VOICES Voices Icon Ideas and Insight From Explorers


Solving the Mystery of the 18th-Century Killer “Beast of Gévaudan”

From 1764 to 1767, in the historical region of Gévaudan, located in southern France, and in adjacent areas, about one hundred children, youths, and women were killed by a so-called “Beast”. Numerous other humans survived the attacks, many of them seriously injured. The series of attacks has been confirmed by a great variety of historical documents and is not called into question by scientists.

Historians claim that wolves, or a hybrid of a wolf and a domestic dog, had attacked the victims; the “hybrid-assumption” is based on the description of a canid, shot in June 1767, that was said to have strange morphological characteristics. However, a critical evaluation of historical texts, including the publications of the French abbots François Fabre and Pierre Pourcher, revealed that neither this animal, nor any other wolf killed in Gévaudan, had anything to do with the attacks of the Beast.

In this post, German biologist Karl-Hans Taake posits that The Beast was a very different carnivore to a wolf.

Animal Experts Travel to South Africa in Collaborative Effort to Save a Declining Species

By Kylene Plemons and Mike McClure There has been a steady decline of African penguins since the late 1950s when there were around 300,000 individuals in South Africa. In 2001, there were over 100,000 individuals and recently it has been estimated that there are less than 50,000 penguins left in that region. Scientists project an…

Hawaiian Voyaging Canoe and Viking Longship Meet for First Time

Two different traditional voyaging canoes from opposite ends of the globe find parallels in their missions of exploration.

16 Voices From Standing Rock

“Our hearts pulled us this way, because the next battle after losing our land is truly the fight for water.”–Shirley Romero Otero quoted in the New York Times

U.S. Gov’t Pauses Dakota Access Pipeline Construction on Army Corps Land

While a federal judge earlier today denied the Standing Rock Sioux’s motion to stop work on the Dakota Access pipeline, the U.S. Departments of Justice, Interior, and the Army have put a halt on construction in the area, saying given the “important issues raised by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations” the Army “will not authorize constructing the Dakota Access pipeline on Corps land bordering or under Lake Oahe” until they have reviewed the issue.

Inside Morocco’s Wild Game of Horses, Riders, and … a Puppet?

In a place that can only be called the remote plains of northern Morocco, a festival of a unique game on horseback takes place every year.

National Parks Are Economic Engines Across America: Graphic Shows How

By Matt Zajechowski

I wanted to create a visual resource that showcased the true economic value of the U.S. National Parks system, looking beyond just the value of the land itself. My graphic, which coincides with the NPS celebrating its centennial in August, is a fascinating way to explore just how much of a treasure the parks are for America in terms of asset value, jobs supported and visitor spending. And it’s fun to make comparisons from state to state.

‘Things Shouldn’t Be Like This’: Lingering Effects of Peru’s Jungle Oil Spills

On August 10, the fourth oil spill since the start of 2016 was reported in the Peruvian Amazon. More than 20 similar spills have crippled the region over the past five years.

Women’s Land Rights Key to Enacting Gender-Responsive International Climate Change Action

By Jennifer Duncan, Sr. Attorney and Land Tenure Specialist at Landesa and Fiona Noonan, Stanford in Government Fellow at the Landesa Center for Women’s Land Rights Nine months after adopting the Paris Agreement, as ratification continues and implementation begins, the world will see significant movement on climate change. However, if nations do not fill the…

Tech-Savvy Teenage Girls Are the Camera-Trap Pros in This Mexican Community

Fernanda wouldn’t look out of place hanging out with a group of high-schoolers at a suburban mall in southern California, but instead she’s leading a group of thirty people into a remote cloud forest in southern Jalisco to look for large, predatory felines.

In Spite of Progress, More Is Needed to Meet Global Conservation Targets

With 14.7 per cent of the Earth’s land and 10 per cent of its territorial waters under protection, the world is on track to meet a major global conservation target, according to a new report by UN Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

Debut of Mississippi Kite in the U.S. Capital Area Prompts Reflection on Climate Change

In the past month, our street in North Arlington has become the “it” place for birders flocking to catch a glimpse of the Mississippi kite, an unfamiliar raptor in the Washington, DC. area. It’s a moment to reflect on how climate change is impacting birds, and us.

Here’s Mud in Your Ice! A Toast to Greenland’s Buried Treasure

They say dead men tell no tales. Dead bugs however can speak volumes. Discover the surprising secrets being revealed by a closer look at Arctic mud.

Seamounts ARE Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems

By Vienna Saccomanno This blog was inspired by Dr. Les Watling’s discussion immediately following the recent meeting of the UN General Assembly. Scientists and underwater explorers have discovered submarine mountains scattered beneath the waves that harbor an incredible diversity of marine life. Known as seamounts, these extraordinary places are highly productive oases in the deep…

President Obama Should Proclaim the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument 

By Dean B. Suagee The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorizes the President to proclaim national monuments to protect historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest on national public land. President Obama has used this authority to protect more national public land than any of his predecessors. As his…