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No Ice in Sight: Polar Bears Scrabble Onshore to Find Food

On June 4, 1773, English naval officers were dispatched on an expedition to the Arctic. Their goal was to locate a passage from the British Isles to the Pacific Ocean. Instead, on ice floes near Spitsbergen (Svalbard), Norway, they found polar bears. The explorers were the first Europeans to describe the bears as a distinct…

A Feathery Hedgehog

Bringing the bird’s feathery volume to life, says artist Jane Kim, took “thousands and thousands of brush strokes.”

First Global Review of Arctic Marine Mammals Reveals Uncertain Future

Despite Arctic marine mammals being icons of climate change, little is known about their populations across the Arctic. In a first ever global review of Arctic marine mammals, published last week in Conservation Biology, an international team of scientists provides a circumpolar range assessment. They studied population status and trends for 11 species, including polar bears, ice seals, narwhals,…

Oracle Visits AKTF’s Build-A-Boma Project in Maasai Mara

  The sun had risen less than an hour before, yet Anne and the rest of us at the Anne K. Taylor Fund were gathered on an earthen airstrip at the edge of Maasai Mara National Reserve. Our Anti-Poaching Team leaned coolly against their truck, its green paint matching their olive fatigues. I and the…

Is “Extinct” Forever? Central Asia’s Caspian Tiger Traverses the Comeback Trail

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I imagine a tiger. He’ll move through the forest and his days Leaving his traces on the mud banks Of a river whose name he doesn’t know. In his world there are no names or past Or future, only the certainty of now. —Jorge Luis Borges, The Other Tiger In reeds tinged red in the…

Stripes Are Cool

And not just cool-looking. Thanks to funding from the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration, we have recently published our first paper about how the zebra got its stripes. The paper was published in Royal Society Open Science (details below) in January and has been receiving some great press, National Geographic, NPR, NBC, and…

Lion Conservation is Evolving in Maasai Mara

    The chief sat in the shade on a plastic chair that his wives had brought from inside. He was dressed to go out, with his wooden accoutrements– the herding stick and club that every Maasai man usually carries – were laid across his knees. His truck’s engine was running on the other side…

Polar Bears Sparring

This post is the first in the Click! Click! Click! Series which profiles interesting photographic moments that Kike captures during his travels.  About the photo: Two male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sparring. Location: Canadian Arctic If you like this photograph, you find it at the National Geographic Online Store.   Follow Kike Calvo on Blog,  Facebook, Twitter, Web, Tumblr, LinkedIn or Instagram.

Industrial-Scale Tiger Farms: Feeding China’s Thirst for Luxury Tiger Products

Young, healthy tigers jump through rings of fire, sit upright on cue, clawing at the air, and perform other well-choreographed circus tricks. Enthusiastic crowds cheer. After the show, some pay extra to hold small, cuddly cubs. But those who visit these tiger attractions in China have no idea of the suffering behind the scenes or the dark commerce that keeps them afloat.

Top 25 Photographs from the Wilderness #21

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” Henry David Thoreau A good friend once told me that wildlife photography makes him sad. He explained that when he sees images of the wild creatures and unspoiled places his heart aches too deeply at the thought of what he perceives to be…

Bobcats Prowl Among Us: Haunt Birdfeeders, Brooks, Boulevards

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It’s on the prowl from three hours before sunset until midnight, and again before dawn ‘til three hours after sunrise.  Each night, it moves two to seven miles, mostly on the same route. Along the way it visits, like the humans in whose shadow it lives, known locales.  But its stomping grounds are a hollow…

Stayin’ Alive: Baby Mantis Shrimp Use Light to Stay Invisible

Young mantis shrimp that depend on transparent bodies to avoid predators, use reflectors in their eyes to make them invisible, according to a new study.

Protecting Antarctic Marine Ecosystems: From Anemones to Whales

Over the past few years, I’ve written a lot about efforts to create marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Southern Ocean. For someone like me, who works on these issues and studies the Antarctic environment, the justification for MPAs is obvious. Antarctic ecosystems are bursting with incredible marine life, much of which we have yet…

New Species for the IUCN Red List

The biodiversity of life on Earth is disappearing faster than at any time in human history. Among the many people sounding the alarm of our disappearing natural history the IUCN Red List is the instrument that is used to measure biodiversity loss and the species that are most at risk of extinction. People like Elizabeth…

Unusual Encounters: Sea Turtles Roaming Off Los Angeles

“Balloon straight ahead” one of my researchers tells the captain while leaning forward from the bow of our boat. We are so accustomed to find plastic debris during our dolphin surveys off Los Angeles, California, that a party balloon is the first thing that comes to everyone’s mind when we come across something round-shaped floating…