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Salamanders Are Pretty Awesome…But They may Be in big Trouble

By Doug Parsons, North America Policy Director, Society for Conservation Biology

On recent visit with my two young sons to the National Zoo here in Washington, D.C., I pleaded with them to make a quick detour to look at the pandas. My 11-year-old scoffed, and made a beeline for the Blink and you Miss It exhibit for the Japanese giant salamanders. Slimy, small and cold-blooded as they are, salamanders don’t always evoke the same “warm and fuzzy” response from many zoo-goers as the larger and more charismatic mammal species.

Galápagos Tourism Backfires

A squabble over tourism dollars has escalated into a dire threat to the islands’ renowned Charles Darwin Research Station. Rampant tourism growth without adequate management now endangers scientific conservation work—the very work that helps protect the creatures tourists want to see.

The Next New Species Could be in Your Backyard: Why Exploration and Discovery Matter – Everywhere

Gregory M. Mueller, Ph.D. Chief Scientist and Negaunee Foundation Vice President of Science Chicago Botanic Garden When we think about discovering new species, we tend to envision tropical rainforests, remote deserts or lofty mountain peaks. But researchers, including myself, are taking a closer look at the landscapes right under our noses – in my case,…

Food Species Top the Latest Additions to The IUCN Red List

The IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia saw the release of the latest update to The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ in front of a global audience of protected area professionals, conservationists, government representatives, and business leaders. These leaders consistently agreed that survival of many species depends on the conscious interaction between our…

A Massive New Marine Protected Area Network in Gabon

By John Robinson

The first day of the IUCN 2014 World Parks Congress marked a significant win for the oceans. The President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon announced the decision to create a new marine protected area network of ten marine parks covering more than 18,000 square miles (over 46,000 square kilometres). The network – encompassing about 23 percent of Gabon’s territorial waters and EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) – will safeguard whales, sea turtles, and other marine species inhabiting the nation’s coastal and offshore ecosystems. As the President noted in his speech, this puts Gabon “near the 20 to 30 percent that marine biologists tell us is needed to maintain biodiversity and restore depleted areas outside parks.” This is a massive increase from the 1 percent of marine area currently protected by Gabon.

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.

Life in the Great Barrier Reef

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Jürgen Freund on expedition with iLCP partner, The Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. Onboard the M/Y Golden Shadow,…

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…

Rivers Need a Thorough Health Exam

Rivers are the blue arteries of the Earth. Their flows deliver sediment and nutrients to floodplains, deltas and coastal zones, some of the most biologically productive ecosystems on the planet.  They connect and sustain the web of life. So it might be surprising that globally we don’t systematically monitor their health.  Imagine damming and diverting…

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…

Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Shawn Heinrichs Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries: The path to creating an effective Manta Sanctuary Indonesia announced…

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…

The Highest Conservation Price

In all the money that is devoted to the conservation of the most charismatic species, there is one that has been lifted far above what I thought was the highest plateau of funds devoted to conservation. You might at first think of the Giant Panda. You, however, as I was, would be wrong; although millions…

“Adorably Cute” Tiny Primate Discovery Illuminates Biodiversity of Philippines Island

Meet the Dinagat-Caraga tarsier, a distinctive evolutionary lineage of primate that has just been discovered from the southeastern Philippines by an international team of biologists working with the Philippine government’s Biodiversity Management Bureau. The discovery of the new genetic type of primate was funded in part by the National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration.

Longtime Sea Urchin Diving Partners Lead the Way in Sea Kelp Restoration, Technology and Collaboration

By Leanne Weiss Terry Herzik (67), Gary Thompson (71), and Lucy, Gary’s 8-year-old Chihuahua, board the Sunstar at dawn with enough food and fuel for the next three days. As they pull away, in their 34-foot vessel the sun is just beginning to rise over Fish Harbor, in San Pedro, Los Angeles. They’ll head southwest…