Interview with Blood Ivory writer Bryan Christy

Rhett A. Butler —

January 24, 2013

While the plight of elephants is increasingly visible due to media coverage, less widely understood is the role religion plays in driving the ivory trade. This issue was explored at length in an explosive cover story published in National Geographic by Bryan Christy last October. The story, titled Blood Ivory, detailed how demand for religious trinkets is driving large-scale killing of Earth's largest land animal.

But the victims are more than elephants. The ivory trade is funding wars in Africa and possibly even terrorism, while hundreds of rangers and conservation workers have been killed in the line of duty in recent years. The trade is increasingly controlled by criminal syndicates, which also traffic in weapons, drugs, and people. Christy touches on these issues and more in his story.

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