Hong Kong To Ban All Trade In Ivory

Following hints last year, Hong Kong has now announced that it will ban all trade in ivory. While the importing and exporting of ivory has been illegal since 1989, the city state often considered the epicenter for the trade in illegal ivory will now stop all domestic dealing in the white gold. The move has been warmly greeted by conservationists, who hope thatthe ban will be another blow to the multimillion dollar trade, which is responsible for an estimated 30,000 elephants killed each year.

We will take steps to ban totally the sale of ivory in Hong Kong. It will be a total ban, said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, the leader of Hong Kong, during his annual policy address. As to when the total ban will come into force, the details are a little hazier. Leung said that they will do it as quickly as we can, phasing out the local trade, which will hopefully have knock-on effects to other markets.

The global trade in ivory was banned in 1989, when the numbers of African elephants was found to be crashing as more and more were slaughtered for their tusks. Since then, a highly profitable black market in the product has risen to supply the demand that still persists, with Hong Kong rising as the main hub for the illegal trade. Authorities regularly seize illegal shipments at ports and airports, with just over 8 tonnes (8.8 tons) of the stuff being confiscated in 2013. However,officials continue to turn a blind eye to legal traders within the city itself.

The main market for which the ivory is destined is mainland China, which is thought to make up around 70 percent of the demand for the product. While the import and export of ivory is banned, the domestic trade is still flourishing, and despite no ivory officially entering the city, the traders have still managed to retain their stocks at levels similar to when the global trade ban was put in place, even though since then much of the ivory has made its way to mainland China. In 2014 alone, 47 million Chinese tourists visited the city. Because of this, its generally assumed that traders are topping up their stores with illegal ivory from recently killed elephants.

Hong Kong is the main hub for the illegal trade of ivory, with tonnes of the stuff being confiscated every year. International Fund for Animal Welfare/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

News of the complete ban has been widely celebrated by conservationists, in the hope Hong Kong will finallykill the killing of elephants andthe trade in their tusks. Hong Kong has always been the epicenter of that trade, so we congratulate CY Leung and the government for this historic step, says Peter Knight, the CEO of WildAid. Coupled with a 50 percent drop in ivory prices in China over the last 18 months, the end of the crisis may be in sight.

It is tentatively hoped that this news will be a massive blow to the trade, effectively closing the primary meansby which illegal ivory gets into the legal market, and hopefully saving tens of thousands of elephants in the process.

Main image: International Fund for Animal Welfare/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

Top image in text: Carved elephant tusk on display in the city. Carrie Kellenberger/Flickr CC By 2.0

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Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/hong-kong-ban-all-trade-ivory

Nature’s Weathermen: Elephants Can ‘Hear’ Storms Up To 150 Miles Away

Circus Knie elephants bathe in Lake GenevaCircus Knie elephants bathe in Lake Geneva

Elephants have been discovered to have hearing abilities of an otherworldly level, able to detect thunderstorms from as many as 150 miles away.

According to Popular Science, researchers at Texas A&M studied migration patterns of elephants in Namibia, Africa, over the course of seven years to see if they were influenced by environmental changes.

Oliver Frauenfeld, a geology professor and author of the study, said,

The elephants undergo these sudden migrations that previously have not been explained. They’ve been observed to change the places they go and the speeds they go rather quickly.

The international team put GPS trackers on nine elephants, each of which belonged to a different herd.

They found that the herds moved during the region’s rainy season from January to March seemingly based on weather predictions, which they made days in advance and even when the impending storm was up to 150 miles away.

Frauenfeld added,

They need the rain. After a prolonged dry season, once the elephants hear the rain, they start moving towards it, and it allows them to get the water sooner.

Elephants are known to have exquisite hearing that allows them to pick up frequencies far too low to be heard by humans.

Researchers aren’t sure, however, whether the elephants are hearing the clap of thunder or the sound of rain drops hitting the ground before they move.

This increased understanding of migration patterns should help conservationists know when the animals are in the most danger of poachers, Popular Science reports.

