Understanding the Human Toll of Wildlife Crime


Rachael Bale, National Geographic

Date Published

Go to link to see video of Christy speaking. 

Wildlife crime isn’t just about animals. Part of our mission here at Wildlife Watch is to highlight the human toll of poaching and trafficking too.

Each year, poachers kill around 30,000 elephants just for their tusks: Ivory brings in up to $1,500 per kilogram. With the trade that lucrative, armed militias and terrorist groups have joined in force.  
With a fake tusk made by one of best taxidermists in the world and a custom-made GPS tracker as his Trojan horse, Bryan Christy investigated these connections in National Geographic’s Tracking Ivory. Christy, the chief correspondent for National Geographic’s Special Investigations Unit, made a disturbing find: A terrorist group led by the infamous Joseph Kony is killing elephants to directly fund a war of terror on the people of Africa.
Watch Christy discuss the Lord’s Resistance Army, the rangers who put their lives on the line to protect elephants—and terrorized villagers—and his own undercover operation that helped link it all together. Christy spoke on October 22 to an audience at a National Geographic Live! event.