Will tracking the journey taken by illegal ivory help the cause?
After five years off the air, National Geographic’s Explorer has returned with a monthly series that will focus on an issue that effects us all: poaching. Bryan Christy goes to great lengths to track how this ivory is being transported from Africa to black markets all around the world.
With the help some of very talented professionals and taxidermists, Christy has helped manufacture an artificial tusk with a GPS tracking chip embedded in the fake ivory.
“[I wanted to] use his tusks to hunt the people who kill elephants and to learn what roads their ivory plunder follows, which ports it leaves, what ships it travels on, what cities and countries it transits, and where it ends up,” Christy said in an accompanying feature in National Geographic magazine.
These tusks are finding their way in the hands of some of the world’s most notorious armed militias and terrorist groups, and to this day, are still making their way through smuggling networks.
“So far they’ve traveled 600 miles from jungle to desert in just under two months,” he writes.
About 30,000 elephants are being poached yearly with the entire species in jeopardy for extinction in the wild by 2020. As conservationists and hunters alike, we should be concerned and focusing efforts to stop this illegal and destructive trade.