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The United States has done it. The Philippines and China too. Even Hong Kong has said it will destroy some of its contraband ivory. But ahead of a conservation conference in London next month where world leaders will descend to seek a solution to wildlife crime, the debate about the future of stockpiles is set to heat up.

Elephant Appeal: Tourist cash can save the elephant

Just as money drives the poachers, so visitors’ dollars can give communities a sustainable reason to protect their valuable wildlife. Simon Calder looks at the possibilities for East Africa

Kenyan game rangers with the carcass of an elephant killed by poachers

10 things you need to know about elephant poaching

It is a familiar cause, but it has never been more urgent. Last year, tens of thousands of Africa's elephants were killed to supply illegal ivory to markets throughout the world. Increasingly, revenue generated from this blood ivory is being used to fuel war and terrorism in Africa.

Seized ivory tusks in Hong Kong

China's thirst for ivory is a death sentence for Africa's elephants

Now the slaughter of elephants is worse than at any time since 1989

George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence on Saturday

Saracens 24 Sale 19: Fresh Will Fraser injury mars Saracens’ joy

If someone had beamed down from Mars – or from rugby’s amateur era, which feels even more remote – for the Aviva Premiership leaders Saracens’ 24-19 win over Sale Sharks on Saturday how would they have judged the spectacle? An arena of wonderfully nuanced and contrasting players such as Saracens’ gliding fly-half Charlie Hodgson and cerebral lock Steve Borthwick? Or a base battlefield of mega-muscled gladiators battering each other Rollerball-style with casualties shipped off to hospital on motorised carts for the benefit of the paying public, television viewer and now – as we are told enthusiastically by competing broadcasters – broadband consumers?

Without action against the renewed scourge of poaching, these giants of nature will vanish

Together we can not only do something to stop the slaughter of these animals, but also help those whose lives are being blighted by this unfolding crisis

A small charity needs all the help it can get in protecting Africa’s elephants

Over the last five years poaching has exploded, driven by the booming demand for ivory

George Kruis of Saracens tries to break through the Sale defence

Saracens 24 Sale 19 match report: Saracens bring Danny Cipriani’s full house down with second-half tries

Sarries remain top of the Aviva Premiership as they grind out victory against a valiant Sale side led by the former England fly-half

Hung, poisoned and mutilated alive: our atrocious abuse of elephants

Elephants are among the most intelligent, gentle creatures on the planet. Yet they have suffered for centuries at the hand of man.

Elephant tusks smuggled into Thailand from Kenya. Thailand is yet to implement a legal framework to tackle the ivory trade

US to destroy entire six-ton stockpile of ivory in message to poachers – but experts say it could just make problem worse

There are fears destruction just increases value of remaining stockpiles on illegal markets

South Africa is home to almost all Africa’s rhinos

Number of rhinos killed by poachers hits new high

The number of rhinos killed by poachers has hit a new record, raising worries of a downward population spiral in a country that is home to almost all of Africa’s rhinos.

Zimbabwe elephants poisoned in cyanide attack

At least 80 elephants have been killed for their ivory tusks by poachers

Royal Bengal tiger numbers in Nepal leap to 198

The number of wild royal Bengal tigers in Nepal has increased to 198, a 63.6 per cent rise in five years, a survey of the big cats shows.

An adult male elephant looks up at a helicopter in a remote area of South Sudan, where the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in partnership with South Sudan's Ministry of Wildlife Conservation and Tourism is attaching GPS-satellite collars to elephants to help understand movement patterns and to monitor and protect them

Illegal ivory trade 'funding Lord's Resistance Army rebels'

The Lord's Resistance Army has resorted to elephant poaching in order to fund its activities, according to human rights organisations.

The Enough Project, the Satellite Sentinel Project and two other groups said in the report that the LRA has turned to elephant poaching

Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army poaching elephants for cash

Members of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia run by the fugitive  warlord Joseph Kony, are killing elephants across Central Africa to raise funds, according to a report by watchdog organisations.

(l-r) Phoebe Aldridge (LUCY MORRIS), Roy Tucker (IAN PEPPERELL), Hayley Tucker (Lorraine Coady) in The Archers

The Archers 'does not compete with EastEnders' for sensational storylines

The Archers' outgoing editor Vanessa Whitburn has denied that the drama has been competing with soaps such as EastEnders for sensational storylines.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment