Recently by John Frederick Walker:


“By the next day his corpse had bloated into a thing like a crashed zeppelin, with legs stuck out straight, his thick hide splashed white with droppings that ran down the cork-tree wrinkles of his flanks.” -Journalist Aidan Hartley wrote about the stinking carcass left behind in yet another instance of ivory poaching in Kenya.

The number of African elephants slain every year for their tusks? A staggering 25,000.

This unsustainable slaughter has led to a global outcry from animal lovers, scientists, schoolchildren, politicians. Public revulsion is now at a level reminiscent of the run-up to the 1989 ban on cross-border sales of ivory imposed by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) in 1990.

But this time there’s an additional layer of despair, stoked by mounting fears that the situation is out of control. As Hartley confessed, “Whatever we have been doing up to this point has failed.”

More… “The Dark Side of Ivory Prohibition”

John Frederick Walker is the author of A Certain Curve of Horn and Ivory’s Ghosts. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic News, World Policy Journal, and other publications.


Our pilot circles to find Masalani’s red-dirt airstrip and its lone windsock in the drought-stricken scrubland, 80 miles from the Somali border. I spot two dusty vehicles next to Ian Craig’s fat-tired Super Cub as we touch down. It’s late July and warm, with whipping winds.


I’ve flown to Kenya’s remote Ijara district for the hirola, a little-known antelope with lyrate horns and a long, cartoonish face. Specifically, I’m here to find out how Craig, an ex-professional hunter turned wildlife savior, plans to help the area’s Muslim pastoralist community keep their tiny population of hirola from spiraling into extinction from habitat loss, predation and poaching.

The hope is that what’s happening here work might work elsewhere. The hirola isn’t the only Kenyan species in trouble. The majority of the country’s game animals, perhaps… More…