National Geographic Presents Warlords of Ivory
The upcoming September issue of National Geographic magazine features the story of a special investigation into Africa’s illegal elephant poaching and ivory trade, to answer the questions, "who exactly is killing the elephants and why?".
It is also the subject of National Geographic Channel's "Explorer: Warlords of Ivory " August 30th documentary. Investigative reporter Bryan Christy commissioned the creation of life-like artificial elephant tusks (they had to smell, feel and look like the real thing), which he implanted with a hidden GPS device to track the world's elephant poachers and see the road the ivory travels. It is a fascinating investigation, a crime story, making the direct connection, for the first time, between ivory and terrorism (you probably remember when the group Invisible Children shot to fame
after its video "Kony 2012" went viral. This investigation connects poaching to Kony).
If you think about it, the average person has no idea that there is a definitive connection between these beloved animals and terrorism and while most people can easily name a drug lord or a mafia boss, very few people could name a wildlife trafficker. Just a few days ago, while the world was preoccupied with the killing of Cecil the lion (due, in part, to the fact that Cecil's killer has a name and a face), 5 more elephants were poached for their ivory and the news didn't make headlines because there is no criminal, no face, to place the blame on. It is National Geographic's hope that Christy's investigation will change this trend.