Concern about the survival of the African elephant is hardly new. In 77 A.D., Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder pondered its potential extinction. By the European Middle Ages, his prediction seemed to be coming true: Thanks to the demand for ivory, the elephant, which had once flourished up to the Mediterranean coast, became extinct in northern Africa.
One of the most familiar players in the African elephant crisis of the last 20 years is CITES, shorthand for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.
The existence of legitimate ivory stockpiles held by African governments represents a growing challenge to the eight-year-old CITES ban on international trade in elephant ivory.
THE VOLCANO NYAMULAGIRA ERUPTED recently in Zaire's Virungas National Park, the lava flow stopping short of a forest inhabited by chimpanzees.
The volcano, active over the course of about six weeks, did not affect civil-war refugees camped near the park. The regular eruptions destroy forest and create a mosaic of forest habitats on the lava flows, according to the International Gorilla Conservation Program (IGCP), a project jointly managed by AWF, Fauna and Flora International and the World Wide Fund for Nature.
RINDERPEST, A DEADLY AND HIGHLY CONTAGIOUS disease that strikes cloven-hoofed animals, has infected cattle in a village near Tanzania's Ngorongoro crater, threatening not only more livestock but the abundant wildlife throughout the Serengeti ecosystem.