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Category archives for Africa

Insisting on Truth – Bhopal and Beyond

“I cut all the pictures out of my textbook…they were so…” My friend Anu doesn’t finish her thought. She doesn’t have to. I know the words that she can use, but they will never fully articulate the horrific, gruesome, tragic images depicting the event of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Disaster, considered by many to be the…

Walking the World, In the Footsteps of Our Restless Forebears

Almost four years ago veteran journalist and National Geographic Fellow Paul Salopek set out from one of the oldest Homo sapiens fossil sites in the world—located in the parched Rift Valley of Ethiopia—to begin crossing the Earth on foot along the pathways of the original human migration out of Africa. To date Salopek has walked…

This Is What a Climate-smart Farm Looks Like 

How One Kenyan Farmer Went From ‘Nothing’ to the Envy of the Neighborhood

Using Technology to Combat Wildlife Crime

“Wildlife rangers now have the help they’ve desperately needed.” says Colby Loucks, WWF’s wildlife crime technology lead. “This groundbreaking technology allows them to search for poachers 24 hours a day, from up to a mile away, in pitch darkness. It’s upping the game in our fight to stop wildlife crime across the region.”

Where I Was When I Heard the News

My surreal experience of Donald Trump’s election, far away from America When Donald J. Trump was elected President of the United States, I was sitting in a tin-roofed, dirt-floored cafe on the shore of Lake Victoria, in a bustling Kenyan fishing village called Usenge, waiting for a ferry and watching the sun rise. It should…

Illegal Ivory Almost All from Recent Killing, Study Finds

Researchers analyzing African elephant tusks seized by global law enforcement have confirmed what many suspect: the illegal ivory trade, now running in high gear, is being fueled almost exclusively by recently killed animals. In the first study of its kind, researchers showed that almost all tusks studied came from animals killed less than three years…

The Lost History of South Africa

The strange creature is half antelope and half bird. Painted in jet black, frozen in flight on the wall, the animal has the hind legs and tail of a buck, and the magnificent wings of a raven that spread out from its shoulders. Above the flying figure, a long scaly reptile with crocodile-like ridges stretches…

The legend of Babakoto

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to the rainforests of Andasibe, Madagascar, and learns the legend of Babakoto…the indri lemur.

How One U.S. Zoo is Supporting African Wildlife Conservation

Despite the sensation of  tough gravel, I never expected a rhinoceros to feel so soft around the back of the ears and mouth.  Staff at the Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, New York had graciously allowed me to come face to face with Bill, the resident southern white rhinoceros who, funnily enough, was more interested in being petted than…

Anja on fire

Safina Center Fellow Ben Mirin travels to Anja, Madagascar, to record wild soundscapes. While there he finds a community grappling with how to balance protecting nature with making a living.

World body that could protect elephants—decides not to

Acutely, an elephant’s problem is ivory. Chronically the problem is shrinking space. Rich or poor, humans seem too much of a good thing. One wonders where this trend of growing human numbers and appetites, afflicting elephants and humans alike, is headed.

Keeping peace with predators can cut livestock deaths

When predator animals like tigers, lions, bears and wolves attack livestock animals like goats, cows and horses, you need to kill off the predators to reduce livestock deaths, right? Wrong.

African Lions on the Brink: A Conversation with Lion Expert Craig Packer

With roars that rend the African night, lions have captured our imaginations since the dawn of humankind. “Lions have long been celebrated in art and literature throughout the world,” says ecologist Craig Packer, National Geographic Explorer and Expeditions Council grantee, and director of the University of Minnesota Lion Center. In the face of habitat loss and…

Taming Rivers: A Fulbright-National Geographic Journey

“Simply, water is surpassing oil itself as the world’s scarcest critical resource. Just as oil conflicts were central to twentieth-century history, the struggle over freshwater is set to shape a new turning point in the world order and the destiny of civilization” — Steven Solomon, Water   The Dam, located in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of…

Where an Owl Egg Is Worth More Than Ivory or Rhino Horn

The exact beliefs surrounding the use of owl eggs are not well known, but calls I received generally came from well-educated individuals seeking to cure a relative of cancer or HIV-Aids.