vaquitas (Phocoena sinus) and keep them safe in specially built floating "sea pens" until the species' survival is no longer threatened by the illegal trade and fishing activities that have driven them to the brink of extinction.
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.
By Jason Bittel
Scientists have discovered a new orangutan species in the mountainous forests of northern Sumatra. Of course, the Tapanuli orangutan has been here for quite a while—but it's new to us!
"Discovering a new species of great ape in this day and age just shows how little we know about the world around us and how much there still is to learn," said Erik Meijaard, a conservation scientist at the Australian National University and one of the authors of the new paper about the discovery, published online today in the journal Current Biology.
By Jason Bittel
The kiwi is a small, flightless bird that spends most of the day underground. At night, these needle-billed, chicken-size floofs emerge to hunt insects, crayfish, seeds and fruit, but as they waddle through New Zealand's forests, they create invisible scent trails. By morning, kiwis have often unwittingly led a predator back to their burrows.
For most of their existence, kiwis had to deal only with a few avian predators, all of which are now extinct. But for the past 800 years, ever since humans and their pets first set foot on New Zealand, dogs have become one of the kiwi's greatest curses. Sure, cats (also introduced) eat kiwi chicks too. So do stoats (also introduced). And rats (yup, introduced) compete with kiwis for food. But dogs (both wild and domestic) take a grisly toll on the adults. Because kiwis lack a breastbone, even a small bite can crush them, according to New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC). "A dog can kill a kiwi by just giving it a playful push," the DOC website told us.
A project to save a small, critically endangered porpoise called the vaquita in the Gulf of California succeeded in capturing a 6-month-old calf in mid-October.
Veterinarians noticed signs of stress, so they made the decision to release it back into the wild, rather than keep it in a sea pen.
The project's leaders are heartened by the experience and hope to round up more vaquita to keep them safe from the still-present threat of gillnet entanglement in the northern Sea of Cortez.
For the first time, a team of scientists has captured and then released a vaquita (Phocoena sinus), a rare porpoise in the Gulf of California, as part of a project called VaquitaCPR aimed at hauling the critically endangered species back from the edge of extinction.
Wild tigers may be on their way back to Kazakhstan.
This news is surprising for a few reasons. First, most people associate tigers with the jungles of India or Sumatra, even the snowy slopes of eastern Russia—not the dry landscapes of Central Asia. But Iran, Turkey and Kazakhstan were once home to thriving populations of Caspian tigers. Unfortunately, sometime between the 1940s and '70s, this subspecies went extinct due to widespread trapping, hunting, poisoning and habitat degradation.
Second, Kazakhstan isn't a nation that often comes up in conversations about conservation. In fact, if Americans recognize the world's largest landlocked nation for anything, it's probably the movie Borat.
By Jake Johnson
Yes, Donald Trump is president. And yes, he has access to the nuclear codes—a fact that has become all too vivid in recent weeks. But many allowed themselves to forget, if only for a brief moment, about the man in the White House on Thursday to hone their attention on what is potentially an even more horrifying development.
Conservation organizations announced Wednesday that Trader Joe's has declared it will stop buying shrimp from Mexico. The popular grocery store chain's decision follows pressure from organizations behind the Boycott Mexican Shrimp campaign, launched earlier this year to save the vaquita, the world's smallest porpoise, from decades of decline due to entanglement in shrimp fishing gear.