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Cracking Down on the Pet Cheetah Trade

Cheetahs on cars. Cheetahs in boats. Cheetahs in mansions. The growing cheetah pet trade, spurred on by social media posts of wealthy owners posing in photos with their exotic pets, has gained the attention of the international community. Cheetahs face major threats from habitat loss and fragmentation, but the exotic pet trade in the last…

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 The series of attacks has been confirmed by a great variety of historical documents and is not called into question by scientists.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.

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Rangers Face Serious Dangers (Video)

There are many challenges rangers face, says Fyson Suwedi, in this video. A Senior Assistant Parks and Wildlife Officer in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park, he should know. “Poachers look at rangers as obstacles. They can do anything to make sure they get what they want. They can kill the rangers,” he says. The video is part of a series featuring voices of those fighting against organized wildlife crime.

Cameras Reveal the Secret Lives of a Mountain Lion Family: Filmmaker Q&A with Sharon Negri

From Persecution to Coexistence: An Image Makeover for America’s Lion Article by Rucha Chitnis This summer, America woke up to the unequivocally endearing footage of five mountain lion kittens born in the Santa Susana Mountains, just north of Los Angeles.  They made national headlines. “They nailed their Hollywood-area debut with adorable hisses, deep blue eyes…

Fighting Wildlife Crime: “There is Hope” (Video)

Wildlife does not belong to an individual,” says Julius Kamwendwit Cheptei in this video interview. Assistant Director of the Southern Conservation Area, Kenya Wildlife Service Parks and Preserves, Cheptei is a veteran of the struggle to protect his country’s wildlife from poachers, ivory traders, and other criminals. For Cheptei, wild animals belong to everyone, so everyone should be involved in fighting wildlife crime.

“Success is collective…and there’s a lot of hope because everybody all over the world is rallying behind the same. Without hope, we will not be doing what we are doing. There is hope because we come together to preserve it. There is hope because we are fighting for a common good. So there is hope for the survival of these animals. Hope is there for me, for you, for my children, and your children, too. There is hope.”

Fighting Wildlife Crime: Unsung Heroes (Video)

Wildlife trafficking today is unlike anything the world has ever seen before,” says Bryan Christy in this video. The award-winning investigative journalist and National Geographic Fellow adds: “Rare animals are being exploited by criminal syndicates who have access to advanced technology, advanced weapon systems. There’s a huge imbalance in terms of the resources Law Enforcement have…

What to Expect at CITES: A Sneak Peak at Upcoming Endangered Species Meeting

Even for experienced eyes, sifting through the roughly 200 documents to be considered at the upcoming Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) 17th Conference of Parties (CoP17) is a challenge.

CITES protects about 5,600 animal species and 30,000 plant species through restrictions on commercial trade, and much discussion at the meeting, to be held September 24 to October 5 in Johannesburg, South Africa, will concentrate on whether to tighten or loosen trade restrictions for specific species.

Uniting Against Organized Wildlife Crime

Law enforcement agencies, NGOs, and business leaders gathered from across the world in Washington this week to share information and expertise and organize a concerted strategy to combat the global scourge of wildlife trafficking.

The unprecedented collaboration was heralded at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters on Tuesday, at an event held against the backdrop of recent news of a catastrophic plunge in the last wild populations of African elephants and other species. The meeting also set the stage for CITES CoP17, a conference in Johannesburg at the end of this month that will bring more than a hundred governments together to review the planet’s biggest wildlife challenges and opportunities.

How Fighting the Bushmeat Trade Protects Lions

Sometimes, when traveling through Maasai Mara, visitors may see elephants with half of their trunk missing. The poor creatures must kneel to pluck grasses, and they are unable to reach leaves from the canopies of trees at all. It is no mystery what maims these elephants. Over smoky fires, well hidden from passersby on the…

Catastrophic Declines in Earth’s Wilderness Areas Over the Last 20 Years, Study Finds

Researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology show catastrophic declines in wilderness areas around the world over the last 20 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said today.

“They demonstrate alarming losses comprising a tenth of global wilderness since the 1990s – an area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon. The Amazon and Central Africa have been hardest hit,” the New York-based WCS added in a statement released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.

Rare Footage of Pallas’s Cat Cubs in Mongolia’s Zoolon Mountains

The Pallas’s cat is a mysterious, small and little known wild cat species living in the steppes and mountains of Central Asia. Through a new research initiative “PICA” (Pallas’s Cat International Conservation Alliance) launched earlier this year, conservationists are hoping to better understand this feline. The project is still in its early stages, but it has already produced some outstanding, rare footage of Pallas’s cats, including this video of wild cubs.

Involving Communities in the Fight Against Wildlife Crime

It is in the hearts and minds of people at the grass roots as much as with ministers in the corridors of power and poachers in the field that the battle against wildlife crime has to be fought – and won.

How my First Snow Leopard Encounter Defined my Career Path

The snow leopard is an endangered high-altitude predator species occurring in 12 Asian countries, including Afghanistan, where around 50-200 individuals exist. Wakhan National Park, in northeastern Afghanistan, a high-elevation region above the tree line (most of the sanctuary is at 3600 meter and above), is considered a hotspot for snow leopards and their spectacular wild prey species…

Understanding Dogs to Protect Cats

Post submitted by Matthias Fiechter Feral dogs have been seen chasing snow leopards and bears away from their prey. Growing populations of free-ranging dogs are becoming a real threat to wildlife in many parts of the snow leopard’s range. Liu Mingyu, a researcher in China, is tracking dogs with GPS collars to better understand their behavior…

Refocusing on the Facts for World Lion Day #worldlionday

The focus on trophy hunting overshadows the actual causes of lion population declines. I advocate for this World Lion Day to refocus on the real threats facing these iconic big cats today. There are solutions.