VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
World Day For Animals In Laboratories (also known as World Lab Animal Day) is observed every year on April 24, today. It is an opportunity to think about the animals that spend and sacrifice their lives in pursuit of science, often with the goal of finding safe medical treatments for humans.
One animal that comes readily to mind when you thin k of the term “laboratory animal” is the venerable rat, an animal that is as ubiquitous as it is reviled. Not all rats are “guinea pigs” for the lab, however. Some are highly prized for their rarity, such as Florida’s Key Largo woodrat.
Assessed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the Golden snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana) is considered to be facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild. The species is found only in west-central China, in montane forests where snow cover can last for up to six months of the year, IUCN says on its profile for the monkey. Although the species is protected in nature reserves, a major threat for its survival is forest loss due to agricultural expansion, especially outside of the protected areas, IUCN says.
Natural history photographer Anand Varma led today’s photography workshop at the National Geographic Sciencetelling Bootcamp in the Galapagos.
“My goal is to empower scientists and conservationists to tell their own stories using photography, because photography is one of the most powerful ways to communicate science,” Varma, a National Geographic Young Explorer, explained in an interview. “It should be the practitioners, the people on the ground doing the work, that should have the ability to do that, rather than always relying on people like me to translate their work for them.”
Science and exploration that’s not shared with the world is science and exploration that won’t change the world, says Denise Prichard, senior director of training and development of the National Geographic Society. Denise directs the National Geographic Sciencetelling™Bootcamp, an intense workshop that focuses on a core curriculum of photography, videography, public speaking, social media, and writing, that was created for scientists and conservationists to elevate their work for greater impact.
A four-day bootcamp in the Galápagos this week is being attended by more than two dozen representatives of conservation, research, and tourism organizations, all eager to learn from experienced National Geographic storytellers.
Film Goes Beyond the “War on Coal” to Present Compelling Stories About What’s at Stake for Our Economy, Health and Climate; Premieres June 25, 2017
On the heels of President Trump’s executive order to undo Clean Power Plan regulations, National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe announced the acquisition of From the Ashes, a compelling feature documentary that explores one of the country’s most contentious topics — coal and the mining industry.
Multiple entries in the journal kept by National Geographic explorer J. Michael Fay on his 2014-2017 Expedition Through the Heart of Africa refer to sightings of black-and-white colobus in the forests of the Central African Republic. It is yet one more charismatic species found in Africa’s deepest interior that is not very well known in the more industrialized parts of the world. Fortunately, many of the best zoos feature the colobus in exhibits, and the monkey is also well photographed by Joel Sartore for the National Geographic Photo Ark.
The very cute Wallace’s flying frog (Rhacophorus nigropalmatus) flits from one tree to another in the rain forest of Southeast Asia, seemingly able to fly. But in reality, the colorful amphibian is more of a glider than a flyer, ably assisted in its ability to travel a decent distance through the air by large webbed feet that act as sails before the wind.
Listed as an Endangered Species by the United States, the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) numbers fewer than a hundred individuals north of the Rio Grande (in small pockets of southern Texas and Southern Arizona) — and it is likely to be even more disturbed and threatened by an enhanced border wall with Mexico.
Your latest trek through a part of central Africa that would be inaccessible for all but a very few people — hundreds of miles’ footslogging across roadless lands often devoid of people and large wildlife — was quite an adventure. You ran into some sketchy situations, including being attacked in the middle of the night by a swarm of hungry ants looking for a fleshy meal. How does this expedition fit in with — and add to — your previous explorations and experience in Africa?
When National Geographic explorer J. Michael Fay scours the remote forests of Central Africa, one of the animals he hopes to see is the bongo. One sub-species of this, the largest forest antelope in Africa, is already near extinction. More of its kind are in captivity than there are in the wild. Learn more about the bongo.
Blue-throated Macaw has been devastated in the past by the illegal pet trade, habitat loss, and feather use for traditional dances, among other threats. Only 250 to 300 of these birds remain in the wild. But the discovery of a new breeding area for the bird in Bolivia is a major step toward ensuring full protection for the species, American Bird Conservancy said.
All four species of lynx have been photographed for the National Geographic Photo Ark project, where they act as ambassadors for an extraordinary medium-size wild cat found across much of the Northern Hemisphere, where they all prey primarily on rabbits. They share more than a preference for rabbit; all of them are challenged by habitat-loss due to human development and climate change.
On World Wildlife Day 2017, a reflection and celebration in photography from the National Geographic Photo Ark of Africa’s Big Five: Lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo. A century ago these species were among the millions of wild animals roaming Africa. But now their numbers are dwindling, leaving us to wonder if a hundred years from now they will be extinct in the wild.
Take a moment this International Polar Bear Day (February 27, #polarbearday) to reflect on this incredible species and how we stand to lose it in the wild by the end of this century.
More horrendous news for the beleaguered elephant: Forest elephants, a sub-species of elephant living in an area that had been considered a sanctuary in the Central African country of Gabon, are rapidly being picked off by illegal poachers, who are primarily coming from the bordering country of Cameroon. More than 80 percent have been taken in a decade–a loss of about 25,000 elephants– Duke University researchers report in the February 20 issue of Current Biology.