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Elephants examine the tusk of a poached sibling. Photo: Karl Ammann, author provided.

Where does ivory come from? Now we know, with forensic DNA analysis

Samuel Wasser

25th June 2015

Forensic analysis of DNA in ivory seized by police and customs officials reveals where it comes from, writes Samuel Wasser, giving valuable information to law enforcers. But this powerful tool is only as effective as the national authorities, and Tanzania, a major ivory hotspot, has been very slow to respond to warnings. more...
Almost one in every two of Tanzania's elephants has been lost in the last five years - but the government is more concerned to conceal the truth, than to tackle the crisis, Photo: Sakke Wiik via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Tanzania in denial over 60% elephant population crash

The Ecologist

4th June 2015

After six months of denial Tanzania has finally admitted that its elephants have suffered a catastrophic 60% decline in five years. But they still refuse to accept it's caused by poaching for ivory, rampant corruption and 'above the law' smuggling networks. more...
Oil pipelines in Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm. Photo: Tim Moore via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Where there's war, oil, gas and pipelines are never far away

John Foster

4th March 2015

Look beneath the surface of the wars in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, and what do you find? Oil, gas, and contested pipeline transit routes. Never mind high-sounding talk of human rights, national sovereignty, international law and UN Resolutions, writes John Foster - fossil energy is the world's main driver of armed conflict. more...
A burnt Maasai village. Photo: InsightShare.org.

Tanzania breaks promise - thousands of Maasai evicted to make way for lion hunt

The Ecologist

27th February 2015

Last November Tanzania's President Kikwete tweeted his promise that the evictions of indigenous Maasai people and their villages near Serengeti National Park would stop. But now another round of evictions is under way: thousands of Maasai have been evicted at gunpoint and their homes burnt to ashes. The Maasai say: 'We need your help!' more...
The mushroom cloud of the USSR's Tsar Bomba nuclear bomb test. With its 60 Mt yield, this was the largest nuclear explosion ever. Photo: via Andy Zeigert / Flickr.

Austria's campaign to 'stigmatise, prohibit and eliminate' nuclear weapons

Rebecca Johnson

27th December 2014

Austria's pledge to strive for the elimination of nuclear WMD kindled fresh energy and hope at this month's Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons, writes Rebecca Johnson. Now we must maintain the momentum towards global nuclear disarmament at the May 2015 meeting of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. more...
Waist-high in opium poppies, US Marines patrol west of Nahr-e Saraj canal. Photo:  DVIDSHUB via Flickr.

Flower power? Afghan opium production hits all-time high

Mike Whitney

30th November 2014

The explosive growth of Afghanistan's heroin production after the Taliban brought the trade to a halt should be no surprise, writes Mike Whitney. It's all part of a lucrative plan whose real objective is to create global instability, disrupt social movements, facilitate resource colonialism, and justify the US's perpetual military presence in far flung corners of the world. more...
781 tusks from Tanzania seized in Malawi in transit to China, May 2013. Photo: EIA.

Chinese Presidency implicated in Tanzania's elephant massacre

The Ecologist

6th November 2014

A new report reveals that Chinese-led criminal gangs are conspiring with corrupt Tanzanian officials and senior politicians to traffic huge amounts of ivory. The corruption even extends into the Chinese navy, diplomatic missions and Presidential entourage - all involved in the lucrative but illegal trade. more...
YPG and YPJ fighters in Kobane. Photo: via Derek Wall / Open Democracy.

Western blind spot: the Kurds' war against Islamic State in Syria

Derek Wall

6th October 2014

A victory for the Kurds and their allies in Syria would be a victory for all who seek a future dictated by neither fundamentalists nor imperialists, writes Derek Wall. Is that why NATO members' have taken no effective action to help Syria's Kurds resist Islamic State - even as Kobane is set to fall, and with 160,000 Kurdish refugees trapped at the Turkish border? more...
Uvinye villagers sheltering from the midday sun. Photo: Alejandra Orozco-Quintero.

Uvinje, Tanzania - an indigenous community erased in the name of conservation

Alejandra Orozco-Quintero

3rd October 2014

A small fishing community in Tanzania is the victim of a land grab carried out by powerful national park officials using inaccurate maps, writes Alejandra Orozco-Quintero - even though they are part of a long-standing, successful conservation partnership. Is it all to make way for a high-end tourism development? more...
Tulips - springtime on the 'Golden Steppe'. Photo: Stephanie Ward / Geoff Welch.

