Dogs and Informants Track Down Elephant’s Killers

By J.D. O’Kasick

His black snout twitching furiously among the tall grasses, Rocky heaved ahead on the scent trail. Rocky’s handler, along with five armed rangers, followed the German shepherd’s lead, scanning the savanna for footprints and discarded evidence.

The night before, on July 26, poachers had killed another elephant bull at Manyara Ranch.

Video: Inside the Largest Ivory Seizure in West Africa

When a Togo Customs official decided to turn around his X-ray machine and inspect freight leaving his country, instead of looking only at cargo coming into the country, he uncovered what at the time was to be the biggest seizure of illegal ivory in the history of West Africa. In this outtake from the National Geographic…

Video: Ivory Trade and Slave Trade Linked Throughout History

The trade in elephant ivory dates at least back to the days of the slave trade in Africa. Investigative Journalist Bryan Christy visits the home of renowned 19th Century slave trader and ivory merchant Tippu Tip in Zanzibar.

Video: “Toy” Drone Deployed in Ivory Investigation

In Lomé, Togo, investigative journalist Bryan Christy learns of a lumberyard suspected of being at the center of the illegal ivory trade.  As clear outsiders, he and the video production crew must find a way to take a closer look without breaking their cover. Befriending the children and showing off their “toy” drone might just…

Video: Inside Togo’s Voodoo Fetish Market

Bryan Christy visits the fetish market in Togo as part of his investigation in Africa’s ivory trade. He explains the presence of dead, dried animals on display and tells about going behind the scenes with vendors and seeing live animals and wonders if there is elephant ivory among the “behind the scenes” specimens for sale.

Video: The Accepting Nature of Orphaned Baby Elephants

Bryan Christy visits the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage in Kenya and marvels at the accepting nature of the juvenile elephants, which escort him as they are released into the wild and join adult elephants.

How to Save Elephants: Obliterate Ivory Stockpiles Simultaneously

To save African elephants from extinction, “range states should put their ivory stockpiles beyond commercial use immediately and simultaneously,” says South African economist Ross Harvey.

Human-Elephant Conflict Needs More International Exposure

By Michael Schwartz

The Western world desperately wants to save Africa’s elephants from poachers. But the public needs, and deserves, to know more about human-elephant conflict. Many elephant admirers living in the United States and Europe might not understand what is involved and how it plays out in the context of elephant conservation.

The Passing of an Elephant Don

It’s been four years now since I’ve seen Greg, the don of the boys’ club and most the dominant elephant bull at Mushara waterhole in the northeast corner of Etosha National Park, Namibia. This morning, I decided that I needed to come to terms with how long it’s been and what that might mean, so I went out to retrace his steps to the waterhole from the northeast elephant path the last time I’d seen him.

Can an Elephant Called Penelope Petunia Save Her Own Kind?

By Tracy Tullis Adults often say that today’s children will inherit the problems that previous generations have created—especially our degraded environment­—and that it’ll be up to them to find solutions and make things right. Students at PS 107, an elementary school in Brooklyn, New York, are getting a head start. This spring, the fifth graders…

Black Rhino return to Samburu-Land

In the shadow of Mount Kenya lie the hot lowlands of Samburu-land. This vast, beautiful region of rocky ridges, acacia grasslands and doum palm forest is the traditional homeland of the Samburu people, the rare Grevy’s zebra and the Gerenuk antelope. For thousands of years, it was also home to the black rhino, until the…

With Extinction Clock Ticking, White House Proposes New Elephant Protections

By Peter LaFontaine There are millions of elephants in the United States, but you won’t find them roaming Yellowstone. Instead, they spend their days gathering dust in silver cabinets, getting smacked by cues on pool tables, and hanging on walls as trophies from far-flung hunts. We’re talking about ivory, of course, and about hides, hair,…

Ozzie the Unstoppable Elephant

No one informed Ozzie that he’s too young to go into musth. Somehow the dynamics of Mushara’s male elephant society over the past few years have allowed this young bull’s testosterone spikes to slip through the cracks unsuppressed, resulting in an unholy terror. Ozzie in musth has been unstoppable.

Video Trap Catches Genet Hitching a Ride on Back of Rhinoceros

A genet, a small nocturnal animal that resembles a mix between a cat and a mongoose, was caught in a video trap hitching a ride on the back of a critically endangered black rhino in a South African park. It can be seen hunting insects that might have either been disturbed by the rhino, or attracted to it (like a cattle egret or fork-tailed drong would do during the day). A bat, (another potential source of prey for the genet), is also seen cashing in on the insect bounty. It is still unclear whether the genet is also interested in parasites like ticks on the rhino’s skin.

Crime, Corruption, Funds: Tanzania’s Conservation Challenges

By Maraya Cornell

Recently, I interviewed the Tanzanian Minister of Natural Resources and Tourism, Lazaro Nyalandu, for National Geographic News, inviting him to respond to charges that Tanzania isn’t doing enough to protect its elephants—charges that have surfaced with renewed urgency in the wake of catastrophic results from last year’s nation-wide elephant census.