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Save the Vaquita and Boycott Mexican Shrimp

The world’s smallest porpoise is on the brink of extinction. The vaquita marina (little sea cow) is only found in the Northern Sea of Cortez and fewer than 30 individuals remain (a dramatic decrease from last year). While fishermen do not target the vaquita directly, its numbers are decreasing due to entanglements in gillnets.

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What is the key to a successful marine protected area? People and money.

A boat travels inside the Galapagos Marine Reserve (Ralph Lee Hopkins)

Simply designating a marine protected area (MPA) is not enough to protect critical habitat and species. A new study in Nature sought to answer how MPA management impacted fish populations. The results confirm a belief long-held by the marine community: the success of an MPA is directly correlated to effective management and this in turn requires adequate money and staff.

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Domestic rhino horn trade could fuel poaching, WildAid warns

South Africa’s top court has ruled in favor of allowing domestic trade in rhino horns, WildAid has learned. Since 2009, a government-backed moratorium had been in place preventing the sale of horns within the country.

A legal challenge was brought against the moratorium by private ranchers who own large populations of the animals, and who are believed to be stockpiling horns in hopes of selling them commercially. WildAid is concerned that legalizing domestic rhino horn trade opens the door to additional illegal horn exports.

“There is no domestic demand for rhino horn products and, as the pro-trade lobby very well knows, the reason why the moratorium was implemented in the first place was to prevent domestic trade from being used as a cover for smuggling," said Susie Watts of WildAid's Africa Program. 

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China to close ivory shops and factories as price plummets

29 March 2017 – In a major step toward implementing its pledge to ban the ivory trade, China will close 67 carving factories and retail shops across the country on Friday, WildAid has learned. The first round of closures impacts about a third of all official shops and factories, according to documents released by China’s State Forestry Administration. 

Late last year, China announced plans to stop all domestic ivory sales by the end of 2017. The country is currently the world’s largest market for elephant ivory products. Although international trade is prohibited, up to 30,000 elephants are killed illegally each year for their tusks.

“These closures prove that China means business in closing down the ivory trade and helping the African elephant,” said Peter Knights, CEO of WildAid. “The price of ivory has dropped by two-thirds from previous highs, so it is now a very bad investment. We expect further drops as the full closure approaches at the end of the year.

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A New Canine Unit to Protect the Galapagos from Invasive Species

Training the new canine unit to prevent invasive species in the Galapagos

Invasive species pose one of the greatest threats to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. That’s why together with the Galapagos Conservancy, WildAid helped the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency (ABG) form a specialized canine unit to protect these unique islands from invasive species

In 2016, we selected and trained two dogs and three handlers, as well as constructed the necessary infrastructure (kennels and offices) for the unit. The canine unit will provide a versatile and low cost method of detecting illegal substances to prevent their entry into the Galapagos archipelago.

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