"Ivory Worship" - Bryan Christy - National Geographic Magazine

"Ivory Worship" - Bryan Christy - National Geographic Magazine

Thousands of elephants die each year so that their tusks can be carved into religious objects. Can the slaughter be stopped?

by: Bryan Christy | publication date: January 1, 2013 | Publication: National Geographic Magazine |

'“Ivory, ivory, ivory,” says the saleswoman at the Savelli Gallery on St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City. “You didn’t expect so much. I can see it in your face.” The Vatican has recently demonstrated a commitment to confronting transnational criminal problems, signing agreements on drug trafficking, terrorism, and organized crime. But it has not signed the CITES treaty and so is not subject to the ivory ban. If I buy an ivory crucifix, the saleswoman says, the shop will have it blessed by a Vatican priest and shipped to me.'

National Geographic reporter Bryan Christy went undercover to expose the brutal slaughter of elephants for the ivory trade. This article precedes the new television series for National Geographic Television.

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