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How the National Geographic Society Has Rebooted to Help Restore Earth’s Natural Equilibrium

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.

National Geographic Explorers a ‘Secret Weapon’ to Change the World, Says Society President Gary Knell

“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.”

Whale conservation spurs economic revival in Mexican fishing community

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.

Monitoring sharks in the mid-Pacific: a journey to the sharkiest place in the world

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.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mateus Mutemba: Ambassador for Conservation-based Prosperity

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.

Hundreds of mayors, governors, CEOs and others pledge U.S. commitment to Paris climate agreement

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.”

How beloved pets become invasive predators – an interview with Dr. Peter Marra

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.

“Elephant, I Miss You”

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.

People and Wildlife Are Both Casualties of Illicit Mining

Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.

The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.

National Geographic Photo Ark Spotlight: The Vulnerable Yellow-spotted Amazon River Turtle

Native to rivers and lakes in the Amazon and Orinoco river systems in South America, the yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild, and is therefore assessed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service lists the species as Endangered wherever found, in terms of the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Dodging a Heavy Bough, Fleeing Angry Wasps — Another day in Yasuni Rain Forest

I have now reached the final push in deploying cameras in the canopy. I’m sitting at in the library of the Tiputini Biodiversity Station near Yasuní National Park after placing cameras in six Ficus trees spread across the trails near the research facility. I’ve also got cameras running at the Yasuní Research Station, two hours up the river, where I’ll return to set up a few more cameras later this week.

The past few days have involved a lot of climbing, most of which has been in trees I had never climbed before. The canopy habitat is dynamic, changing frequently as storms weaken structures and animals move in and out of their homes. Because of this, even on familiar trees, every climb is new to some extent, but I tend to find the first ascent of a new tree holds the most surprises, delightful or otherwise.

National Geographic Photo Ark Illuminates Endangered Species Day With Stunning Images

National Geographic Photo Ark animals “takeover” of New York’s Times Square and other major U.S. cities today, Endangered Species Day, marks the launch of the #SaveTogether campaign aimed at saving species.

For many species, time is running out. “That’s why on Endangered Species Day, the National Geographic Society and the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA), the national trade association for the out of home (OOH) advertising industry, launched a groundbreaking OOH campaign aimed at saving species at risk in the wild, NGS and OAAA say in a news release about the campaign. The key message is: “See what we can #SaveTogether before it’s too late.”

To support that campaign on Endangered Species Day, National Geographic Voices is featuring a selection of photographs from National Geographic Photo Ark, complementing the images that will “take over” Times Square and other venues.

Can rare tropical penguins survive in the Galapagos?

The Galapagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) is an endemic species, but that fact doesn’t save it from being threatened with extinction in its environment. Their nests can be found on Isabela, Fernandina, Bartolome and Floreana Islands, but their habitat is shrinking though time due to climate change and other threats.

National Geographic Photo Ark Focus on Mother’s Day

To celebrate Mother’s Day, a few enchanting moments captured by National Geographic Photo Ark photographer Joel Sartore of mothers and their babies.

Interview With Emmanuel de Merode, Director of Virunga National Park

By Scott Ramsay, Love Wild Africa Emmanuel de Merode has one of Africa’s most challenging jobs. As director of the 7,800-square-kilometer [3,000-square-mile, a little smaller than Delaware] Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, he is responsible for the management of Africa’s oldest national park, a World Heritage Site located in one of the…