By Bunny McDiarmid, Greenpeace International Executive Director
Today is a big day for our oceans. It is good news for sea turtles and sharks, sea birds and tuna. It is also a great day for hundreds of thousands of workers at sea, many of whom have been victims of horrendous working conditions and human rights abuses. Following two years of intense pressure by Greenpeace, environmentalists, labor unions, and human rights organizations, today Thai Union, the world’s largest tuna company, announced a breakthrough package of reforms that marks a new beginning for the seafood industry.
The activity for the night watch team hasn’t slowed as the heavy wind in the past few days has kept the elephants at bay until sunset. Two nights ago, the parade of families started with the Princesses arriving from the south at dusk, followed by the Pharaohs from the west, the Athletes (with Smokey escorting)…
Mushara Elephant Update: Everyone waits for the call—a spotting of an elephant family group in the distance for a late afternoon session in the bunker for more i.d. photos. I knew we were probably all thinking the same thing. Could we be so lucky? Much of our family group research has had to take place during night watch from 6 through 10 p.m.
America’s national bird, the iconic bald eagle, continues to make a spectacular recovery ten years after it was removed from the Endangered Species List. For that we can be thankful as the U.S. celebrates Independence Day, not only for the saving of a majestic bird from extinction, but also as encouragement that we can make a difference if we unite behind a plan to restore and protect nature. In this post, learn more about the bald eagle, watch videos, and find out how two of America’s most famous statesmen had opposing views about this beloved raptor.
This season marks the 25th year of the Mushara Elephant Project, but the first few days were a little too chaotic to absorb the magnitude of this momentous occasion. We arrived at Mushara the first night of the waxing moon with much to set up before nightfall. A few bulls came and went as we got ourselves situated, allowing ourselves a break at sunset to soak in the beauty of this remote oasis.
What do two Critically Endangered enigmatic animals — a majestic wading bird in Africa and an adorable monkey with a shock of white hair in South America — have in common at the National Geographic Explorers Festival? They each have a remarkable champion advocating and working for their survival who have been recognized with the 2017 National Geographic Buffet Award.
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala is concerned that the recently announced U.S. Department of the Interior review of Papahanaumokuakea and four other marine monuments may be the first major setback for Pristine Seas, a National Geographic project launched in 2008 to explore and help save the last wild places in the ocean.
“This is a true land grab, a few companies trying to exploit something that belongs to all Americans and humanity,” said at the National Geographic Society Explorers Festival in Washington, D.C. today.
Six months into his new position as National Geographic chief scientist, Jonathan Baillie, the former conservation programmes director of the Zoological Society of London, outlined his “scientific vision” for how the National Geographic Society would work to help create a a planet that’s going to provide for 9 billion people — and all forms of other life. “How do we do this with 9 billion people on the planet? This is the great challenge we all face. National Geographic now needs to think about its unique role helping us face this challenge,” Baillie told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff gathered at the Society’s headquarters for this week’s Explorers Festival.
“This is truly National Geographic’s moment, because as Neil deGrasse Tyson says, the great thing about science is that it’s true, whether you believe it or not,” National Geographic Society President and CEO Gary E. Knell said at the opening of the Explorers Festival (#NatGeoFest) at National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C. today.
Knell told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff that the Society had been through a major transition that transformed the organization, “a transformation that better positioned National Geographic to address the multiple challenges facings its future, but more importantly, facing our planet. We figured out a way to support your critical work in a more direct way and tackle those issues by connecting and integrating our multimedia platforms. And today the content that we are generating, the stories we’re telling, the grants we’re making, the actions we’re taking are more needed and important than ever before.”
Barra de Potosí is a tiny fishing village located in Southwest Pacific Mexico. Tucked between a mangrove and salt flat-lined lagoon and a 12-mile golden sand beach, Barra used to be the fishiest place I knew. When I first arrived 18 years ago, tiny fish would thwack my legs in the surf, every fourth wave revealed the form of a big yellowfin or needlefish, and schools of bottlenose dolphins patrolled the coast daily.
Filming large schools of sharks at Darwin and Wolf islands, in the Galapagos. These islands were declared a sanctuary due to the large biomass of sharks. How do we know? The shark team at the Charles Darwin Foundation Research Station uses underwater video-monitoring surveys at this remote shark haven to understand and assess shark aggregations. This is the story of the team’s week-long sharky trip.
Mateus Mutemba, the Warden of Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, has been selected as one of National Geographic’s Class of 2017 Emerging Explorers. A spectacular 4,000-square-kilometer (1,500-square-miles, slightly larger than Rhode Island) national park in southeast Africa, Gorongosa is located in central Mozambique’s Sofala Province. Historically, its unique bio-geographical features supported some of the densest wildlife populations in Africa. Leading conservationists, including Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson, scientific advisor to the park, consider Gorongosa to be the greatest restoration success in Africa — and now one of the most biodiversity-rich protected areas in the world.
Mike Bloomberg, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, submitted yesterday an unprecedented statement of unity from hundreds of U.S. mayors, governors, state attorneys general, CEOs and others to achieve and eventually exceed America’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In a letter to addressed jointly to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, Bloomberg presented this declaration, called “We Are Still In.”
The crisis with outdoor cats continues to get worse and worse, and many people aren’t even aware that there’s an issue. Dr. Peter P. Marra, a leading ornithologist and conservationist, is director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, is the co-author, with Chris Santella, of the book Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer (Princeton University Press, 2016). The book is an attempt to reach as many people as possible with the data and the science so we can reverse this problem.
Elephants may be edging closer to extinction which would in turn cripple local ecosystems, but it is the stories of damaged crops and trampled people that are most salient for communities here in Malawi. Nyama is the Chichewa word used for both “meat” and “anima”’, and chirombo, which means pest, is often used to describe wild animals. The prevailing cultural belief is that they are God-given resources that will never run out.
“Elephant I Miss You” was made to challenge this view using the storytelling tradition combined with facts-based education. We hope it will stimulate discussion as well as pride in the country’s natural heritage that in turn would support wider conservation efforts.