VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
“You could feel it from the canoe. The community here was overwhelmingly happy and thrilled with love in their hearts that Hokulea and Hikianalia were there,” says Kala Tanaka, captain and navigator of Hikianalia.
In a study published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE, colleagues and I estimate how many savanna elephants Africa’s protected areas would support if not for widespread poaching. The results are sobering. Collectively, these parks are missing 75 percent of their elephants, nearly three-quarters of a million individuals.
We’ve all heard that elephants are in trouble. Now we know just how much.
The legendary sister canoes are reunited, anticipating the final deep-sea leg of the Worldwide Voyage
If scientists are able to understand how climate change and human impacts helped to drive the extinction of these ancient American megafauna, she says, perhaps we can figure out ways to mitigate the global-scale extinction crisis we find ourselves in today.
“Wetlands that help us cope with extreme weather events” was the theme of the Wetlands Youth Photo contest, organized by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands from 2 February to 2 March 2017. Due to climate change, extreme weather events such as storms, floods and droughts are on the increase. When well-managed, healthy wetlands absorb and…
Octopuses can taste with their skin, resist a pull 1,000 times their own weight, change color and shape, squirt ink, and inject venom. And even giant Pacifics—the biggest of the 250 octopus species, sometimes weighing 100 pounds—can pour their baggy, boneless bodies through an opening the size of an orange.
What’s more—and this is the most exciting aspect of this sea-dwelling “alien”—an octopus can recognize individual humans and even make friends with them. Octopuses are remarkably smart.
By Dominique Maingot
It is estimated that over 100 million sharks are killed each year by unsustainable fishing methods, some leading to their entanglement in nets as bycatch or the direct targeting of their fins. Despite the EU’s passing of a regional agreement on shark conservation and management in 2009, and additional species listings under annexes to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), unregulated protections and species-specific management approaches continue to enable loopholes for shark fin trading worldwide.
With the help of its dedicated volunteers and scientists, Fin Fighters, a UK-based conservation organization, is working diligently to understand these issues in areas where data on illegal shark catches and genetic populations remain quite limited.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are an increasingly popular strategy for protecting marine biodiversity, but a new global study demonstrates that widespread lack of personnel and funds are preventing MPAs from reaching their full potential. Only 9 percent of MPAs reported having adequate staff.
The findings are published in the journal Nature on March 22.
William Stamps Cherry was the first American to set foot in deepest Africa, and the first American, if not the first hunter-explorer, to return alive from his journeys there. He had gained a name and a reputation for himself as a successful big game hunter and collector, and also as an explorer. He covered more than 30,000 miles of navigable Congo and Mobangi River tributaries (10,000 miles during his first trip working for a Dutch trading company, and 20,000 miles during his second as Chief Engineer of the entire French Marine fleet in French West Africa under Major Marchand), and was the first explorer to go deeper into the heart of deepest Africa, into the Central African Republic to the Congo’s largest tributary to the north, the Mobangi River, and then further still to the north and up the Kotto River to the headwaters and the Bahr el Ghazal.
Every cat, big and small, should be valued and protected. We strive for a world where all domestic cats have a safe community in which to live, including those whose homes are outdoors.
People who consider themselves “cat lovers,” including proponents of trap-neuter-release (TNR) —programs that sterilize but then abandon domestic cats and so should more aptly be called “trap-neuter-abandon”—don’t mean to consign cats to ghastly fates, but in leaving them outside to fend for themselves, they do.
Of all things to do for a living, I do BioBlitzes. Also, I study the BioBlitz as a method. My work has taught me that the BioBlitz essentially has four facets: Science, Education, Community and, in some cases, Competition. I believe that it’s important to look at the BioBlitz as having these facets because to some extent the facets are antagonistic – they cannot all be maximized simultaneously without careful effort. Therefore, if you know what your goals are for the biodiversity event you can focus on these facets to get the results you are seeking.
We are seeing only large females and very small juveniles, suggesting that the waters of Tristan da Cunha might be a blue shark nursery ground with large females traveling here to give birth.
Nicky Campbell is a journalist, broadcaster and wildlife campaigner. He and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust have released the “Sacred Eyes” music video to mark the 40th anniversary of the Trust’s Orphans Project, which has saved hundreds of juvenile elephants left stranded by the slaughter of their mothers for ivory.