Approximately 100,000 African elephants were killed by poachers from 2010 to 2012, with one out of every 12 being killed in 2011.

The animals are poached mainly for the ivory in their tusks, which continues to fetch enormous prices.

via Popular Science, Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/elephants-hear-storms-miles-away/805439/

Baby Elephant Tries To Walk

Babies of all kind are pure viral gold on the Internet. Surprisingly, this cute video went viral when all it features is a newly born baby elephant just being adorable. The baby tries to walk and figure out what a trunk is, and it’s just too cute. The video is going viral on HuffingtonPost, TheDailyWhat, TeenRoflToo, and IAmBored.  

 

Read more: http://www.viralviralvideos.com/2011/10/19/baby-elephant-tries-to-walk/

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

Raju the elephant was left bleeding from spiked shackles and living on hand-outs from passing tourists after he was captured and tied up by his “owner”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

But, after 50 years of torture, the animal cried tears of relief after he was rescued by a wildlife charity in a daring midnight operation — on July 4, Independence Day.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

One of the rescuers said: “The chains around his legs had spikes which were cutting into his flesh — and each time he moved puss would ooze out of wounds. Pain and brutality were all he knew”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

A rescuer said: “His cruel handler even tore out the hair from his tail to sell as good luck charms. The exploitation and abuse just had to stop”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

A team of ten vets and wildlife experts from Wildlife SOS were joined by 20 officers of the forestry department and six policemen to release Raju from his suffering in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

The operation took place under the cover of darkness and Pooja Binepal, the Wildlife SOS’s UK spokesman, described it as “incredibly emotional” for the team.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

“Raju has spent the past 50 years living a pitiful existence in chains 24 hours a day, an act of intolerable cruelty”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

“The team were astounded to see tears roll down his face during the rescue. It was so incredibly emotional for all of us. We knew in our hearts he realized he was being freed”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

The rescuer said: “Elephants are not only majestic, but they are highly intelligent animals, who have been proven to have feelings of grief, so we can only imagine what torture half a century has been like for him”.

This elephant was freed after he was held in spiked shackles and beaten for 50 years. He cried when he was finally liberated…

A rescuer attempts to remove Raju’s chains.

Read more: http://imgur.com/gallery/uRNMa

A Baby Elephant Met A Cat For The First Time And It Was So Freakin’ Adorable

The cute moment was filmed at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

1. Navann the baby elephant was just walking along with his mother one day when he saw an unusual sight in the grass.

Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Sm4oH-CSaEM. youtube.com

3. Navann tried to play it cool, at first walking past the fluffy orange creature.

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5. But he couldn’t resist going back to check out what it was.

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7. And he was pretty sure he didn’t like it.

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9. So he gave the cat a little kick to let him know who’s boss.

Take that, cat!

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The cat was unfazed.

11. Learn more about Navann and his family at the Elephant Nature Park website.

h/t Tastefully Offensive

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/baby-elephant-meets-a-cat-for-the-first-time

Horny Elephant Tries To F*ck A Car And Ends Up Crushing It (Videos)

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Elephants are considered to be among the most intelligent creatures in the animal kingdom.

But just because the species as a whole is smart, doesn’t mean every individual elephant is. As with humans, intelligence from animal to animal varies.

The elephant in the above videos is definitely on the lower end of the smarts spectrum.

While on a casual walk through his home at the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand, the bull (another word for male elephant) spotted a shiny silver car.

In a flurry of excitement and apparently raging hormones, he mounted the car and humped it.

Though the vehicle failed to respond to the creature’s sexual advances, he continued to make sweet, sweet love to the car for a few seconds until the hood buckled under his weight.

Perhaps he thought the vehicle was a particularly beautiful (and metallic) breed of elephant. Perhaps he deemed it a mirage.

Whatever the case, he wanted it — and he wanted it badly.

The bizarre display of affection was filmed both by onlookers and by the passengers inside the car, who didn’t seem to be freaking out as much as you might expect.

Onlookers’ footage:


Footage from the car:

Read more: http://elitedaily.com/humor/elephant-humping-car-crushes-it-video/904747/