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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Making Choices

I was doing some early morning grocery shopping this morning, and I was buying avocados. Above the avocado bin were two types of produce bags: a roll of the thin plastic bags, and a stack of bags made of recycled paper. This might seem like a tangential story to begin a post about World Pangolin…

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A Little Goose Chase

We visited the county of Derbyshire, UK, a few weeks ago, travelling through an area that I suppose in the United States would be considered a fly-over zone. That is, most people from the more popular regions would fly over this region rather than pick it as a destination. We were there with friends, one…

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A Stone on the Ledge

I want to talk about a couple of pieces of legislation that seem unrelated, namely new water regulations to deal with drought in California, and new Chinese laws making the purchase of illegal animals parts punishable by jail time. But first, I’d like to talk about a large white stone that sits atop a window…

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World Wildlife Day 2015

Today is World Wildlife Day 2015, which this year highlights the challenges of the illegal trade in wildlife. World Wildlife Day, on the 3rd of March, marks the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The global trade in wild animals and their…

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Ivory Trade Antics

There have been several elephant and ivory-related news items over the past few weeks, including a year-long ban on ivory imports announced by China this week, and the announcement by several Hong Kong retailers that they will no longer be selling elephant products. New regulations have just come into effect in the United States, one…

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Tipping the Scales

21 February is World Pangolin Day, and anyone who follows this blog knows I have a soft spot for the scaly anteater that is being rapidly hunted into extinction. The ongoing decimation of the slow and strange pangolin is a grim illustration of the long-lasting impact greed and lack of political willpower can have on…

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Serious Buffoonery

A gathering of orangutans is called a buffoonery. A buffoonery of orangutans implies some very high amusement, and indeed, I imagine if enough of the ginger apes were to get together, hilarity and hijinks might ensue. But as most people know by now, orangutans don’t have much to laugh about. Between deforestation and the illegal…

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Seeing Through Tortoiseshell Glasses

Trade in tortoiseshell – or more properly, sea turtle shell – was banned in 1977 under the conservation treaty known as CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Beloved for thousands of years as a natural thermoplastic for everything from hair combs to furniture inlay, turtle shell in…

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The Full Cloth

On World Wildlife Day, March 3, Nepal achieved a rare feat: an entire year without wildlife poaching. In the three years since 2011, the country lost a single rhino to poaching. Populations of rhinos, tigers and elephants are on the rise. Compare this to other nations, where these animals are disappearing fast. South Africa has…

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