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Since she was in 6th grade, Rhiannon Tomtishen has been passionate about orangutans. As a Girl Scout, that passion led her to fight for deforestation-free palm oil together with her friend Madison Vorva. The story of these two girls inspires young and old alike and shows how simple actions can make a big difference. Now 19 years old, this eloquent young women shares her experience and advises us all to follow our passion.

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Kevin Bewick, head of the Anti-Poaching Intelligence Group of Southern Africa (APIGSA), provides his perspective on the fight against wildlife crime. His group undertakes investigations and focuses on intelligence gathering and research into wildlife poaching and trafficking.

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John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), provides his perspective on the major outcomes of CITES 16th Conference of Parties, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand from March 3-14, 2013. The conversation covers overarching issues, such as enforcement, financing and political engagement, as well as species-specific items, including timber, sharks and elephants.

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Dr. Steven Amstrup has been studying polar bears and their habitat since 1980, and much of what we know about them, and even how scientists study them, comes from his work. For instance, he was the first person to apply radio telemetry to the study of polar bears, which allowed scientists to understand the immense distances that polar bears travel, and that knowledge of their movements is vital to understanding polar bear ecology. He also developed studies to quantitatively describe denning habitat and developed the ability to locate dens under the snow with Forward Looking Infrared Imagery (FLIR). That allowed him to uncovered – quite literally – information about polar bear maternal denning. He made the unexpected discovery that over half of historic polar bear maternity dens in Alaska were on the drifting pack ice, and then, subsequently, he led work that showed that polar bears increasingly opted to den on land because of sea ice deterioration due to global warming.

Over the three decades he’s been studying polar bears, Amstrup has observed a profound change in their Arctic habitats and the threats they face, and he often speaks out about the need to mitigate greenhouse gasses if polar bears are to survive as a species.

Dr. Amstrup is currently senior scientist at Polar Bears International. He led the international team of researchers that prepared nine reports that became the basis for the decision, by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior in 2008, to list polar bears as a threatened species. He is a past chairman of the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group and has been an active member of the group throughout his career. Prior to joining Polar Bears International staff, he was the Polar Bear Project Leader with the United States Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, AK.

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John Scanlon, Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), reflects on the 40th anniversary of CITES, provides an overview of what to look for at the 16th Conference of Parties, and discusses species-specific issues, with an emphasis on elephants, rhinos and sharks.

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Iain Douglas-Hamilton reflects on a lifetime studying elephants and discusses the current surge in ivory poaching.

At age 23, Iain Douglas-Hamilton pioneered the first in-depth scientific study of elephant social behavior in Tanzania's Lake Manyara National Park. During the 1970s he investigated the status of elephants throughout Africa and was the first to alert the world to the ivory poaching holocaust. He and his wife have co-authored two award-winning books and have made numerous television films. In 1993, he founded Save the Elephants, a Kenyan conservation organization dedicated specifically to elephants. In 2010, he was named the recipient of the prestigious Indianapolis Prize, in recognition for his lifetime achievements.

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Fourteen-year-old Celia Ho from Hong Kong recently launched a campaign to stop the ivory trade after becoming inspired by Bryan Christy’s “Blood Ivory” article in National Geographic magazine. Her young voice represents a new hope for elephants that is increasing throughout Asia while her story illustrates how one person can make a difference.

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Carbofuran was developed in the 1960s to replace more persistent pesticides such as DDT. Since then it has repeatedly been implicated in the mass mortality of nontarget wildlife, especially avian species. Conservationists worldwide have sought to regulate or ban the use of carbofuran for decades. However, this controversial product remains registered for use in a number of developed and developing nations. Its use in the United States has fueld an ongoing regulatory battle between the US Environmental Protection Agency and various lobby groups. Several significant obstacles, including flawed field study designs, lack of analytical capacity and a dearth of forensic evidence to support anecdotal reports have all contributed to carbofuran's remarkable staying power.

This presentation on carbofuran was made by Ngaio Richards at the Society of Wildlife Forensic Science's first triennial meeting in May 2012. It highlights key points and advances from the recently published book, Carbofuran and Wildlife Poisoning: Global Perspectives and Forensic Approaches.

Ngaio Richards is a Canine Field Specialist with Working Dogs for Conservation. She is a forensic ecologist and conservationist ans has authored numerous papers on wildlife monitoring and conservation.

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The Rhino DNA Index System (RhODIS) is a secure database containing DNA profile data of individual rhinoceros. The extraction method has been optimized and is now used to individually identify rhinoceros horns from stockpiles and to link recovered horns to poaching cases. The information contained in this database has assisted in a number of convictions in South Africa and also one in the United Kingdom. This podcast contains a presentation on the Rhino DNA Index System that was made at the Society of Wildlife Forensic Science’s first triennial meeting in May 2012 by Cindy Harper, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

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Naturalist Mark Fraser shares his enthusiasm for wildlife  and reveals simple things you can do to help wildlife in your own backyard. He takes "The WildLife" host Laurel Neme on a "virtual tour" of New England forests to meet local "residents" from fishers to coywolves to salamanders and songbirds.

This episode of "The WildLife" originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 31, 2011 and was reposted on October 3, 2011.

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