Changing Planet

Video: Inside Togo’s Voodoo Fetish Market

Bryan Christy at the the fetish market in Lome, Togo. Image courtesy of National Geographic Explorer.
Bryan Christy at the the fetish market in Lome, Togo. Image courtesy of National Geographic Explorer.

“One of the unique aspects about Togo is that voodoo is real and alive,” says investigative journalist Bryan Christy in this outtake from the National Geographic Explorer show “Warlords of Ivory.”

Christy visited the fetish market in the capital city Lome as part of his investigation in Africa’s ivory trade. In the video he explains the presence of dead, dried animals on display and why.

Wildlife onside in the Lone fetish market. Image courtesy of National Geographic Explorer.
Wildlife onside in the Lome fetish market. Image courtesy of National Geographic Explorer.

He also tells about going behind the scenes with vendors and seeing live animals and wonders if there is elephant ivory among the “behind the scenes” specimens for sale.

Christy was on a groundbreaking mission to expose how the ivory trade funds some of Africa’s most notorious militias and terrorist groups. Working with one of the world’s top taxidermists, he concealed a sophisticated GPS tracker inside an incredibly realistic faux ivory tusk and dropped it in the heart of ivory poaching country and monitored its movements to track down the kingpins of the ivory trade.

More About the Investigation

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media