Tag Archives: poaching

Ecology resources for students: Part 1

Good afternoon!

I’m back with another set of bookmarks for students and teachers. Because I’ve taught the IB Environmental systems and societies course for several years, this set of online resources is closest to my heart. Some of these links are here simply because I think they’re cool or fun. Many may also be applicable for studying biology and chemistry as well. Let’s get to it:

Happy learning!

Cheers,

Mr K

Link

Climate Change Plan Considers Trees, Elephants, People

I came across this article on my Twitter feed this morning. It relates to several topics within our ESS syllabus, such as Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity, Topic 6 – Global Warming, and Topic 3 – Resources as Natural Capital.

It outlines the potential links between trading carbon credits on an international exchange, economic development in rural Africa, wildlife conservation, and the battle to combat ivory poaching.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140705-kenya-elephant-poaching-carbon-credits-world-science/

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Tanzania’s Poaching Out of Control

There’s a serious problem with elephant poaching in Tanzania, and it seems to be getting worse by the day. The series of articles below outline some of what’s happening in this beautiful country and just how devastating the Asian demand for ivory is to Tanzania’s natural resources.

Confiscated ivory. Screen capture from photogtraphy4life.com.

Confiscated ivory. Image source: Screen capture from photogtraphy4life.org.

We can consider elephants as natural capital, a resource base which may be replenished given enough time for growth. However, it would appear that current rates of destruction from ivory poaching far outstrip elephants’ natural replacement rate, meaning that overall populations in Tanzania will continue to decline.

Have a read through the following articles, all of which were sent to me by my fellow science teacher, Matt Erdosy, while we wee in classes today. The first one describes the armed robbery of a tourist bus in the Ngorogoro Conservation Area (NCA) in northern Tanzania – a bold move on the poachers’ part, showing that they’re not too concerned about police enforcement here.

The second article details the other end of the ivory trade – the retailers in New York and other large cities who pass along ivory to the final consumers. This article in particular discusses the regulatory shortcomings of laws in the consumer countries.

The final few articles delve into some of the internal politics influencing the failure to effectively police ivory and rhino poaching in Tanzania, including a petition to return a government minister to his role combatting poaching.

At the current rate of killing, there may be no more elephants in Tanzania within a decade. That means no elephants on safari anywhere – not in Serengeti, not in Mikumi, or Selous, Ruaha, Katavi, or Tarangire. Nowhere!

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The Ivory Trade, Organized Crime, and Questions About the Effectiveness of CITES

I’ve posted this first article before – from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime – which outlines the links between ivory from east Africa and narcotics in Asia. The embedded version is the short one, and the full version is available to download here: Ivory and Organized Crime in East Africa.PDF

The following item is a dissertation research paper by Justine Braby, an Environmental Law Postgraduate candidate at the University of Cape Town. In it, she examines how effective the CITES ban on ivory has been since implemented. CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, a global framework for reducing and/or eliminating the trade in all endangered organisms for commercial gain. The CITES website has a lot of very specific information directly relating to the ESS Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity, as well as the Grade 9 poaching project. I recommend you check out both the articles posted here, as well as the CITES page.

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More Information on East African Poaching

Here are a few more links relating to this topic, which seems to be all over the news lately.

This first item, from the Wildlife Conservation Society and the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the same organization which just declared the Western Black Rhino officially extinct) is a publication called Pachyderm. In it, there are several case studies about both rhinos and elephants, including some information on using micro-chemical evidence to trace the origin of poached ivory. Here’s the link to the complete PDF.

Edge of Existence is a website I recently stumbled across, and I think it has a lot of well-researched information about a lot of issues in wildlife conservation. EDGE stands for “Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered” species – unique creatures threatened by human activities around the world. Their page for elephants, linked here, has some really useful information on elephants’ role in maintaining the savanna ecosystem, conservation initiatives currently in use, links to organizations involved in elephant conservation, and references to more scientific information about Loxodonta africana.

The International.org posted a brief article in June 2012 about the impact of poaching on ecosystems, which is a nice model for the 9th grade poaching project currently underway.

A younger-looking Sir David Attenborough with lemurs from Madagascar. (Screen capture image from www.bbc.co.uk)

A younger-looking Sir David Attenborough with lemurs from Madagascar. (Screen capture image from www.bbc.co.uk)

And finally, no wildlife conservation unit would be complete without at least one video from Sir David Attenborough (probably my favorite scientist of all time). The short video clip linked here is from Sir David’s earlier work in Madagascar, so he looks a bit different than most of you are used to seeing him. It was originally released in 1961 – 52 years ago!

 

Western Black Rhino Officially Extinct – IUCN

A sad day for conservationists, as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature declares the Western Black Rhino officially extinct.

Western Black Rhino -R.I.P. (Image credit: www.skullappreciationsociety.com)

Western Black Rhino -R.I.P. (Image credit: www.skullappreciationsociety.com)

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Effects of Poaching on People and the Environment

The University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology released this study a few years ago, detailing the impact of poaching on elephant populations in Mikumi and Amboseli.

Graphic from University of Washington's Center for Conservation Biology

Graphic credit: University of Washington’s Center for Conservation Biology

I post this link for several reasons:

  1. The topic is clearly relevant to both the grade 9 biology unit, as well as ESS’s Topic 4 – Conservation and Biodiversity.
  2. The study was carried out in conjunction with Sokoine University in Morogoro, just a couple of hours from here.
  3. The targeted areas are Mikumi National Park in Tanzania and Amboseli in Kenya, so it’s entirely relevant to where we live.
  4. The inclusion of simple graphs with the article complement and support the written work of the authors, and it can serve as an example to you students about how to use visual aids in your scientific writing.
  5. Follow the ‘Research Programs’ and ‘Elephants’ tabs to see how DNA analysis is being used to track poached ivory.
  6. I like the graphic at the top of the page.

I also found this 2006 document from the World Wildlife Fund – the Wildlife Trade Factsheet 2006.PDF – which “is designed to give a broad overview of the environmental harm that illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade can cause, and to give examples of WWF and TRAFFIC’s work and solutions on the ground.”  (www.panda.org)

WWF Image Credit: Martin Harvey

WWF Image Credit: Martin Harvey