Rumors of increased elephant poaching around Africa have circulated for the last year and have now been confirmed in at least one location. Reports from the area around Lewa Downs on the Laikipia plateau in central Kenya indicate a loss of 23 elephants in the last year compared to a total of 11 for the previous four years.
Guard dogs trained by the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) are now at work on some 50 farms in Namibia protecting livestock, including goats belonging to President Sam Nujoma of Namibia.
The rare colobus monkeys in Kenya's Diani Forest no longer have to worry about dodging traffic along the road that cuts through their habitat. Now they can take the high road, safely crossing on four arboreal rope bridges constructed by local conservationists.
The sharply differing reactions to the partial lifting of the ban on elephant ivory trade are emblematic of the ongoing struggle over how to best protect Africa's elephants and the interests of their human neighbors.
Last June, after two weeks of heated argument, delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) conference in Harare, Zimbabwe voted to "downlist" elephant populations in Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe from the endangered species category and to allow each country to hold a one-time sale of ivory to Japan.
Four years after leaving the helm of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), anthropologist and Kenyan Parliament member Richard Leakey has been reappointed to the post.
He succeeds conservationist David Western, who left the directorship in September. Leakey first served in the position from 1989 to 1994. Leakey, despite past differences with the government of President Daniel arap Moi, told reporters he believes he has an obligation to Kenya and that "in the hope that I can indeed be helpful at this time, I have accepted the position."