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.
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.
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.
Helen Scales, author of Poseidon’s Steed: The Story of Seahorses from Myth to Reality, reveals the unusual anatomy and strange sex lives of seahorses. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme that seahorses live mysterious lives, tucked away out of sight on the seafloor, and provides insights into their strange characteristics, including: kangaroo-like pouches for the males to bear the young, horse-like snouts used like straws to suck in tiny zooplankton, prehensile tails to grasp sea grasses, swiveling chameleon eyes and color-changing skin. Seahorses face many threats, including habitat loss and degradation and commercial trade. They’re used in traditional Asian medicine, and also sold as curios and as aquarium pets. Global consumption of seahorses is massive, with about 25 million seahorses sold each year. There’s so much we still don’t know about seahorses. For instance, we’re not even sure how many different species there are.
Dr. Helen Scales is a marine biologist, writer, and broadcaster who specializes in fisheries, habitat protection, and the international trade in endangered species. She has lived and worked in various countries and now lives in Cambridge, England where she works as a consultant for a number of conservation groups including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, Natural England, and TRAFFIC International. For her PhD from the University of Cambridge she studied the loves and lives of one of the biggest coral reef fish, the Napoleon wrasse, and its imperiled status due to demand from Asian live seafood restaurants.She appears as a radio host on the BBC’s The Naked Scientists show and on BBC Radio 4’s Home Planet. She also produces and presents a new podcast series, Naked Oceans, a fun and informative exploration of the undersea realm. In her first book, Poseidon’s Steed: The Story of Seahorses from Myth to Reality, she explores humankind’s thousand-year fascination with seahorses. This episode of “The WildLife” originally aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on January 17, 2010. It was reposted on August 22, 2011.
David Kirkby, veteran U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) Special Agent, talks about wildlife law enforcement. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about two of his most prominent cases: smuggling of primates for research institutions; and Operation Arachnid, an undercover investigation into the illegal trade in tarantulas.
David Kirkby was a US FWS Special Agent for twenty years, from 1988 until he retired in 2008. Raised in North Canton, Ohio, Kirkby worked for years in the federal wildlife refuge system, starting in the west desert of Utah before moving to Montana’s Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, and then the Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois. From there, he moved into US FWS’s law enforcement division, first as a wildlife inspector at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. That helped prepare him for another shift, as a special agent. In 1988, after additional extensive training, he began as a FWS Special Agent, with his first duty station in Montgomery, Alabama. Eventually, Kirkby moved back to Chicago, where he pursued numerous complex multi-year undercover investigations, including ones on primate smuggling and on the pet tarantula trade. This episode of “The WildLife” was posted on August XX, 2011.
The WildLife is a show that explores the mysteries of the animal world through interviews with scientists, authors and other wildlife investigators. It airs every Monday from 1-2 pm EST on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont.
Jessica Speart, author of Winged
Obsession: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler, discusses
illegal trade of rare butterflies. She tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about
the real-life characters in her book: Yoshi Kojima, the world’s most wanted
butterfly smuggler, and the rookie US Fish and Wildlife agent, Ed Newcomer, who
finally brings him down. The trade in rare butterfly species is a lucrative
business. While there is much trade that is legal, the illegal butterfly trade
could be worth up to $200 million each year. “Butterfly collectors with the
financial means will do whatever necessary to obtain the specimens they want,” Speart
says. For some, it’s like stamp collecting. For others, it’s the equivalent of
collecting a Renoir or Van Gogh.
loss is the most significant threat to butterflies, poaching adds to the stress
on these delicate insects – so much so that when criminals target the rare species,
extinction becomes a real possibility. Butterfly poachers often pursue the most
endangered species, and many prowl national parks where they collect butterfly
eggs to raise in a controlled environment. They do this so that they can end up
with perfect specimens—and a higher price. Whenever the wings are damaged, the
value of the butterfly drops dramatically. As Speart describes in this
interview, “The way you get a perfect specimen is to kill them shortly after
they’re born.” There’s no other way to make sure its wings remain unused and in
is a freelance journalist specializing in wildlife enforcement issues. She's
been published in the New York Times Magazine, OMNI, Travel + Leisure, Audubon,
National Wildlife, Mother Jones, Delta's Sky magazine, and many others. She is
also the author of ten crime novels featuring the fictional character of US Fish
and Wildlife Service special agent Rachel Porter. Rachel has an unwavering
devotion to tracking down the enemies of rare and endangered species and, in
each book, solves a mystery focused around real world wildlife crimes. Her most
recent book, Winged
Obsession, is Jessica’s first non-fiction book. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator,
WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on April 4, 2011.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Sheila O’Connor reveals what it takes to work in wildlife law enforcement. In the second of a two-part interview, Special Agent O’Connor tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the specialized training officers go through. (Part I last week focused on her adventures stopping wildlife crime—from tarantulas to tigers.)
