Agony and Ivory- Alex Shoumatoff reports about greedy ivory trade and disappearing African elephants (LOE)

Carved ivory statue in Guangzhou, China. (Wikipedia Commons)

A shocking feature story by Alex Shoumatoff, in August 2011’s, issue of Vanity Fair opened my eyes to the rampant poaching of African elephants in the continent today. The issue created a stir globally in the 1990s but subsequent bans on ivory trade and interventions by policy groups like CITES and TRAFFIC  seemingly brought the crisis under control. However, the bans have not been entirely successful and African forests are still littered with elephant carcasses. The hungry market for ivory in China is being nourished and fed by Chinese labourers in Africa and poor African communities. Estimates say that hundreds of elephants are being killed every year to meet the demands for illegal ivory. Shoumatoff’s story , Agony and Ivory, describes his investigation from the jungles of Africa to the mantelpiece of the Chinese businessman.

I worked on the story during my internship with ‘Living on Earth’ and we interviewed Shoumatoff who spoke to us from Montreal, Canada.

CLICK HERE to listen to the story!

Central Park’sTrees- through the eyes of Ken Chaya (LOE)

I’ve been to New York a couple of times since I arrived in the US and I don’t remember ever thinking of it as home to a vast expanse of unique and diverse trees. That, however, changed after I worked on an assignment for ‘Living on Earth’, on the trees of Central Park. Host, Bruce Gellerman, walked through the park with tree-enthusiast and graphic designer Ken Chaya, who has spent the last two years counting and mapping 19,933 trees in the park to produce ‘Central Park Entire- The Definitive Illustrated Folding Map’.

The story provides a refreshing insight into landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted’s genius and vision of New York as a beautiful urban city. CLICK HERE to listen to the story and to glance through a slideshow of pictures taken by Bruce during his walk.

Ken Chaya, along with his partner Ned Barnard, has mapped 19,933 trees in Central Park and can recognize all 170 species of trees and shrubs. Credit- Living on Earth/Bruce Gellerman