Tag Archives | Poaching

Bomb-test fallout could catch illegal ivory traders

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Could nuclear weapons testing be used to preserve life, instead of representing the ultimate destruction of?

via New Scientist

Nuclear bomb tests 50 years ago have given us a conservation weapon. Determining the levels ofradioactive isotope in ivory should allow us to find out whether it is being illegally traded.

The amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere peaked in 1962 just before the introduction of an international ban on surface testing of nuclear weapons. The rapid rise and subsequent decline of this isotope is known as the bomb curve.

Animal cells take up carbon-14 when they are formed, and because the decay rate of carbon-14 is known, the time of death can be deduced from the amount ofisotope left. Linking the amount of carbon-14 found in organic material with the bomb curve has been used to date human tooth enamel and even regenerating brain cells.

Kevin Uno at Columbia University in Palisades, New York, and colleagues have now used the technique to test 29 samples including elephant tusks and rhino horn collected in East Africa.

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Animal Poachers In India Can Be Shot on Sight

PoachingReports Talia Ralph on Global Post:

Animal poachers in India can now be shot on sight, after lawmakers in the western state of Maharashtra passed legislation Wednesday to defend tigers, elephants, and other wildlife from attacks, the Times of India reported.

The state’s forest guards should not be “booked for human rights violations when they have taken action against poachers,” Maharashtra’s Forest Minister Patangrao Kadam said Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.

There have been no cases of tiger poachers being shot or killed in Maharashtra, but guards have been charged in the past for shooting illegal loggers or fishermen, the state’s chief wildlife warden S.W.H. Naqvi told the AP.

The state also announced plans to put more rangers and jeeps on patrol in the forest, and will offer secret payments to those who tip off officials about poachers and animal smugglers, according to the AP.

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China’s Economic Boom Fueling Poaching In Africa

ElephantGreg Neale and James Burton writes in the Guardian:

Elephant poaching in Africa and Asia is being fuelled by China’s economic boom, according to a study of the ivory trade.

Authors of the new report found that the number of ivory items on sale in key centres in southern China has more than doubled since 2004, with most traded illegally. The survey comes amid reports of a dramatic rise in rhino poaching across Africa, and a spate of thefts of rhino horns from European museums and auction houses.

Based on the results of their survey, the ivory researchers are calling for China to tighten its enforcement of ivory trading regulations, saying that such a move is vital to reduce the number of elephants that are killed illegally. The report is published on the eve of a meeting in Geneva of the Cites organisation, which is responsible for controlling trade in endangered wildlife species.

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