VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Rafiki Emily Stephen Kisamo (1964-2015)

By Bill Clark We called each other rafiki, the Swahili word for friend. And we were friends, good friends. Rafiki Emily Stephen Kisamo has been laid to rest in the cemetery at his home village of Marangu, on the southern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania. (News story: Murdered Parks Official Remembered For Anti-Poaching Efforts) We…

The Power and Beauty of Two Blue Whales Racing

Everyone knows they are long (over 65 feet), they are heavy (more than 100 tons), and they are huge (heart as big as a car). But did you also know that blue whales are fast?

Link Between Ivory Price Drop and China’s Trade Ban Questioned

By Michael Schwartz The conservation organization Save the Elephant’s recent claim of a strong association between the sharp decline in raw ivory prices and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s September pledge to close China’s domestic ivory markets may be inaccurate, says Daniel Stiles, a conservationist and veteran ivory researcher based in Kenya. According to Stiles, Save…

Bull Elephants Display ‘Mothering Behavior’ Toward Orphaned Calves

By Gini Cowell While we were watching a group of 13 bull elephants resting underneath an acacia tree just before midday last September, we noticed that in among their pillars of legs were much smaller, miniature legs and trunks. Two calves! Only when the bulls began to shift and spread out a little could the…

Tasmanian Devils Are Cuter and More Clever Than You Think

Researchers get a new view of these feisty furballs and search for insights that could help the species survive a deadly cancer epidemic.

We’re 128 Years Old Today. Here’s What We Have to Show for It.

With research, exploration, and education projects spanning three different centuries, the National Geographic Society takes a look back at our earliest days and the adventures we’ve had since then.

The Haunting Origins of Horse Culture in Mongolia

Peer inside ancient burial mounds and discover a connection that goes back two thousand years before Genghis Khan.

Jesus and Muhammad Share a Birthday for First Time in 457 Years

Like two lights blinking at different rates, the two holidays only sync up rarely, but when they do it’s a great time to celebrate celebration itself.

How to Offset Terrorism’s Damage to Funding for Pachyderms

By Michael Schwartz On the whole, tourism revenue is an optimal way of conserving Africa’s remaining elephant and rhino populations. But the current spike in global terrorist activities should serve as a sobering reminder that it can’t be relied on as a conservation panacea. The recent uptick in global terrorism in all likelihood will deter…

Zimbabwe’s Elephants Are Dying, But Its Rhinos Are Doing Better

By Oscar Nkala The number of rhinos killed by poachers in Zimbabwe spiked to 164 in 2008. In 2014, poachers killed 15 rhinos in Zimbabwe—including five black rhinos in Save Valley and one white rhino in Bubye Valley. This year, fewer than ten have been killed for their horns, sold illegally in Vietnam and other…

China Supports Malawi’s ‘Stop Wildlife Crime’ Campaign

By H.E. Zhang Qingyang, Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Malawi The Chinese government has regarded ecological civilization as an important pillar for national development. We have attached great importance to the protection of iconic species such as the elephant, which is at risk of extinction as a result of the illegal ivory trade. This year,…

Exploring Water, Cities, Climate, and Music in India With DJ Spooky

How do we make a portrait of a rapidly evolving world with music? That’s a question I’m asking myself throughout this journey.

XPRIZE Offers $7M Purse to Unlock Mysteries of the Sea

By Andrew Kornblatt While the ocean covers roughly 70 percent of our planet’s surface, we currently only have about 5-7 percent of that spectacularly large area mapped in any meaningful way. In fact, we have better maps of the surface of the moon and mars than we do of the ocean floor. XPRIZE, the non-profit foundation whose…

Paris’s Shortcomings: We Need Conservation, Not Conversation

By the time the Paris Agreement reaches full power in 2020, we may have lost another 1.5 billion acres of tropical forest.

TOMS Animal Initiative Founder Puts Her Foot Down for Big Cats

Heather Mycoskie was inspired to found the TOMS Animal Initiative when she learned that wild lions are at risk of being extinct. Through the initiative, the famously conscientious shoe company now partners with nonprofit animal conservation organizations to drive awareness and funding for global animal protection. For the latest TOMS Animal Initiative, they are partnering with National…