Through a taxing series of twists and turns, I find myself on assignment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, about to go undercover with Aidan Hartley. Hartley is a seasoned war correspondent and investigative journalist, and no greenhorn when it comes putting his life on the line to get a story.
Our goal is time sensitive and dangerous: capture video of criminal ivory traders selling poached ivory. Once embedded, we have just a 3-day window to operate in the city; we fear pushing our investigation further could trigger the slaughter of more elephants.
Complete figures are not yet available for 2012, but TRAFFIC reports “17 large-scale ivory seizures in 2011 alone—more than double the highest previous figure of eight seizures in 2009, and totaling an estimated 26.4 tonnes of ivory.”
While a second film team attempts to capture the demand for ivory in China, we are scouting one of the world’s main ports for smuggled ivory, acutely aware that our lives could be on the line. As the events play out, we’re forced to decide whether to follow the sellers on their terms or abort the mission.
WATCH THE FULL ONLINE SERIES:
- Battle for the Elephants: Web Series Intro
- Episode 1: The Plight of the Elephant
- Episode 2: Criminal Traders Exposed
- Episode 3: The China Ivory Market
- Episode 4: Massive Ivory Stockpile