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Cites bans export of live-caught African elephants to zoos
African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana are currently listed on Appendix II of Cites.
Near-total ban agreed after days of discussions 

Governments have voted to ban the export of wild, live-caught elephants from Africa to zoos around the world, apart from in ‘exceptional circumstances’.

This is following a long and intense week of discussions at the 18th Cites meeting in Geneva.

African elephants from Zimbabwe and Botswana are currently listed on Appendix II of Cites, with an annotation that allows live elephants to be exported to ‘appropriate and acceptable destinations’.
Under this definition, live baby African elephants have been captured from the wild for transport to zoos in China and elsewhere.

From 2012, more than 100 elephant calves were sent from Zimbabwe to Chinese zoos.

The EU originally opposed the ban but eventually changed its vote after intensive negotiations, resulting in a change to the wording. Exports will now be allowed, only in exceptional circumstances, if approved by the Cites Animal Committee and IUCN specialist group.

Eventually, the ban was passed with 87 votes to 29, with 25 abstentions.

Wildlife director Audrey Delsink, of Humane Society International/Africa, described the decision as “momentous”.

She added: “Public sentiment is shifting, and people are increasingly outraged at the senseless and cruel practice of snatching baby elephants from the wild to live a life as a zoo exhibit…

“The definition of what is an appropriate destination is key, and the independent oversight by elephant specialists is critical, and so we will remain vigilant as that discussion develops, and fight against any attempts to justify or prolong trade in live baby elephants for captive purposes.”

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Rare chimp birth announced at Edinburgh Zoo

News Story 1
 The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) welcomed the birth of a critically endangered western chimpanzee on Monday 3 February at Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail.

The baby girl will be named in the coming days through a public vote, and staff will carry out a paternity test during its first health check to determine the father.

Mother Heleen's first infant, Velu, was born in 2014, making this new baby only the second chimpanzee born in Scotland for more than 20 years.

Budongo Trail team leader Donald Gow said: "While we celebrate every birth, this one is particularly special because our new arrival is a critically endangered Western chimpanzee, a rare subspecies of chimpanzee."

Image (c) RZSS/Donald Gow. 

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BEVA offering free membership to vet students

The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is offering free membership to veterinary students. As part of a new initiative with the aim of encouraging more veterinary professionals into equine practice.

According to BEVA, less than one in ten veterinary students choose to work in equine practice. The association hopes that this initiative will provide insight into the field and the benefits of a career in equine medicine.

Benefits of membership include:
▪ access to a network of nearly 3,000 members
▪ special student rates to attend BEVA Congress
▪ online access to BEVA's Equine Veterinary Education (EVE) journal
▪ free access to the association's online learning platform
▪ free access to BEVA's practical veterinary apps
▪ exclusive discounts on a range of things from cinema tickets to grocery shopping.

BEVA will be releasing a series of short videos over the next few months from BEVA Council members, explaining what inspired them to work in equine practice.

Image (c) BEVA.