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Inside the World of Elephant Poaching

Thursday, February 13, 2014

This week the Obama Administration announced new restrictions on animal trafficking, including regulations which seek to completely prohibit the sale African ivory in the United States. Damon Tabor went deep inside the shadowy world of elephant poaching and the international ivory trade. His investigation is called "The Ivory Highway." It appears in the March issue of Men’s Journal Magazine.

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Damon Tabor

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Comments [15]

@ Charlotte from The World (Feb. 13 2014 01:42 PM):

And what do you think would constitute just punishment for "EVERYONE involved on any level of murdering" an (innocent) /human/?

Feb. 20 2014 05:15 PM
Maya

Meg from Inwood~

I'm glad you elaborated on the many qualities that make elephants so amazing and truly valuable as living beings. I agree with you that it feels more like genocide than extinction. They are our 'relations' and they should be treated as such. I just read the article in Men's Journal that the interview was based on. It mentions pro-active and intelligent initiatives by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Clinton Global Initiative. One additional thing
that elephant-advocates can do is to join and financially support organizations like the WCS. These organizations are there, on the ground and already committed to the work at hand. I was pleased when I checked out their website and will become an ongoing member.

Feb. 13 2014 06:16 PM
Meg from Inwood

Thank you SO much WNYC and Leonard Lopate for providing coverage on this critical issue! However, I wish even more had been said about what amazing creatures elephants are. Going beyond the mirror test, these are mammals, like us, who have complex social structures, who mourn their dead, who communicate with each other via a language we have yet to comprehend, who can remember trauma and who form close and long-lasting friendships with other elephants as well as with humans. They're truly amazing, and the pride of many African nations. To me, this evidence of their empathy and self-awareness makes killing them to decorate human homes feels more like a genocide than an extinction. I wish I knew what I could do to save them, beyond writing letters to politicians and boycotting Chinatown businesses or anywhere else that sells ivory, and telling family and friends to do the same.

Feb. 13 2014 03:51 PM
Maya

Thank you for airing such an important topic and highlighting how a magnificently intelligent species is so unnecessarily being slaughtered to extinction. As the author pointed out, this needs to be addressed both on the
supply and demand side. This is a shameful, tragic failing of our species and I hope there is relentless attention to it. Advocacy for Asian elephants and captive elephants in North America, as other commenters have mentioned, is also important. As the numbers here are bleak and poaching is on the rise, please do a follow-up in a year or two and let us know if things have improved.

Feb. 13 2014 03:09 PM
Amy from Manhattan

erika mansourian, what do you mean by "get on the ground" to support gov'ts. & reserves (i.e., nature reserves?) in W. Africa? What do you advocate actually doing?

Feb. 13 2014 01:55 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Actually, *would* it be easy to inform Chinese buyers of how ivory is really obtained? The media are controlled by the gov't.; does the gov't. have enough of an interest in stopping the ivory trade to put out the word? What about social media?

I'm also wondering if Indian elephants are at risk along w/African elephants.

Feb. 13 2014 01:46 PM
Randy from Inwood

What about the legal ivory market in Manhattan? The Wildlife Conservation Society recently sent out an email petition to its supporters stating that this legal market makes NYC the largest (illegal) market for ivory in North America. We might not be able to immediately influence markets like China immediately, but how big an influence could a moratorium on ivory sales have closer to home? http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2014-02-10-86734.113122-Sweeney-asks-for-ban-on-ivory-sales.html

Feb. 13 2014 01:43 PM
S from nj

Is it possible to feed something to the elephants to change the color of the ivory to make it less desirable?

Feb. 13 2014 01:42 PM
Charlotte from The World

The human animal is the worst animal on the earth. The US should lead an alliance of imposing a Crimes Against Humanity carrying the death sentence for EVERYONE involved on any level of murdering an elephant.
First, these human murderers should be forced to have their bones pulled out of their bodies with machettes, then killed. Including these "local poachers who do this for "money." Humans are a horrifying animal causing all this suffering on the earth. Bring the Chinese to world court of Crimes Against Humanity and the death sentence. They won't behave on any level of global cooperation. Support Animal Preservations Groups with your financial support. Elephants are such Conscious, Thinking, Emotional beings. They love to live and they love their young. I'm so sorry animals of the world. Humans are a disgrace.

Feb. 13 2014 01:42 PM
S from nj

Is it possible to feed something to the elephants to change the color of the ivory to make it less desirable?

Feb. 13 2014 01:41 PM
erika mansourian

Thank you for highlighting what is nothing short of a crisis for Africa's elephants. The facts are staggering, and gut-wrenching.

A full ban on all ivory is a start. But we must address demand and most of all, get on the ground, now, to support W. African governments and reserves. The clock is ticking.

Meanwhile, captive Asian elephants forced to perform in circuses endure violent abuse in the "training" process and live stressful, deprived lives, chained and transported coast to coast. When Ringling Bros. comes to the Barclay Center on Feb. 20th, please join us in a peaceful show of support for legislation to ban circus animals in NYC.
https://www.facebook.com/events/640134842717270/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

Feb. 13 2014 01:39 PM
ericka

thanks for airing this. china and the rest of the asian markets must continually be educated, shamed, coerced, ostracized, forced to change their consuming habits. same for rhino horn. african corruption feeds the opportunity. THE RATE OF KILLING IS OUTPACING reproduction. Dont give these countries your money, your tourist dollars, and tell them why.

Feb. 13 2014 01:36 PM
Ken from Soho

There should be a death sentence for killing an elephant or rhino.

Feb. 13 2014 01:33 PM
tom from Astoria

CORRECTION of earlier comment
I heard about the level of elephant killing early this morning and had a physical reaction, like being punched in the stomach. The Chinese nation must be brought to shame for this. It must stop. We have done similar things in our history, we must admit; but with all due respect to the great history and culture of China, killing in the face of extinction is unacceptable. How regrettable that for the sake of cheap labor, we've given away the future to an authoritarian regime, not ready for the 21st Century.

Feb. 13 2014 12:14 PM
tom from astoria

I heard about this early this morning and had a physical reaction, like being punched in the stomach. The Chinese nation must be brought to shame for this. It must stop. We have done similar things in our history. All due repeat to the history and great culture of China, but this is unacceptable. This is what the world gets for giving away the future to an authoritarian regime, not ready for the 21st Century.

Feb. 13 2014 12:04 PM

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