Ingenious Method Helps Track Elephant Killers

Fake tusk is implanted with GPS device in Africa
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2015 9:43 AM CDT
Ingenious Method Helps Track Elephant Killers
A file photo of seized elephant tusks.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A National Geographic reporter looking into the increasing slaughter of elephants in Africa struck upon a great way to track the illegal trade of their ivory tusks: Bryan Christy enlists a world-class taxidermist to create fake tusks embedded with GPS devices. Christy's team then plants them in the black market and follows their path via Google Earth, into an enclave of Sudan known to be the base for notorious warlord Joseph Kony. Ivory, of course, is big money, and Kony uses it to finance his army.

"As of this writing, my artificial tusks sent out their last communication from a Sudanese town called Ed Daein, 500 miles southwest of Khartoum," writes Christy. "I know which house they’re in: Using Google Earth, I see its light-blue roof on my screen." He can even surmise that the tusks are probably buried in the backyard, awaiting their next move, perhaps to China. Click to read the full, fascinating story. (More elephants stories.)

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