VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
Krista Schlyer writes on the beauty and memory of National Parks. “It isn’t just beauty we see in these places, and in infinite others in the National Park System–it’s memory. Memory of another time, another life, when we lived in seamless connection to the system of nature. Written on this body of Earth is the prose of universal memory. We as humans are but a word of it.”
In a significant move to safeguard the world’s largest known manta population, Peru’s Ministry of Production announced on January 1, strong regulations to protect the oceanic manta ray. It is now illegal to target, capture, and retain a manta ray or trade in any manta parts across their entire range, from Peru to Ecuador, where they are already legally protected.
Since the 17th century, 80% of the Dalmatian Pelican’s breeding sites have disappeared, but efforts in Montenegro’s Lake Skadar aim to protect and stabilize its population.
iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton Photography sends us another article from his valuable and eye-opening work in Indonesia, documenting the devastation brought to this country and its wildlife by palm oil plantations.
The future of the critically endangered Sumatran elephant hangs on a thread. Palm oil plantations have converted 90 percent of prime Sumatran elephant habitat to a monoculture desert. The lowland rainforests of the Leuser Ecosystem are the world’s best remaining habitat for the Sumatran elephant yet they are being bulldozed, often illegally, for palm oil everyday.
Spawning aggregations are massive gatherings of fish for breeding, a behavior shared by many species across the globe in many different habitats. They are predictable because they usually happen at the same place and at the same time each year, and humans have taken advantage of this to harvest large numbers of fish with minimal effort. But as harvesting keeps growing, fish populations keep diminishing.
An expedition to find species missing for decades in the remote cloud forests of northwest Guatemala leads to a new sanctuary for rare and elusive salamanders.
In a dramatic twist to the typical fishing tournament, this friendly competition among the four countries sharing the Mesoamerican reef (Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico) rewards international players who catch less fish and protect more coral reefs.
A report card from iLCP Partner Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, for the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere – the Mesoamerican reef flanking the coasts of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras – gives hope that it may earn this year’s award for “most improved,” or perhaps “happiest fish.”
Warning: this article contains images that some viewers might find disturbing. – After iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton documented the bust of a massive pangolin poaching operation in Medan, Indonesia, he assists at the incineration of all of the 3000 to 4000 pangolins slaughtered by the poachers.
iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton documents the bust of a massive pangolin smuggling operation in Sumatra, finding over 5 tons of slaughtered pangolins, but also leading to the rescue and release of 96 of them.
“Women do most of the work in rural communities, they are the ones collecting firewood or fodder from the forests or fetching water from the faraway spring. Given how connected women are to nature, they are the most knowledgeable about natural resources and their connection to better livelihoods. Communities without empowered women are missing the backbone that strengthens them and helps them climb out of poverty.”
As Sumatra’s rainforests get bulldozed to make way for oil palm plantations, large mammals like the Sumatran Orangutan get trapped in ever decreasing pockets of forest, from which they need to be rescued for their health and safety.
The coral reefs of Palau hold approximately 400 species of hard corals, 300 species of soft corals, and 1400 species of reef fish. Palau is internationally renown for its beautiful landscapes and seascapes as well as its biological significance to the environment. The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation undertook its third expedition with the International League of Conservation Photographers in this fabled archipelago, working with iLCP Fellow Keith Ellenbogen.
This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. THE GUARDIANS OF RAJA AMPAT FILM AND CONCERT TOUR: Driving Conservation with Grand-Scale Media in Remote Communities Text and Photos by John Weller…