Menu

How the National Geographic Society Has Rebooted to Help Restore Earth’s Natural Equilibrium

Six months into his new position as National Geographic chief scientist, Jonathan Baillie, the former conservation programmes director of the Zoological Society of London, outlined his “scientific vision” for how the National Geographic Society would work to help create a a planet that’s going to provide for 9 billion people — and all forms of other life. “How do we do this with 9 billion people on the planet? This is the great challenge we all face. National Geographic now needs to think about its unique role helping us face this challenge,” Baillie told hundreds of National Geographic explorers and staff gathered at the Society’s headquarters for this week’s Explorers Festival.

“Elephant, I Miss You”

Elephants may be edging closer to extinction which would in turn cripple local ecosystems, but it is the stories of damaged crops and trampled people that are most salient for communities here in Malawi. Nyama is the Chichewa word used for both “meat” and “anima”’, and chirombo, which means pest, is often used to describe wild animals. The prevailing cultural belief is that they are God-given resources that will never run out.

“Elephant I Miss You” was made to challenge this view using the storytelling tradition combined with facts-based education. We hope it will stimulate discussion as well as pride in the country’s natural heritage that in turn would support wider conservation efforts.

People and Wildlife Are Both Casualties of Illicit Mining

Central Africa’s natural treasures are a blessing. They are also a curse.

The vast Congo Basin — spanning six Central African countries – supports more than 10,000 animal and 600 tree species, many of which are unique to this area. The region represents the second largest contiguous moist tropical forest in the world and provides critical habitat to the last populations of several globally important species, including African forest elephants and three of the world’s four species of great apes.

How Saving Elephants Got One National Geographic Explorer Arrested

Nights in police custody, fake elephant tusks, and terrorist organizations are all just part of a day’s work for National Geographic Society Fellow and Chief Correspondent to the Special Investigations Unit, Bryan Christy.

A Mysterious Rhino Horn Heist in Vermont

Mystery surrounds the theft of a rhinoceros horn from a natural history collection in the University of Vermont, in Burlington. Nobody knows its origins, or exactly when or why it was stolen.

Why Are Elephants in Northern Botswana Migrating South Into Previously Unoccupied Habitat?

By Oscar Nkala

Elephants from national parks in northern Botswana have started migrating south, deep into the semi-arid Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), which has no history as an elephant range, a leading elephant monitoring group notes.

In a report that gives insight into an ongoing aerial operation to track internal elephant movements, Kasane-based Elephants Without Borders (EWB) says that a decrease in migratory elephants’ movements across Botswana’s northern border from Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia has coincided with more herds venturing farther south into the CKGR.

Africa’s protected areas missing 75 percent of their savanna elephants

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.

Ground-breaking initial success in protecting Mali’s elephants, but it must be sustained

Despite a surge in poaching combined with a deepening insurgency Mali has deployed its first ever anti-poaching unit to protect the remarkable desert-adapted elephants. Although it is very early days, no poaching has occurred since. How did it happen and what does it take to sustain this success?

China bans ivory, prices plummet. Will this really help save the elephants?

The price of ivory in China has dropped by 2/3 since 2014. Can that help save living elephants?

Conservation Focus: Protecting the Critically Endangered Sumatran Elephant

These slideshow images, taken by Paul Hilton for WCS in 2016, illustrate the multitude of challenges faced in conserving the Sumatran elephant. These include the conversion of forest habitat to oil palm plantations, degradation of forest habitat by illegal logging, conflicts with farmers through crop-raiding, and being illegally hunted for their ivory tusks.

China’s Ivory Ban Has Played a Significant Role in De-Valuing Ivory

As the government rolls out the closing of the market, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) is observing hopeful results as in the Save the Elephants report issued this week. We believe that the ban has played a significant role in de-valuing ivory. We also believe that the ban has increased motivation for enforcement agencies to enhance actions on illegal ivory trade.

From high-tech to the eccentric: Kruger Park pulls out all the stops to combat poaching

Kruger Park rangers are making a valiant effort to combat the scourge of poaching of rhino and other animals in South Africa’s famous wildlife sanctuary.. They have launched a sophisticated multi-prong anti-poaching campaign. Time will tell if their efforts are making a difference. But is their enough time to save the rhinos?

The battle for the survival of the forest elephant can be won

In Gabon’s Minkébé National Park, forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) declined by approximately 80 percent between 2004 and 2014, as reported in a recent publication supported in part by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Both savanna and forest elephants are declining across most of the African continent driven primarily by Asia’s demand for ivory. What is happening in Minkébé National Park is particularly alarming, as this area was once home to the highest densities of forest elephants in Central Africa and was established as a stronghold and sanctuary for the species. What do these findings tell us about the future of forest elephants more broadly, and how should we prioritize efforts to save the species? Dr. Richard Ruggiero, chief of the Service’s Division of International Conservation, shares his thoughts.

Will Africa’s Big Five become extinct in the wild?

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.

Video Tribute Marks 40th Anniversary of Sheldrick Elephant Haven

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.