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Battle for the Elephants Education

Learn About the Illegal Ivory Trade and Africa's Elephants

Picture of elephants walking.

Photograph by J.J. Kelley

Battle for the Elephants, a National Geographic film, explores the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory. The film tells the story of how this charismatic and majestic land animal today faces market forces driving the value of its tusks to levels once reserved for gold.

This collection of short videos and educational resources provides information about elephants and the illicit trade that is undermining their future. Investigative journalists Bryan Christy and Aidan Hartley take you on a journey that examines the supply and demand sides of the ivory trade. With Christy you travel to China to see the thriving ivory market and the ancient tradition of ivory carving. Hartley takes you to Africa, where he gains rare access to ivory stockpiles and goes undercover to expose the criminal ivory trade network. You also witness the devastating effects of poaching on the behavior of surviving elephants.

Generous support for this education program provided by David H. Koch, Scott Asen, and the Charles Englehard Foundation.

Elephant Poaching and the Illegal Ivory Trade

These videos examine the illegal ivory trade, China's growing demand for ivory, and the devastating effects of poaching on Africa's elephant population.

A Natural History of the African Elephant

A Natural History of the African Elephant

Explore the physical characteristics and social behaviors of the African elephant.

The Economics of the Illicit Ivory Trade

The Economics of the Illicit Ivory Trade

Explore the issues of supply and demand that fuel the illegal trade in ivory, and go undercover to learn about the rising prices of black-market ivory.

The History of the Ivory Trade

The History of the Ivory Trade

Trace the history of the ivory industry around the world and recognize the deadly connection between the illegal trade in tusks and the decline of the elephant population.

Trafficking Poached Ivory

Trafficking Poached Ivory

Investigative journalists tell the story of who's selling and who's buying in the global ivory trade—and look at the ease with which ivory is smuggled out of Africa.

Craft or Species

Craft or Species

Explore the longstanding Chinese tradition of ivory carving and consider which is more valuable: the craft or the species.

Tanzania's Ivory Stockpile

Tanzania's Ivory Stockpile

Investigative journalist Aidan Hartley gains rare access to Tanzania's tons of stockpiled ivory, making him and his camera crew the first ever to document Tanzania's "ivory room."

Altered Elephant Behavior

Altered Elephant Behavior

Researchers in the Selous Game Reserve document the impact poaching is having on the elephant population—an impact that is seen in the changes in elephant behavior.

Partners in Elephant Conservation

Partners in Elephant Conservation

Discover an elephant conservation success story that employs game rangers from within the local community to stop poachers.

Partner

Tell us what you think

Watch the Program

Battle for the Elephants

Battle for the Elephants

Learn more about the Battle for the Elephants film and check your local listings to see when it's airing on your PBS station.


Learn More About the Issues

Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship

Blood Ivory: Ivory Worship

Gain insight into the factors behind the demand for ivory that fuels the slaughter of African elephants.

A Voice for Elephants

A Voice for Elephants

This National Geographic blog serves as a resource for information and a forum for discussion about the plight of African elephants.


Map Africa

Africa: MapMaker 1-Page Maps

Africa: MapMaker 1-Page Maps

Customize a printable one-page map of Africa with basic map elements, borders and names, and other features.

MapMaker Interactive: Africa

MapMaker Interactive: Africa

An interactive mapping application for exploring the geography of Africa.


Explore Africa

Africa: Resources

Africa: Resources

Learn about Africa’s environment, economy, and resources.

Africa: Human Geography

Africa: Human Geography

Examine the cultural and political geography of the African continent.

Africa: Physical Geography

Africa: Physical Geography

Explore Africa’s eight major physical regions—each with its own unique animal and plant communities.


Get to Know Elephants

Elephants

Elephants

Learn all about elephants and gain insight into the risks they face.

African Elephant

African Elephant

African elephants are the largest of Earth's land mammals. Explore African elephants' natural history, physical features, and traits.