Nómade the elephant was born without tusks. Now her mutation is mainstream.

Evolution could help defend elephants from poachers — but that might not be a good thing.

Growing up in war-torn Mozambique wasn't easy for Nómade the elephant.

Mozambique, a southeastern African nation, gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. Then two years later, the Cold War found its way onto Mozambican soil in a bloody conflict that lasted until the mid-1990s and claimed up to a million human lives and displacing even more.

When the human forces weren't directly at each other's throats, they scavenged the savannah for animals they could kill for meat and ivory to trade for weapons or cash. But Nómade survived, along with 11 of her sisters, thanks in part to a miracle mutation that left them without tusks.

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In July 2016, photographer Amos Chapple went to see the mammoth pirates.‌

‌Photo by Amos Chapple/RFE/RL.‌‌

Chapple has worked extensively in northern Siberia, near the Arctic Circle. In the winter of 2015-16, he was there again on assignment. Then a local contact gave him a tip.

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Human beings haven't always been the best of friends to elephants.

Photo by Brian Snelson/Flickr.

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Seriously, is there anybody buying ivory these days? Ah, sadly yes, and a lot of the customers are in China. It's a big problem for the dwindling wildlife in Africa, so conservationists asked a very special Chinese icon to help, former NBA player Yao Ming.

Even if you've never watched a basketball game in your life, I defy you not to be moved by his journey to Africa to investigate illegal ivory poaching. The documentary, “The End of the Wild," comes out in a few months. Here's a sneak peek.

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