Bryan Christy is an award-winning journalist and novelist. He is the founder and former head of Special Investigations at National Geographic Magazine and the 2014 National Geographic Society Rolex Explorer of the Year. For its 125th anniversary, National Geographic declared his storytelling ‘one of ten ways National Geographic has changed the world.’
On The Daily Show w/ Trevor Noah
Christy is author of the non-fiction book The Lizard King: the true crimes and passions of the world’s greatest reptile smugglers (TWELVE). His writing has been anthologized in The Best American Science and Nature Writing. He has been the subject of two award-winning National Geographic documentaries and worked as an Explorer television series correspondent.He has appeared on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, NPR’s Fresh Air w Terry Gross (and here), CNN’s Amanpour, BBC, Nightline, PBS NewsHour, RTL Late Night (Netherlands), among others.
For his cover story Tracking Ivory (National Geographic, Oct. 2015), he designed fake elephant tusks armed with satellite-based GPS systems to hunt terrorists operating in central Africa. During the course of this project, Christy was arrested in Tanzania and held as a suspected ivory trafficker. This groundbreaking investigation won the Kevin Carmody Outstanding Award for Investigative Journalism, second prize, from the Society of Environmental Journalists. It was also the subject of the Emmy-nominated documentary, Warlords of Ivory, which was shown at the United Nations. The film received a number of awards, including a Wildscreen Panda Award to Christy for Best Presenter, the wildlife film and TV industry’s top prize.
Christy’s cover story Blood Ivory (National Geographic, Oct. 2012) took readers inside Asia’s ivory carving industry and was made into the National Geographic-PBS documentary feature film Battle for the Elephants, which won Best Conservation Film at the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival. His reporting led to police raids on ivory shops in Vatican City and the Philippines, and is credited with helping to shut down China’s domestic ivory market.
He began his professional career working as an embalmer and mortician’s apprentice in his family’s funeral home. He passed the CPA and bar exams and practiced international law in Washington, DC where he worked on such topics as US-Japan supercomputer trade, Norwegian whaling, and the sale of light water nuclear reactors to North Korea.
He has testified before Congress on terrorism in Africa and has lectured for law enforcement and investigative journalism programs around the world, including for INTERPOL, the Global Investigative Journalism Network, Australasia’s AELERT, US Dept. of State and Interior, CITES, and groups of national judges and prosecutors. The US Justice Department named him a Centennial Speaker.
His education includes Pennsylvania State University, Cornell’s FALCON Program, University of Michigan Law School, Tokyo University Law School (Fulbright Scholar), and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.