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NG Weekend: Portraits of Rare Wildlife

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about dangerous travel, Afghan wildlife, the Amboseli zebra translocation, portraits of rare endangered species, Earth’s largest animal, taking the bus to Antarctica, navigating the world’s great rivers, the plight of freshwater creatures, and buffing sharks’ reputations.

Hour 1

  • Author Carl Hoffman decided to find the world’s most dangerous buses, boats, trains, and planes … then bought a ticket to ride. The adventures that followed are chronicled in his new book The Lunatic Express. (Read an excerpt.) Hoffman joins Boyd in the studio to talk about the difference between travel as a luxury and travel as a necessity.
  • Afghanistan isn’t the place most photographers go to catch wildlife images, but for nearly the past decade that’s exactly where Beth Wald has headed. Working with one of the world’s foremost wildlife biologists, George Schaller, Wald has tracked cheetahs, leopards, sheep, gazelles, and flamingos. Wald joins Boyd in the studio to talk about her time trekking across remote regions of Afghanistan on foot, horse and yak.
  • A drought in Kenya left Amboseli National Park dry and the lions hungry. Now, Kenyan wildlife rangers are rounding up thousands of zebra and moving them into the park. This isn’t a good idea, says Wildlife Direct executive director Paula Kahumbu. Kahumbu joins Boyd in the studio to talk the zebra roundup that she witnessed firsthand.
  • North American species are disappearing at an alarming rate. National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore spent three years investigating the problem and documenting endangered species in a series of portraits. The result is Rare, a new National Geographic book. Sartore joins Boyd to talk about capturing condors and grizzly bears on film.
  • What’s the biggest animal ever to roam the Earth? Here’s a hint: it’s alive today. David Braun, head of National Geographic News, joins Boyd to talk about big animals of past and present.

Hour 2

  • Andrew Evans always dreamed of going to Antarctica. But how to get there? He decided he’d take the bus. Evans hopped on a city bus outside of National Geographic’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., and ten weeks and 10,000 miles later he was in Antarctica. Evans joins Boyd to recount some of his adventures from his travels south.
  • Filmmaker Brett Rogers has a passion for water. Rivers in particular. His goal is to navigate the world’s ten great rivers. He’s already rafted and rowed his way down the Yukon and the Mississippi. Rogers joins Boyd in the studio to talk about his adventures.
  • Freshwater animals are vanishing faster than those on land or at sea. But captive-breeding programs hold out hope. Douglas Chadwick joins Boyd to talk about his article “Silent Streams” in the April 2010 National Geographic magazine.
  • Everyone needs a good publicist, especially sharks. Steve Nagiewicz of the Shark Research Institute says sharks too often get a bum wrap, and he’s trying to improve their reputation. Nagiewicz joins Boyd to talk about why humans are more of a threat to sharks than they are to us.
  • Boyd says herding cats may be difficult, but try herding camels.

Hear National Geographic Weekend on XM/Sirius satellite radio (XM channel 133 Sundays at noon), subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or get the show streamed to your iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, or Android OS phone with Stitcher Radio.