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Posts Tagged "wildlife crime"

Extinction Countdown

Vaquita Porpoise about to Go Extinct, Only 97 Remain

vaquita

Millions of dollars and two decades of conservation efforts have failed to protect the Gulf of California’s critically endangered vaquita porpoise (Phocoena sinus). Two years ago this species’s population was estimated at 200. Today it has plummeted to just 97. Fewer than 25 of those that remain are thought to be females capable of reproducing [...]

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Extinction Countdown

All 8 Pangolin Species Being Eaten into Extinction

ground pangolin

A few days ago customs officials in Vietnam raided a cargo ship from Sierra Leone and seized an astonishing 1.4 tons of dried pangolin scales. The grisly discovery came from the bodies of as many as 10,000 dead pangolins, the scaly anteaters of Africa and Asia that are being hunted into extinction for their meat [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiger Skins Are Like Fingerprints—Could That Help Stop Smugglers and Poachers?

tiger

Last month forest rangers in India arrested a 21-year-old engineering student and his friend who had been caught carrying a tiger skin that they intended to sell for nearly $25,000. A few days earlier Indonesian police raided the homes of two suspected wildlife traffickers, where they confiscated a small menagerie of live animals, a number [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Crisis in Madagascar: 90 Percent of Lemur Species Are Threatened with Extinction

lemur

Madagascar’s 101 lemur species are “the most threatened mammal group on Earth,” according to a new policy paper published last week in Science. The famous primates have suffered over the past five years, since the start of the country’s political crisis and resulting wave of violent unrest and environmental crime. “Since the 2009 political crisis [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sunday Species Snapshot: Blue-Crowned Laughingthrush

Blue-crowned laughingthrush

There isn’t much to laugh about when we’re talking about the blue-crowned laughingthrush. Only about 250 of these rare birds, whose songs sound like human laughter, remain in the wild. Species name: Blue-crowned laughingthrush (Garrulax courtoisi), also known as the Courtois’s laughingbird. The birds have only been recognized as their own species since 2006 (prior [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Slaughtered for Ivory: 65 Percent of Forest Elephants Killed Since 2002

forest elephants

It just gets worse and worse. Last year a shocking study revealed that 62 percent of the world’s forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) had been killed by poachers between 2002 and 2011. Now a new update adds data from 2012 and 2013, finding that a total of 65 percent of the species has now been slaughtered [...]

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Extinction Countdown

From Saved to Stolen: Thief Absconds with Extinct-in-the-Wild Water Lily

Nymphaea thermarum

This is why we can’t have nice species: Last week one of the world’s rarest plants was stolen from public display in London at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. An unknown thief or thieves walked in, pulled or dug up the plant and disappeared with it. The tiny thermal water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) is the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

western black rhino

Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa. By 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those [...]

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Extinction Countdown

U.S. to Destroy 6 Tons of Confiscated Ivory, Sending Message to Poachers

confiscated ivory

Whole elephant tusks. Carved ivory figurines and statues. Ivory knives, jewelry, chopsticks and trinkets. Six tons of this stuff, all of it illegal, sits in a secure warehouse where box after cardboard box rests alongside wooden pallets that overflow their bloody bounty onto the floor. No, this isn’t in China or South Africa or Japan. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

As Rhino Poaching Surges, South Africa Proposes Legalized Trade in Precious Horns

white rhino

The South African government released two important and shocking news items last week. The first announcement revealed that 461 rhinos had been poached in the country to date as of July 3—more than were killed in all of 2011. Poachers target the animals for their horns, which are valued in China and Vietnam for their [...]

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Observations

China Crushes Ivory, but Must Do More to Fight Wildlife Crime

China

In a development that has conservationists abuzz, Chinese officials crushed 6.1 tons of confiscated elephant ivory earlier today in a ceremony in Guangzhou. The move comes two months after the U.S. pulverized its six-ton stockpile of ivory contraband to signal that it will not tolerate the illegal wildlife trade, and one month ahead of a [...]

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