Legacy Dilemmas

What do we do when times change and the heirlooms that were once prized have fallen, not just out of fashion, but out of legality? In the wake of more and more countries banning the trade in ivory, what is the burden of family legacy? We were cleaning out the attic of our house the…

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The Mirror Test – International World Wildlife Day

Numerous studies on various animals have surprised and delighted human observers by demonstrating that some animals are much more intelligent and self-aware than previously thought. If over the centuries or millennia we humans were able to persuade ourselves that we were alone in being self-aware, intelligent and moral, those haughty self-assessments have given way to…

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Breaking the Chain

When it comes to putting a stop to the illegal trade in endangered animals and animal parts, I don’t know if the London Summit on Illegal Wildlife Trade is the first major conference to explicitly include the main consumer nations of animal parts as well as the countries in which the most animals are poached. But…

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Thank you, Dr. Mandela

One of the many legacies left behind by the great Nelson Mandela will be his attention to conservation issues and his awareness of the role these issues play in society. In honor of his life, I thought I would highlight one of his many laudable projects today, one that brought together the dual challenges of…

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Complex Bridging

A new bridge project was announced in China this month, the Möbius Bridge. Designed by Dutch architecture firm NEXT, the complicated structure will span the Dragon King Harbor River in China’s Hunan Province. NEXT describes the bridge as a “construction with the intersecting connections based on the principle of the Möbius ring,” which will “connect…

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Antithesis of Desire

There were two major seizures of illegal elephant tusks Kenya’s Mombasa airport this month. The largest – 3 tonnes worth an estimated $700,000 – was being exported as large bags of peanuts. The other, seized earlier this month, was composed of tusks that had been cut up into smaller pieces and covered in fish remains…

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Farewell Forest Symphony

The fundamental chords that hold a symphony together aren’t always apparent to the untrained ear. The symphony of an ecosystem is often more complex than we comprehend. A recent study draws a vital connection between elephant poaching, tree reproduction and forest ecosystems. Certain trees – in this case, large bush mango trees – have evolved…

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