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October 13, 2013: Arctic Double Dating, Poisoning Rhinos to Save Them, and More

The rhino's horns, originally developed for self defense, is the reason why they're being killed by the dozen. South African game manager Phil Biden has started putting poison on the rhino's horns, in hopes of deterring horn consumers from doing so. (photo by Beverly Joubert)
The rhino’s horns, evolved for self defense, is the reason why they’re being killed by the dozen. Game manager Phil Biden now puts poison on local rhino’s horns, in hopes of stopping people from ingesting the horn. (photo by Beverly Joubert)

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below!

Hour 1

Sarah and Eric McNair-Landry are a sibling duo who have crossed vast stretches of the Arctic many different ways. For their recent Pittarak Expedition, they joined forces with Katherine Breen and renowned kayker Erik Boomer to cross Baffin Island by ski, white-water kayak and Inuit-style kayaks that the team made themselves. They spent 65 days on the expedition, but were surprised by how cold August can be, when some unexpected Arctic snowstorms caught the adventurers less prepared than they usually are.

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During the current War on Wildlife in Africa, rangers and game managers have gotten creative in their attempts to protect rhinos. Rhino horn is consumed in Asia as a folk-cure for everything from headaches to cancer, so Phil Biden, owner of Royal Malewane Resorts has started coating the horn with a poison that won’t kill those who consume it, but with luck, will make them feel ill. Biden hopes this will dissuade the consumer from turning to rhino horn as a “cure” for ailments.

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Many people have fond childhood memories of canoe trips while at summer camp, spending a long weekend under the stars on the corner of a picturesque lake; but Ben Woods‘ most recent canoe trip wasn’t that variety. The National Geographic Young Explorer traveled 900 miles with five friends in three canoes and packed 70 days worth of food, per person. Woods explains that portaging with so much food, and the cold temperatures were the most difficult parts.

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Following Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, the nation made it very easy for ethnic Slovenians to gain citizenship to the new country, while it was more difficult for non-Slovenians who lived within the country’s borders. National Geographic grantee andphotographer Riley Arthur explains that those who didn’t gain Slovenian citizenship were essentially erased from the country’s books, creating an “invisible” population, preventing them from working, visiting doctors, and other essentials of life. Arthur visited Slovenia to document the life of the invisible Slovenians, following a court ruling that required the country to repay its invisible people.

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For the October 10-12 installment of “This Weekend in History”, National Geographic library research head, Margaret Turqman shares some space-pioneering anniversaries by NASA, including the first attempts at lunar orbit in 1958, the first manned-mission in 1968, and the 100th space shuttle mission in 2000.

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Hour 2

Fleeting weather windows and  often compound the dangers of climbing the world’s tallest mountains, but even for experienced climbers, simply the act of venturing to extreme altitudes is a risk. The Summit is a film that revisits the deadliest day on K-2. Director Nick Ryan and climber Pemba Gyalje Sherpa say that bad weather, bad communicating, and bad decisions at altitude combined to make August 1, 2008 so lethal. But Ryan also said that it was difficult to piece together just what happened on the mountain because of the many differences of memory that people have from near K-2’s summit.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo is a mineral-wealthy country that has bad infrastructure and worse leadership that conspire to keep its citizens as some of the world’s poorest. Photographer Marcus Bleasdale visited the country’s mines to witness the situation of those who are extracting precious metals like tungsten, tin and tantalum from the earth, which will end up in smart phones and computers around the world. Child soldiers and corrupt police make visiting the region treacherous, but Bleasdale says that people need to see where the ingredients for their technology originate. His photos appear in the October, 2013 article “The Price of Precious,” in National Geographic magazine.

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Big cats are the predators that Boone Smith knows best, but for the series The Secret Life of Predators on NatGeo Wild. Smith shares stories of odd killers like the hairy frogfish and the wolf eel. But Smith says that his favorite moments of the show come from well-known hunters, who display tenderness toward their offspring, like one cheetah mother who raised five cubs, despite the long odds against her.

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A new trend of conservation in Africa involves reducing conflict between the wildlife and locals who live in the area. Shivani Bhalla, and her Ewaso Lions team recruits Samburu warriors, like Jeneria Lekilele to track the cats and share the information with local herders so they can bring their cattle elsewhere. Bhalla finds that when fewer cows get killed, fewer lions tend to die in retribution.

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In this Wild Chronicles segment, reflects on the seemingly random nature of high-altitude deaths. He shares the story of his time in Everest’s base camp, where he met of the most famous Sherpas, who shortly thereafter met his demise at a fairly low altitude.

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