Special Agent O’Connor is a veteran wildlife law enforcement officer, with over 20 years of service under belt. She began her career in wildlife law enforcement as a Conservation Police Officer for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, where she served for eight years. She then moved to federal wildlife law enforcement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where she was first posted to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then to St. Paul, Minnesota. During that time, she investigated several cases that led to felony convictions for violations of wildlife laws. She was recently promoted to be a training officer at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (also known as FLETC) in Georgia. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on November 8, 2010.
US Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Sheila O’Connor reveals what it’s like to work in wildlife law enforcement. In the first of a two-part interview, Special Agent O’Connor tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about her adventures stopping wildlife crime—from tarantulas to elephants. (Part 2 next week will focus on what it takes to be a special agent and the specialized training officers go through.)
Special Agent O’Connor is a veteran wildlife law enforcement officer, with over 20 years of service under belt. She began her career in wildlife law enforcement as a Conservation Police Officer for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, where she served for eight years. She then moved to federal wildlife law enforcement with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where she was first posted to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and then to St. Paul, Minnesota. During that time, she investigated several cases that led to felony convictions for violations of wildlife laws. She was recently promoted to be a training officer at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (also known as FLETC) in Georgia. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on November 1, 2010.
Kristian Teleki, SeaWeb’s Vice President for Science Initiatives and former Director of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), reveals some of the mysteries of corals. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the biology and uses of corals and how much we still don’t know. He also discusses the threats to coral reefs and what can be done to halt their decline. Kristian Teleki joined SeaWeb as Vice President for Science Initiatives in November 2009. For the decade before that, he served as the Director of the International Coral Reef Action Network (ICRAN), a unique global partnership dedicated to addressing the serious decline in the health of the world's coral reefs. During his tenure there Kristian had oversight for more than 40 coral reef projects in 35 countries. Project activities ranged from livelihood diversification and resource management to the prevention and mitigation of ecological degradation of coral reefs through management, monitoring and public awareness actions. In addition to his ICRAN duties, Kristian established and led the One Ocean Programme at the United Nations Environment Programme's World Conservation Monitoring Centre, designed to reflect the interconnected nature of the world's seas and its coastlines, the rich and varied biodiversity they support, and human reliance on its resources and services. Kristian Teleki has a diverse background in marine science and conservation, and his field experience extends from the polar to tropical environments. He is particularly interested in the relationship that humans have with the ocean and promoting the sustainable use of its resources. He has degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Cambridge University. He also is on the Editorial Board of Aquatic Conservation, is a member of the Resource Users Group for the European Project on Ocean Acidification (EPOCA) and is a Steering Committee member of the Global Islands Partnership and the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on May 3, 2010.
Bryan Christy, author of The Lizard King, talks about the illicit reptile trade and his adventures researching this underworld. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the massive challenges in stopping the trade and also what it’s like to have a monkey (literally!) on your back. Bryan Christy is an investigative journalist and author. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University, Cornell, the University of Michigan Law School and was a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Tokyo Law School. His most recent story, The Kingpin, profiled illegal wildlife trader Anson Wong for the January 2010 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Before becoming a journalist, Bryan was a lawyer in Washington, DC specializing in international trade law and policy. He worked on such issues as US-Japan Supercomputer negotiations, Norwegian Whaling, and sales of lightwater nuclear reactors to North Korea. He also worked in the Executive Office of the President. Mr. Christy is the author of The Lizard King: The True Crimes and Passions of the World's Greatest Reptile Smugglers. In researching that book, he was bitten between the eyes by a blood python, chased by a mother alligator, sprayed by a bird-eating tarantula, and ejaculated on by a Bengal tiger. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on April 26, 2010.