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Category archives for NatGeo News Watch

Save Our National Monuments

If Ryan Zinke, the secretary of interior, wants to emulate Theodore Roosevelt’s legacy, he should recommend leaving the national monuments as they are.

Proposed Rare Earths Mine Threatens Protected Forest, Lemurs, and Farmers in Madagascar

By Edward Carver The device you are using right now, as you read this story, was likely made with rare earth elements from China. Rare earths are used in computers and cell phones, among many other modern devices, and demand for them continues to rise. But in the last several decades, rare earth mining has…

Local resilience succeeding against a global ocean of threats

By Nicanor Requena and Leobihildo Tamai      

Whether you enter tropical seas as a tourist or a researcher, or to ensure your family’s sustenance and sense of place as we do, two divergent trends loom on the horizon. First, our coral reefs provide an astonishingly rich source of biodiversity, protein, jobs and income, and can for generations to come. But second, they face existential threats.

As native Belizeans, we know what’s at stake. Respected marine scientist Dr. John Bruno just delivered the latest diagnosis following his many summers visiting our backyard. Twice-daily surveys showed him irreversible degradation of the western hemisphere’s largest barrier reef. Worldwide, reefs are under siege from sediment, plastic, algae, polluted runoff, hypoxic zones, invasive species, and perhaps most importantly, overfishing. Worse still, a changing global climate has made tropical waters hotter and more acidic, transforming some reefs into bleached and barren coral graveyards.

Interview with National Geographic Society’s Dr. Aurora Elmore

By Reaganne Hansford

It all started with a question: Why? Why, with the state of today’s world, do you still care? This question could be asked to anyone, at any point in our Earth’s history, and the answer would be interesting. So I decided to ask the people who are usually the ones asking this three-letter word, employees of National Geographic, “Why?”

What the Platypus Can Tell Us About Life on Other Planets

Despite our many differences, we humans and platypuses share an important distinction: not only are we both well adapted to our ecological niches, but we’re both evolutionary singletons, species that have no parallel, no evolutionary doppelgänger, either today or in the past. Why that is so is a mystery. If big brains, bipedality, and opposable thumbs are so useful, why didn’t natural selection lead to the evolution of human-like creatures multiple times? As for the platypus, streams like the ones they live in occur throughout the world, yet the duckbill is singular.

Tragic Murder of Prominent Conservationist a Grave Blow to Defense of the Living Planet

Wayne Lotter’s life mission was to protect elephants and dismantle the illegal ivory market. He had known for some time that he was a target. Wealthy people in high places that had benefitted for decades from the poaching of illegal wildlife in Tanzania were very angry. Despite the danger, he bravely chose to continue to fight ‘the war’ as he always called it. He was tragically murdered this week in a ‘hit’ that police are investigating. 

Monitoring macroinvertebrates on the Galapagos ‘Enchanted Islands’

My experience with the ecological monitoring 2017

By Camila Arnés Urgellés

It was 5:30am when the motor of the Queen Mabel ship was turned off after navigating all night towards Punta Moreno, our first stop in the west of the archipelago. The sun still wasn’t out and we were getting ready for our first dive of the day. A cold breeze swept against us as we propelled ourselves by Zodiac toward the first dive site, but I was more overcome by the excitement of knowing that soon I would be below the water, immersed by this enchanted place. “Ready, one, two, three…” was our signal to enter the water at the same time. While I descended, I could see a garden of corals, algae, fish, turtles and stars of thousands of colors. Having only started my volunteer program at the Charles Darwin Foundation less than three months ago, I could not believe that this was going to be my work-site for a week…

Expanding science and knowledge on the largest island of the Galapagos

I have been very lucky to visit Galapagos numerous times, first as a volunteer at the Galapagos National Park Directorate (GNPD) and then at the Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF). At the start of 2016 I returned to support the Foundation’s work as a “Local Liaison Coordinator” on Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos. I liked the idea of coming back and helping the Foundation, which has a long history of scientific advice for the management of the conservation of the Galapagos Islands.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #101

The Wild Bird Trust presents this week’s Top 25 Wild Bird Photos! This week we have a range of species from the bright and colourful passerines to the owls. This is just a small insight into the amazing diversity of bird species across the globe. Thank you to all those who submitted, for sharing your…

Solar Eclipse FAQ with National Geographic Expert Aurora Elmore

National Geographic Society’s Dr. Aurora Elmore, Resident Geologist and Senior Program Officer of Our Changing Planet grants, answers questions about the upcoming solar eclipse.

The River Runs Through Us

By Abbie Gascho Landis I stand, dripping, in Alabama’s Paint Rock River, and what looks like a rock in my hand is alive. She is a native freshwater mussel called a snuffbox. Her apricot-sized shell meets in a blunted edge, forming a curving triangle, which is mottled yellowish and dark brown. I have lifted her…

EPA, DOT Reviewing Fuel Economy Standards

In a Federal Register notice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation announced they were considering rewriting emissions standards for cars and light trucks made between 2022 and 2025. The review covers vehicle model years 2022 to 2025. The EPA is also seeking comments on whether fuel standards for the 2021 model year “are appropriate.” The public…

Ideas Are Like Eggs: Once Hatched, They Have Wings

What started with a 3rd-grade animal report on the ring-tailed lemur has become a complete dedication to the people, plants, and animals of Madagascar. The ideas of a 9-year-old-me are now truly taking flight, as I train a new generation of Harvard students to help protect this unique land.

Gardening the Seas to Save the World’s Corals

By Nexus Media, with Diego Lirman As ocean waters warm and acidify, corals across the globe are disappearing. Desperate to prevent the demise of these vital ecosystems, researchers have developed ways to “garden” corals, buying the oceans some much-needed time. University of Miami Rosenstiel School marine biologist Diego Lirman sat down with Nexus Media to describe the…

I met the tribe on the front line in the battle to save Indonesia’s forests

By Sophie Grig, Survival International campaigner  “We’re proud that we still have the forest,” Temenggung Grip says, standing tall, waving at the vast expanse of trees. “We feel proud to be Orang Rimba, everything we have talked about still exists, people ask about tigers, how big are they, what are they like, and we know…