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How Nuclear Bombs are Helping Fight Elephant Poachers | National Geographic ctm magazine

How can open-air nuclear bomb tests from the mid-20th century help fight elephant poaching today? Watch this video, which contains some recently declassified footage of the nuclear tests, to learn the answer. Hint: Carbon dating.
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Read more about how these blasts, in combination with genetic analysis, are helping scientists pinpoint when and where elephants are being poached.

Learn more about African elephants.

How Nuclear Bombs are Helping Fight Elephant Poachers | National Geographic

National Geographic



  • elodie williams on March 27, 2017

    First xx

  • Hasbi Raditya 9B on March 27, 2017

    dat nuke

  • Vermin on March 27, 2017

    Why burn the tusks?
    Wouldn't that make ivory even more rare and therefore more lucrative to poach?

  • MiguelPpM on March 27, 2017

    Okay. Nuclear technology actually can help us humans.

  • ZeOnexify on March 27, 2017

    national geo getting desperate at finding content

  • James Schmidt on March 27, 2017

    I thought the radiation would cause some kind of mutation/birth defect that makes the elephant's skin tougher and more bullet-resistant…

  • David S. on March 27, 2017

    Aren't humans just wonderful.

  • Spirit J on March 27, 2017

    Yeah but it's also helping polution

  • Karim Motazedi on March 27, 2017

    Rubbish, you are giving legitimacy to nuclear weapons.

  • vidaett on March 27, 2017

    Thought this was about dropping nukes on poachers. That would do it.

  • Kitty S on March 27, 2017

    Great video. Would have been nice if the text stayed at the same eye-level rather than dancing around the edges. I found it a bit distracting and losing my attention while watching it on a big monitor.

    On a more serious note, why can't these businesses be targeted? I mean, make it completely illegal to manufacture something from ivory; then be it a classy piano or some miniature sculptures. Ban such whole business all together. These poachers won't stop… the greed being presented by these lucrative businesses certainly outweighs the morality of those poachers. They are desperate to make big bucks in the shortest time. I think it would make more sense to ruin the future business dealing with the ivory.

  • Stew777 on March 27, 2017

    It's not just the poachers and the idiots making these absolutely redundant potions but the people buying them. If these Retarded people stopped buying them, then the elephants & so many other species would be so better off. People really do make me feel sick!!!

  • Cacahuète on March 27, 2017


  • ohibacon on March 27, 2017

    on a diff subject, if carbon's half life is only 5,730 ± 40 years and the earth is supposedly billions of years old, how does that work?

  • Tree Nelson on March 27, 2017

    So they realize they have irradiated the entire globe, but are baffled at why cancer has increased. And then sort of pat themselves on the back because they can use their radioactive pollution to track poachers that killed the animals that are being killed slowly by their radioactive pollution. Really really sad.

  • Grumpy old fart on March 28, 2017

    I always wondered why they don't dart the Elephant and saw off his tusks. I know it seems cruel, but if it saved his life………I recently saw them doing it with rhinos, and it seemed to be working.

  • Adrian on March 28, 2017

    Do you think shooting a school up would reduce poaching?

  • G Obi on March 28, 2017

    Those ivory figurines were sick

  • Nands on March 28, 2017

    Or instead just shoot the fucking poachers.

  • 前人未至之境JTN on March 28, 2017

    *Nukes Poachers*

    PETA to Poachers: BURN MOTHERF*%KERS, BURN!!!

  • alex koop on March 30, 2017

    these people are extremely poor. imagine that you and your kids die with no food. or you kill it and make a few bucks just to have another day alive. extremely poor.

  • sukruoosten on April 4, 2017

    carbon 14 proofs the earth cant be older then 30 000 years !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yes its amazing praie THE LORD for science

  • Creeper Universe on April 24, 2017

    Really? Killing the trillions of organisms in the blast radius to barely help one species. We're getting stupider every day.

  • Lacey Hart on February 25, 2018

    #!?$ you all i love elephants

  • Omega-Myrrh AlphaHoney on May 20, 2018

    Why when there is a dye you put on thier tusks to stop poachers from hunting them???

  • aleksander suur on July 11, 2018

    What's nukes got to do with c14? Carbon 14 is continuously replenished from cosmic radiation hitting atmospheric nitrogen. You can just do carbon dating on ivory, no nukes involved. Or you could try detecting isotopes that come specifically from nukes. But a combination here doesn't really make much sense.
    Oh, and mammoth ivory is just as good as elephant ivory, you can buy that stuff in Russia where tusks constantly melt out of the permafrost.

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