African Elephants Slaughtered for Ivory at Alarming Rate
The slaughter of more than 20,000 African elephants for their ivory last year is putting some local populations at an immediate threat of extinction, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
The United Nations-linked conservation agency warns that criminal bands and rebel militias are killing the animals to cash in on the thousands of dollars per kilo the ivory fetches.
CITES says this is the third consecutive year that more than 20,000 elephants were illegally killed in Africa, leaving only about 500,000 left on the continent.
Meanwhile, one of the world’s largest and best-known elephants was killed and mutilated for its ivory in Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park.
“Satao” was a favorite among visitors and rangers alike before poachers hacked off his face and took his long, massive tusks.
“Satao” before poachers killed and mutilated the popular Kenyan tourist attraction for its ivory.
Great white sharks seeing a population boom in waters off Eastern US and Canada
A report that scientists are calling one of the most comprehensive studies of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada after decades of decline.
The study by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE, says the population of the notoriously elusive fish has climbed since about 2000 in the western North Atlantic.
The scientists behind the study attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
“The species appears to be recovering,” said Cami McCandless, one of the authors. “This tells us the management tools appear to be working.”
Great whites owe much of their fearsome reputation to the movie “Jaws,” which was released 39 years ago Friday. But confrontations are rare, with only 106 unprovoked white shark attacks — 13 of them fatal — in U.S. waters since 1916, according to data provided by the University of Florida.
They are, though, ecologically critical. They are apex predators — those at the top of the food chain — and help control the populations of other species. That would include the grey seal, whose growing colonies off Massachusetts have provided food.