The 1989 global ban on ivory trade was supposed to end the widespread slaughter of elephants in Africa -- it hasn’t. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but by almost every estimate, poachers are now killing tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the last two decades. Increasingly, the killers are armed militants seeking quick cash, and demand for smuggled ivory is strong. In Southeast Asia it remains a prized material for religious carvings, and in China it’s coveted by the newly enriched middle class. Please join us to discuss the illegal ivory trade and the future of Africa’s elephants.
All photos are from the October issue of National Geographic magazine. Photograph by © Brent Stirton, Reportage by Getty Images/National Geographic. No copying, distribution or archiving permitted. View more images here. Some content may not be suitable for all readers.
National Geographic Reporter Bryan Christy discovers how religion plays a role in the problem of ivory trafficking. From "Blood Ivory," the October 2012 cover story of National Geographic magazine.