This week Hong Kong officials incinerated the first batch of ivory, from a 29.6 tonne stockpile, which in January 2014 they committed to destroy over a two year period. There are those that will question this move, claiming that destroying ivory stockpiles acts to increase the value of remaining ivory. The reality however is very different.
This human cost should not be forgotten. Rather it should be central to any anti-poaching policy. If we do not change the conversation, this evil trade will only continue unabated. With any luck, an acknowledgement of the economic and security implications of this poaching crisis may help formulate a more nuanced response that will save Africa's great wildlife before it is too late.
Joseph Kony personally gave orders to units of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to slaughter elephants and bring him their tusks, according to eyewitness accounts and satellite evidence compiled by the Enough Project and the Satellite Sentinel Project.
I am shocked, but not surprised, to find ourselves in the middle of another poaching crisis, one that is having massive impact throughout the African continent. A small trinket or a large extravagant ornament made of ivory will have had a bloody start as most ivory these days is illegal; hacked from the face of a dead or dying elephant.
The tiger is one of the most iconic of wild animals. Sleek, magnificent and instantly recognisable, the tiger has become immortalised in the legends, values and lore of many human cultures. Works of William Blake, A.A. Milne and Walt Disney have established the tiger as an object of fascination and endearment.