VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Nearly Crushed By a Flipping Iceberg

Frozen in time, Franz Josef Land is one of the last lingering remnants of the truly wild Arctic. The remote and nearly uninhabited 192-island archipelago is renowned for its biodiversity, which includes polar bears, walruses, bowhead whales, belugas, and narwhals. The intensifying impact of climate change, however, nearly turned this serene environment deadly for National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala and his crew.

The Passing of a Titan

Contrary to popular belief, mountain lions are not all the same. They are as distinctive in personality as we are. Some are bold, others stick to the shadows. Some are social, others avoid interactions. Some hunt elk, some prefer smaller fare. Some are productive, successful mothers that rear numerous kittens to young adults, and others…

Release of the Gibbon

With the sounds of gibbon song as the backing track to this picture, Clare is pensive as she admits, “I’m hopeful for the future of gibbons, now that we are bringing them the attention they deserve. But, at the same time, I’m frightened. If we can’t control the illegal trade, or the destruction of their habitat, then these reintroduction efforts become futile.”

UN Conference Sets Agenda for Rethink of How Cities are Planned, Managed and Inhabited

A major conference on the future of the world’s cities and towns, known as Habitat III, wrapped up in Quito, Ecuador, with delegations adopting a new framework that will set the world on a course towards sustainable urban development by rethinking how cities are planned, managed and inhabited, the United Nations announced in a news statement…

Why International Snow Leopard Day Matters

It is amazing that we still know so little about one of the world’s great cats. However, our knowledge and efforts on behalf of what was once a near mountain phantom are growing, even as the snow leopard helps to bring communities, government, and the international community together. On this International Snow Leopard Day, there is a growing sense that we may be able to save one of the last great wildernesses in Asia, and the great cat that defines it.

The legend of Babakoto

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to the rainforests of Andasibe, Madagascar, and learns the legend of Babakoto…the indri lemur.

Life on the Shore-Based Team: the Other Half of a Telepresence Expedition

Half the scientists are on the ship, half are in a high-tech command center on land. Which is more fun? Well that depends …

How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation

Despite the sensation of  tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.  Staff at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than…

Alaskans Eat Fish—Lots of It!—So Let’s Keep Their Waters Clean

The Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic (LEX-NG) Fund aims to protect the last wild places in the ocean while facilitating conservation, research, education, and community development programs in the places we explore. This blog entry spotlights some of the exciting work our grantees are doing with support from the LEX-NG Fund. We all know that eating fish…

A week to Change: Phoenix Zoo and Jane Goodall Institute Join Forces to Improve Animal Welfare Around the World

BACKGROUND: In 2012, in partnership with The Jane Goodall Institute, the Phoenix Zoo created a unique position to promote international animal welfare. Hilda Tresz, the Behavioral Enrichment and International Animal Welfare Coordinator, is responsible for developing and overseeing the Zoo’s Behavioral Enrichment program, but also extends her work beyond the Zoo through an international role of…

Watch a Filmmaker’s Painted Portrayal of Istanbul: Filmmaker Q&A with Justin Heaney

Digital content creator Justin Heaney applies a popular filter over his short film to create a Prisma-inspired animation. This short highlights the colors and shapes of Istanbul, Turkey—with a touch of modernity. I spoke with Justin about what went into creating this unique look. What inspired your trip to Istanbul? I was inspired by the…

Translating Survey Findings Into Effective Elephant Protection Results

The Great Elephant Census showed that important elephant populations persist in several key range areas that historically supported large numbers of elephants – so there is still much to fight for in the battle to save Africa’s elephants. Fortunately, there are some signs of hope – both in sites covered by the GEC and other elephant sites.

At the Jersey Shore, Signs of a Comet, and a Climate Crisis

In a new study, scientists say they have found evidence along the New Jersey coast that an extraterrestrial object hit the earth at the same time a mysterious release of carbon dioxide suddenly warmed the planet, some 55.6 million years ago. The warm period, known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), is often cited as…

Introducing Sentry, Our Autonomous Secret Weapon on the Seafloor

Say hello to a powerful new mapping and imaging platform dressed in sleek yellow fiberglass sharing deck space with Alvin, the newly refurbished human-occupied sub with a long history of transformative discovery.

One Snow Leopard’s Journey

In honor of International Snow Leopard Day, I wanted to share the story of one snow leopard in particular, Shirin, and her incredible journey. Last winter, I received one of those phone calls that never fail to make me tear up: a snow leopard had been illegally captured and sold in the eastern Pamirs of…