Why Elephants May Go Extinct in Your Lifetime

Aug. 12, 2015 - Nearly a hundred elephants are slaughtered each day in the wild, most for their ivory tusks. This killing of elephants by humans could wipe out the animals in the wild within a generation. 

National Geographic initiated an eight-month survey, conducted by GlobeScan, in five countries: China, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and the United States. The survey shows that the ivory market is driven by a perceived suitability for gift giving and the social status ivory ownership conveys. 

Twenty-two percent of respondents across all five countries expressed strong intent to buy ivory. 
"You want to make purchasing ivory and owning ivory socially unacceptable," says National Geographic Society Chief Science and Exploration Officer Terry Garcia. 

Likely buyers, on average, tend to fall into the low- to middle-income bracket, skew younger than average, and are somewhat more likely to have a religious affiliation.  
The September 2015 National Geographic magazine cover story, "Tracking Ivory," features a special investigation by journalist and National Geographic Fellow Bryan Christy, who used fake tusks and hidden GPS devices to expose poachers and the route of the illegal ivory trade. Christy's investigative reporting is also the subject of the National Geographic Channel premiere "Explorer: Warlords of Ivory" on August 30.

Click here to read more about the survey.