What is it about elephants that pull us in, that evoke an almost immediate sympathy? Is it that family is so important to them? That they take care of their young? That they play? Or is it that they are simply so big, smart and powerful?
Whatever the allure, elephants are popular. And yet, in 2012, the world witnessed the greatest slaughter of elephants since an international ban on the ivory trade was first put in place in 1989. According to some sources, as many as 50,000 elephants were killed across Africa for their tusks.
Now, a ground-breaking National Geographic special goes undercover to expose the criminal network behind the supply and demand of ivory. Battle for the Elephants, airing Wednesday, February 27 at 8:00 p.m., follows five people, each of whom is waging a battle for the elephant. Their stories reveal that this is an epic tale of supply and demand, of passion and profit, of love and loss.
The elephant, earth’s most charismatic and majestic land animal, today faces market forces driving the value of its tusks to levels once reserved for gold. Who is perpetrating the wholesale slaughter of elephants? What's driving the decimation of elephant herds and why is it happening now? What happened to the ban on the trade?
The special also demonstrates how the elephant, with its highly evolved society, keen intelligence, ability to communicate across vast distances and to love, to remember and even to mourn, is far more complex than ever imagined.
More revelations are sure to follow, but only if the outspoken and courageous crime investigators and conservationists showcased in this program prevail.
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