“Battle for the Elephants” premieres Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS

NEW YORK (February 26, 2013)— The Wildlife Conservation Society is collaborating with the National Geographic Society on the release of the film “Battle for the Elephants,” which premieres Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS.

WCS has partnered with National Geographic on conservation issues for years. In this case, the organization is teaming up with National Geographic Television to use the film to help drive awareness about the elephant crisis in Africa and to rally support to stop the killing, stop the trafficking, and stop the demand.

“Battle for the Elephants,” a groundbreaking, new, one-hour special produced by National Geographic Television, explores the brutal slaughter of African elephants for their tusks, fueled largely by China’s demand for ivory.

The film tells the ultimate wildlife story — how the Earth’s most charismatic and majestic land animal today faces market forces driving the value of its tusks to levels once reserved for precious metals. Journalists Bryan Christy and Aidan Hartley take viewers undercover as they investigate the criminal network behind ivory’s supply and demand. In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, one of the world’s main ports for smuggled ivory, Hartley poses as an ivory buyer and uses hidden cameras to film poachers negotiating the sale of large quantities of tusks. In China, Christy explores the thriving industry of luxury goods made from ivory and the ancient cultural tradition of ivory carving.

Here’s a snapshot of WCS’s Efforts to Save Elephants:

Stop the Killing

WCS works to stop the killing by collaborating with partners to prevent criminals from slaughtering elephants in Africa's worst killing fields. WCS recruits, trains, and supports eco-guard patrols, focusing their efforts through local intelligence networks and aerial surveillance, and ensuring they get the backup they need from the police, army, and courts.

Stop the Trafficking
To stop trafficking, WCS works with governments to detect smuggled ivory at key ports and airports at different points in the trade chain in Africa and East Asia. Techniques are varied and include sniffer dogs to detect ivory, and working with judiciaries and other agencies to increase the number of cases taken to court and rates of successful prosecutions. On both the political and technical sides, WCS aims to ensure that future large ivory shipments are sampled for their DNA, to allow the point of origin of the ivory to be determined, thereby facilitating increased protection of those populations.

Stop the Demand

Stopping the demand will involve focusing on Chinese social media platforms to encourage public engagement and influence how Chinese government agencies respond to the illegal ivory trade. WCS plans to support the creation of a social media hub, run by a team out of Beijing, that focuses on information sharing, opinion mapping, monitoring and calibration, building partnerships, engagement and mobilization – all based on the real and immediate impacts of poaching and illegal ivory trade.

Funding for “Battle for the Elephants” is provided by David H. Koch, Scott Asen, the Engelhard Foundation and PBS. “Battle for the Elephants” is a production of National Geographic Television. Senior executive producer: John Bredar; writer, producer, director: John Heminway; producers: J.J. Kelley and Katie Carpenter; editor: Margaret Noble; cinematographer: Toby Strong; vocal performances by the Kenyan Boys Choir.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit www.wcs.org

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a Web link where they can make donations in support of helping save elephants, please direct them to http://www.wcs.org/elephants/.