Mar 4, 2013 | journeymanpictures
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Going undercover, this powerful report exposes the devastation wrought by Africa's rampant ivory trade. Fuelled by China's voracious appetite, it could lead to the extinction of elephants within 20 years.
"It's absolutely a war. It's an untold war", says the ranger Sean Willmore who's fighting back in the global battle against illegal ivory poaching. In an outdoor cafe in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar Es Salaam, dirty deals are being brokered daily by black-market ivory traders. In the past tree years the country has lost forty per cent of its elephants. Fuelled mainly by China's burgeoning, cash-rich middle class, demand is spiralling out of control. "In the last five years the demand for ivory has just exploded. It's well organised. Syndicates with billions of dollars. It's just like cocaine and heroin", says Pratik Patel, a conservationist and safari leader. Both Kenya and Tanzania have vowed to stamp out poaching but the potential profits are corrupting both politics and law enforcement. "There's an element of corrupt individuals in the government who are also involved with these people", says Pratik, who's been targeted alongside his family. For those on the frontline of animal preservation, time is fast running out to save the herds.