Episode 1

Episode 1

Available on iTunes
S1 E1: Two of the world’s most iconic species are at the centre of this nightmare. With an average of 82 elephants and 4 rhino poached every day, there is now a real threat that these animals could become extinct in the wild. In this episode Hugh travels to Mozambique’s worst affected area, Niassa National Reserve, to find out why they have lost almost two thirds of their elephants in only three years. He joins conservationists, rangers and villagers as he patrols from the air and on the ground to discover the grim reality of the situation. Seizure records show that an alarming amount of illegal ivory is smuggled through Mombasa Port in Kenya on its way out of the continent. Hugh wants to know how and why. He joins the Kenya government’s sniffer dog unit as a passport to get inside the port’s heavily guarded gates to find out more. Hugh finds evidence to suggest that bribery and collusion allows ivory to slip through the port in consignments of tea. Hugh heads to Hong Kong, where carved ivory is popular as a work of art and sold openly in licensed shops. Here, as with elsewhere, the rules of the trade are riddled with confusion. Antique, or pre-convention ivory, is legal, but new fresh ivory is not. It is impossible, however, for an untrained eye to tell the difference. Hugh quizzes shop owners on the provenance of their stock, but quickly hits a wall. Teamed up with undercover experts from mainland China and rigged with secret cameras, he exposes how significant quantities of ivory from Europe are playing a part in fuelling the trade. Back in the UK, Hugh wants to find out how much our own legal ivory trade is part of the problem. Questioning whether all of our antique ivory is really what it claims to be, he sends 9 pieces to be radio carbon dated. The shocking results suggest the UK ivory market is in disarray, and figures obtained from Hong Kong show that our own dealers are fuelling the Asian trade. Hugh decides it’s time to challenge the UK Government on ivory policy – and remind them that they have twice pledged to ban the UK trade.