Nat Geo aired a compelling investigative report Explorer: Warlords of Ivory which exposes the disturbing world of ivory hunters. Veteran investigative reporter Bryan Christy tracks illegal ivory traders. Christy was actually arrested himself while investigating this story when he was shipping fake tusks through Tanzania’s borders.
Christy’s tale is haunting at times and is absolutely disturbing but the necessity seems obvious. Hunters are using this to fund things up to and including terrorism and it’s not just an animal problem. The rangers tasked with protecting the elephants are forced to carry semi-automatic weapons, their jobs are that dangerous.
Here are Christy’s 5 facts you need to know about the ivory trade
- Extinction: Elephants are dying at a rate of 30,000 a year and there is an estimated population of roughly 500,000. If something isn’t changed elephants will be extinct in our lifetime.
- Ivory funds terrorism, terrorists are hunting elephants selling the ivory and using that to fund itself.
- Ivory funds the destabilization of the African economy. When you destabilize and control an economy you can basically enslave it’s people.
- Widows and orphans: As discussed the rangers in the field have an enormous and dangerous task, one that they don’t always survive.
- China: Ivory is extremely sought after in China and while the government has taken steps to hopefully curb some of the demand whether those laws are actually enforced will make the difference.
Check your cable provider’s On Demand choices for Nat Geo to watch this important report.