The Rapidly Disappearing Elephants Of Tanzania – John Burnett December 13, 20157:05 PM ET


The Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania has seen its elephant population, one of the largest on the continent, go from 110,000 to fewer than 45,000 in the past decade due to poaching.

Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve is one of the largest wildlife refuges in the world and one of the last great wild places in Africa. The problem is — it’s not a refuge from anything. In the past five years, 60 percent of its iconic elephant herds have been machine-gunned or poisoned by poachers for the value of their tusks.

Photographer Robert Ross spent six years traversing the 17,000 square miles of the Selous, from its miombo woodland to its Borassus palm swamps, and meandering sand rivers.

In his book, The Selous In Africa: A Long Way From Anywhere, Ross chronicled much more than the elephant slaughter. After all, who really wants a coffee table book of pachyderm carcasses? His stunning images inventory the magnificent biodiversity of the continent’s oldest protected wilderness as well as the threats it now faces.

Ross, a 59-year-old former real estate financier, fled New York City to pursue his passion for photography and Africa. During his time in the Selous from 2008 to 2014, “There has been a noticeable habitat change because of the loss of elephants,” he says in a telephone interview from his home in Basalt, Colorado. “They’re not coming through the country as much. It’s returning to thicket. The elephants aren’t there anymore to keep those areas clear.”

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/12/13/458016646/the-rapidly-disappearing-elephants-of-tanzania

Poaching, Drugs, and Murder in Costa Rica: Shell Game (Part 1) – Vice News Published on Jun 16, 2015


Since sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica began in the 1950s, conservationists and poachers have peacefully shared the beach. But the murder of the environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval in 2013 shocked the eco-friendly country and brought attention to a violent overlap between conservationism and drug trafficking in Costa Rica’s abundant national parks and untouched coastlines.

With five percent of the world’s biodiversity, the unique geography of Costa Rica is a hotspot for eco-tourism and conservation work. However, it is that same geography that makes the country so vulnerable to the violent drug trade that surrounds its borders. Costa Rica has become a major transshipment point for drug traffickers, with deadly consequences for those caught in the middle.

In part one of our three-part series, VICE News joins conservationists, poachers, and law enforcement in their struggle to maintain the unwritten law that governs egg gathering on the beach: finder’s keepers.