Elephants
Illicit Ivory

Every twenty minutes an elephant is killed to feed an insatiable demand for ivory. African elephants may be gone in as little as ten years. Behind the slaughter are the most dangerous groups in the world – organized crime syndicates, insurgents and terrorists. Ivory buys guns and ammunition for Uganda's Lord’s Resistance Army and Sudan's Janjaweed, both linked to mass atrocities and supports al Shabaab, the al Qaeda affiliate behind the attacks on Kenya’s Westgate Mall and Garissa University. Making the biggest money on Illicit ivory trade are organized criminal syndicates that traffic humans, narcotics and guns. The killing of Africa's elephants is not only a conservation issue - it is a matter of global security.

Elephants have lived in the savannas and forests of Africa for more than two million years. They are the largest land animals on Earth – and one of the most intelligent. They feel emotions like grief and joy. They learn, play, display compassion and altruism. Some experts say they even have a sense of humor. Can African elephants survive in the wild? A global effort is underway to help save them. Will it be enough?

 

Read about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's national ban against the trade of elephant ivory in this New York Times story.

Upcoming Airdates

Exposed: Killing Dolphins-Dying for Lobsters

(Earth Focus: Episode 63) Thousands of dolphins are killed solely for shark bait each year off the coast of Peru. An upsurge in shark meat consumption in Peru and the rise in the cost of fish bait has helped drive the hunt to as many as 10,000 dolphins killed each year according to some estimates. Jim Wickens documents this illegal practice in an original undercover investigation for "Earth Focus."

Restoring The Earth

(Earth Focus: Episode 53) It is possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems, to improve the lives of people trapped in poverty and to sequester carbon naturally. John Liu presents "Hope in a Changing Climate," which showcases approaches that have worked on the Loess Plateau in China, Ethiopia and Rwanda. Produced in collaboration with the Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP).

Young Voices for the Planet

This episode features author and illustrator Lynne Cherry's film series "Young Voices for the Planet" about young adults making positive environmental change.

 

Image: Courtesy of Young Voices on Climate Change.

America’s Dirty Secret: Coal Ash

(Earth Focus: Episode 64) In Juliette, Georgia radioactive water flows from the tap. In Pennsylvania, three adjoining counties battle a rare form of cancer. One thing these communities have in common is their exposure coal ash. Coal combustion powers 40 percent of America’s electricity but generates 130 million tons of coal ash each year. Though it is known to contain carcinogens, coal ash is often dumped in unlined ponds where it leaches into groundwater. There is no federal coal ash regulation on the books—only a patchwork of state level standards.