Authorities Adopt New Technologies to Fight Illegal Ivory Trade in Togo

Despite the ivory trade having been prohibited for 25 years, tens-of-thousands of elephants are illegally killed in Africa every year. The West African nation of Togo has turned to technology to help it combat ivory smuggling.

What's the Latest?


Last week, South African newspaper Business Day covered new measures adopted by the Togolese government in attempts to combat the region's illegal ivory trade:

To dismantle the smuggling network, the authorities have turned to science. "DNA tests were carried out from February 27 to March 8 on a sample of 200 tusks from the consignment seized in 2013 and 2014 by a local team of specialists supported by experts from Interpol headquarters," said commissioner Charles Minpame Bolenga, who runs the global law enforcement agency’s bureau in capital Lome.

The tests should allow for the authorities to obtain knowledge regarding the illegal ivory's origin as well as biological and genetic information about the slain elephants. Authorities plan to share the results of the DNA tests with neighboring countries in order to boost the region's offensive against smugglers. 

The BD article mentions that an estimated 22,000 elephants were killed illegally in 2012 and that the total African population of the world largest land mammal has shrunk from 10 million in 1900 to a paltry 500,000 now.

What's the Big Idea?

The international elephant ivory trade was made illegal in 1989 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES, for brevity's sake). Although the ban can be deemed a relative success, tons of illegal ivory are still traded illegally every year. China, which has become heavily invested in Africa, is a notable culprit. Chinese involvement on the continent presents a risk to native elephant populations and the conservation movements that seek to protect them. That Togo has partnered with Interpol to expand its anti-ivory efforts is a step in the right direction.

Keep reading at Business Day

Photo credit: Jo Crebbin / Shutterstock

How Pete Holmes creates comedic flow: Try micro-visualization

Setting a simple intention and coming prepared can help you — and those around you — win big.

Videos
  • Setting an intention doesn't have to be complicated, and it can make a great difference when you're hoping for a specific outcome.
  • When comedian Pete Holmes is preparing to record an episode of his podcast, "You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes," he takes 15 seconds to check in with himself. This way, he's primed with his own material and can help guests feel safe and comfortable to share theirs, as well.
  • Taking time to visualize your goal for whatever you've set out to do can help you, your colleagues, and your projects succeed.
Keep reading Show less

Brazil's Amazon fires: How they started, and how you can help.

The Amazon Rainforest is often called "the planet's lungs."

NASA
Politics & Current Affairs
  • For weeks, fires have been burning in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, likely started by farmers and ranchers.
  • Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has blamed NGOs for starting the flames, offering no evidence to support the claim.
  • There are small steps you can take to help curb deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, which produces about 20 percent of the world's oxygen.
Keep reading Show less

Bigotry and hate are more linked to mass shootings than mental illness, experts say

How do we combat the roots of these hateful forces?

Photo credit: Rux Centea on Unsplash
Politics & Current Affairs
  • American Psychological Association sees a dubious and weak link between mental illness and mass shootings.
  • Center for the study of Hate and Extremism has found preliminary evidence that political discourse is tied to hate crimes.
  • Access to guns and violent history is still the number one statistically significant figure that predicts gun violence.
Keep reading Show less