‘Blood Ivory’ Hits Philippines: Calls for Investigations

According to a story running today in the Philippines, environmental lawyer Antonio Oposa, Jr. is calling for an investigation into the country’s ivory trade:

PH in illegal ivory trade

Priest at center of international controversy

…“[If these were true,] we see violations of the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), Wildlife Conservation Act, Anti-Fencing Law, Customs Code and others,” he said.

Without judging before hearing, Oposa said his group had asked the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation and Department of Environment and Natural Resources to investigate the people responsible for the illegal trade in the country.

“We have also asked the Interpol to conduct an investigation on the people behind this illegal wildlife syndicate,” he said.

“It has long been known in the international circles that the Philippines is a source, a buyer and a conduit in the illegal wildlife trade. This must stop,” Oposa added. Read More

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African Religious Leaders Gather for Wildlife

Interesting news released today from Kenya that WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and ARC (The Alliance of Religions and Conservation) are launching a new partnership with faith leaders from across Africa to unite against the illegal wildlife trade.

If African leaders can find a way to reach across the Indian Ocean to religious leaders in Asia (and the West) they may have something. When it comes to ivory, it appears to be religious consumers who are having the most direct impact.

I find these lines especially heartening from WWF’s Dekila Chungyalpa: “Having religious leaders from all major faiths come together to call for the protection of wildlife on religious grounds and urge their congregations to view the slaughter of elephants and rhinos in Africa as a serious crime may turn the tide of the disaster we face today.”


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“Blood Ivory” Sparks Italian Story Re Vatican

La Repubblica in Rome interviewed me for this story about Blood Ivory and the role of the Catholic Church in the ivory trade:

Here is snippet from a Google Translate of the Story:

Ivory Trafficking and Global Worship The extermination of elephants continues by Corrado Zunino

“About the sale of ivory in the Vatican, “says Christy,” I think the most important thing is not whether the works are legal or illegal, but rather whether it is right to sell. now it is proved to have quell’avorio kill elephants in a brutal way, you kill the rangers who must protect, feeds corruption worldwide. ” And so the exchange of gifts between heads of state, “is the wrong message, telling the people that the ivory is an appropriate means to express their devotion.” Here, “the leader of the Catholic Church have an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference to the survival of elephants. Few words to them: enough with the religious icons in ivory.”


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Blood Ivory in the NYT

The New York Times’ Andy Revkin has posted this story based on a discussion we had yesterday morning:

A Story Exposes How the Chinese Government is Fueling Elephant Slaughter


There’s been a lot of hard-edged coverage of the bloody burst of African elephanticide of late, including the new series coming from Jeffrey Gettleman of The Times and “Agony and Ivory,” Alex Shoumatoff’s devastating Vanity Fair portrait of the ivory flow from Africa to Asia.

But “Blood Ivory,” in the October edition of National Geographic, provides two fresh and vitally important angles on this unfolding carnage. Investigative reporter Bryan Christy and photographer Brent Stirton provide an intimate portrait of the booming trade in Buddhist and Catholic icons and other religious objects carved out of ivory. More importantly, the story shows…

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Blood Ivory Multimedia

Here’s a quick guide to some of National Geographic’s coverage of Blood Ivory:  Ivory Worship introduced by Editor in Chief, Chris Johns.

Here’s an interview of me running alongside the article (it’s not bloody):

Here are Brent Stirton’s extraordinary photographs for this story.

Here’s a Q&A about the Behind the Scenes of the investigation with my editor at National Geographic, Oliver Payne.

Here’s a podcast of an interview Oliver Payne and I did together:  Behind the Words:  Ivory Worship

The graphics for Blood Ivory result from weeks of work by an NG graphics team  presented in a way you can understand in a blink.

One of the great things about this project has been the complete support of every aspect of the National Geographic Society.  If you would like to give your support to issues raised in the story, NG offers these suggestions, which list some of the very best in the world in the effort to stop wildlife crime in ways that are sensitive to the human condition.

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