In a world of 7 billion people how can we protect wildlife?

Please Take part in the UK government and EU consultations on banning the ivory trade! Every day we don’t act means there are hundreds less elephants left in the world.

One day we might wake up and realise that while we have been ignoring the issue the world’s population of elephants has become extinct.

John Scanlon, 2016

There is a growing need for a more long-term approach to elephant conservation, one which establishes buffer and cross-border zones, links up protected and already established areas, involves and supports key stakeholders, and leads to the creation of a network of corridors and destinations large enough to support resident and migratory populations.

Initiatives are gathering pace throughout wild Africa. One excellent example is the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) in the North Eastern Province, where a switched-on NGO is empowering local communities, linking conservancies and recreating a wonderful north Kenyan wilderness. An equally fine example is Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza) which, with the help of the Peace Parks Foundation, has negotiated a free-to-range mandate for wildlife from five southern African countries, covering 520,000 square kilometres and linking 36 protected areas.

Both NRT and Kaza are subtle, nuanced and highly complex arrangements between multiple and, sometimes, competing stakeholders. The task of protecting wild African elephants is not simply seen as a moral obligation but as a significant wealth generator – something which is key to the strategy.

A dead adult elephant is worth around $21,000 (£17,000) in ivory sales. A live one is worth $1.6m (£1.3m) in tourist income. Proposing that the 11-year moratorium on ivory sales be lifted and the proceeds from confiscated stock sales be reinvested in local communities – as Namibia and Zimbabwe did at Cites (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) this year – therefore makes little sense. The return on ivory sales pales in comparison to the financial rewards generated by mixed land-use conservation strategies. The eco-tourist industry, which is driven and grown by elephants, is more than capable of compensating for land lost to migratory corridors.

What’s good for the elephant is good for the ecosystem as a whole, which is why countries like Zimbabwe and Namibia – both, incidentally, key players in the Kaza initiative – must be persuaded of the folly of ivory stock sales. It would send the wrong message to the world and, as previous one-off sales have shown, result in a rise in killings by poaching.


The fight against antibiotic resistance must start on farms

Not only is the unnecessary use of antibiotics on farms a scapegoat for poor conditions, it is also a danger to human health. The systematic overuse of antibiotics in human and animal medicine is undermining their ability to cure life-threatening infections. Experts now predict that, globally, 10 million people a year could die from antibiotic-resistant infections by 2050. The more antibiotics that are used for farming, the more resistance there will be. Antibiotics are a vital cornerstone of human and animal medicine and across the world, there is a huge concern about how we protect them from becoming useless in the face of ever-more resistant bacteria.

IF THE SPREAD OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE CONCERNS YOU Join Compassion in World Farming (CIWF) and help improve the living conditions of millions of animals around the world and reduce threat of antibiotic resistance.

For more information visit  

Photo of elephant and calf fleeing fire-throwing mob wins top prize

Photograph taken in eastern India, titled ‘Hell is here’, shows crowd hurling flaming tar balls at animals

An adult elephant and a calf on fire flee a crowd of people
 The picture was taken by Biplab Hazra, a wildlife photographer from West Bengal. Photograph: Biplab Hazra/Sanctuary wildlife photography awards

An arresting image showing an adult elephant and its calf fleeing a mob attack has won a top Asian wildlife photography prize.

It shows the two animals running among a crowd that has hurled flaming tar balls and crackers at them, reportedly to ward the elephants away from human settlements.

The picture, titled “Hell is here”, was taken by Biplab Hazra, a wildlife photographer from West Bengal state, and won the 2017 Sanctuary’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year award.

The Sanctuary Nature Foundation, which awarded the prize, said: “In the Bankura district of West Bengal, this sort of humiliation of pachyderms is routine, as it is in the other elephant-range states of Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and more.”

He said elephants were increasingly being pushed out of existing habitats by human behaviour. “There are forests being cut down, degraded, and also being fragmented by development like new roads and pipelines.”

India is home to around 30,000 Asian elephants, 70% of the world’s population, with around 800 in West Bengal, according to the most recent official count.

Co-existence between humans and elephants was especially difficult, Williams said.

“Elephants are huge – they are the biggest mammal on land and they have huge home ranges, around 800 sq km. Such huge unreserved forest tracts are becoming very rare,” he said.

“In the end, humans always win, whatever the species, however powerful it is.”