It was a significant moment for wildlife conservation: Namibia on April 9 was permitted to auction off over 12 tons of elephants tusks, the first legal sale of ivory since a ban halted international trade nine years ago.
Four days later Zimbabwe put 20 tons of ivory on the auction block, and on April 17 Botswana sold nearly 18 tons. How much the sales brought in was not released.
Although culling is again on the table as one of several options for keeping the large and growing elephant population of South Africa's Kruger National Park in check, park officials say no culling will occur before next year at the earliest.
Culling, along with relocation and contraception, are alternatives spelled out in the new management strategy the National Parks Board approved in March to protect the ecosystem of the famed park.
The spread of tuberculosis among the lions in South Africa's Kruger National Park is raising fears that the entire lion population may be at risk. TB has occurred primarily in buffalo in the southern sector of the park, where 1,300 of Kruger's estimated 2,000 lions live. How many lions (and members of other species) have been infected is not clear, but in skin tests performed recently on about 30 thin, unhealthy lions, 90 percent tested positive for TB.
With the recent discoveries of Ethiopian wolves in several areas of the Wollo mountain range in northern Ethiopia, researchers have ratcheted up their population estimates of this rare candid species, from between 400 and 500 to as many as 650.
Early in 1998 a research team led by Dr. Claudio Sillero-Zubiri of Oxford University launched a 10-day search for Ethiopian wolves in the South Wollo range on a tip from a local government employee. They encountered droppings and numerous other signs of the animals; just hours before they were ready to depart, they spotted an adult male.
AWF LAUNCHES 'LARGE-LANDSCAPE' APPROACH TO CONSERVATION
African Wildlife Foundation is launching an ambitious new approach to wildlife conservation by focusing beyond protected areas to vast landscapes called African Heartlands.
"We're looking at the big picture," AWF President R. Michael Wright says. "Wild animals in East Africa are not confined to parks but migrate to other areas, areas often populated by humans. It makes sense then to consider the interactions and needs of humans and wildlife together, across large landscapes."