Conserving Kazakhstan's golden treasures on a breathtaking scale

Stephanie Ward & Geoff Welch / RSPB

19th September 2014

Kazakhstan offers the opportunity for conservation on a grand scale, write Stephanie Ward & Geoff Welch. They recently visited the Golden Steppe, where they helped to secure an area of wildlife-rich grassland bigger than Wales for conservation. But that's just a fraction of the long term plan - a nature reserve the size of France. more...
Sign for the Inkay uranium mining operation in southern Kazakhstan. Photo: Mheidegger via Wikimedia Commons.

Kazakhstan's nuclear power plans - the mysteries only deepen

Komila Nabiyeva

19th August 2014

Russia has announced that it will build the first thermal nuclear power station in Kazakhstan, the world's largest uranium producer, writes Komila Nabiyeva. But where in that vast country will it be located? Who will own and operate it? How many reactors are planned? Who will get the power? And will it ever actually happen? more...
Deforestation in the high mountains has devastating effects downstream. The Forest of Aliabad, near Hajipir, district Bagh, Azad Kashmir. Photo: Muzaffar Bukhari via Flickr.

Pakistan - no response to flood, drought, deforestation crisis

Saleem Shaikh

6th August 2014

Pakistan is already experiencing a pattern of devastating flood and drought brought on by climate change and deforestation, say the country's top climate scientists. Yet the government has failed to either tackle the problems, or prepare for future disasters. more...

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An Irawaddy dolphin slips beneath the surface of the Mekong river at Kampie, Cambodia. Photo: Jim Davidson via Flickr

Why freshwater dolphins are among the world’s most endangered mammals

Rachel Nuwer

30th July 2014

Humans are to blame for the drastic declines in river dolphin populations around the world, writes Rachel Nuwer. But what exactly are we doing wrong? Mainly, scientists have found, it's building dams - and so destroying and fragmenting their habitat. more...
OuTrop researchers in the Sabangau Forest. Photo: Matt Adam Williams / OuTrop

Jungle living in Borneo

Matt Williams

21st January 2014

Living in the rainforest, tracking orangutans, protecting the swamp forest and fighting off swarms of mosquitos in 30 degree heat. For Matt Williams it was a childhood dream come true ... more...

How your fuel bills are subsidising deforestation

March 6th, 2013

by Helen Buckland

One government department raises awareness about endangered species whilst another uses our fuel bills to contribute to their demise. Helen Buckland, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Society, explains... more...

Frontline Online: Plastic not-so-fantastic

February 18th, 2013

by Lorna Howarth

Why Pakistan’s recent announcement of a ban of non-biodegradable plastics may not be beneficial for the environment. Lorna Howarth reports.....
more...
The New Scramble for Africa

The New Scramble for Africa

Mark Newton

9th May, 2012

From slave labour to armed conflict, our thirst for natural resources has created serious problems for Africa. Pádraig Carmody’s latest book attempts to unravel the moral morass, says Mark Newton more...
Raising Resistance

Paraguay's small farmers defend livelihoods against industrial soya production

Grace Philip

8th May, 2012

A new film, Raising Resistance, gives a telling account of how Paraguay's small farmers are suffering social and environmental ills from the country's meteoric rise in soya farming more...
unesco

The Ecologist meets… UNESCO's Kishore Rao

Ruth Styles

15th March, 2012

Can the planet’s cultural and natural heritage be protected during a war? Ruth Styles talks Syria, conservation and natural wonders with Kishore Rao, head of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre
more...
Sumatran Orangutan

Join the SOS celebrity auction to help save the Sumatran Orangutan

Ecologist

1st March, 2012

With only 6,600 left in the wild, the Sumatran orangutan is critically endangered. Campaign group Sumatran Orangutan Society has organised a celebrity auction to raise money to protect them and their rainforest habitat more...
Move your money

TAKE ACTION to build a more ethical banking sector

Priyanka Mogul

15th February, 2012

As we slowly recover from one of the worst economic recessions of our time, Move Your Money will guide us towards building a safer and better banking system that we can rely on more...
How green is your washing powder?

How green is your washing powder?

Bethany Hubbard

3rd February, 2012

From phosphates to enzymes, the contents of your detergent can be difficult to decipher. Here’s what to look out for and what to avoid more...
Carles Puyol, FC Barcelona

Take Action: Save orangutans with football star Puyol

Ben Hudson

22nd December, 2011

Act Now for Orangutans is a new campaign fronted by World Cup winner and Barcelona skipper Puyol aimed at the conservation of orangutans
more...

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Pigs on a farm

Sick As A pig – the menace of MRSA linked to industrial pig farming

Another strain of MRSA is emerging from the factory farms of Northern Europe, and it is linked to the insatiable demand for cheap meat on our plates. The Ecologist Film Unit investigates more...

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