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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…

The Global Status of Sharks

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” While he was talking about piracy and salvage in the Florida Keys, there is an ecological attractiveness in this statement that…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mostly Madagascar!)

Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. Here she explores the incredible Ankarana Preserve, as well as theories on species distribution and evolution.

Geography in the News: The Great Lakes’ Mounting Problems

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM The Great Lakes’ Mounting Problems Recent news about an algae bloom on Lake Erie leading to Toledo, Ohio’s municipal water plants closing is just one of the many problems affecting the Great Lakes. Toledo’s 400,000 people were forced to purchase bottled water for two…

5 Countries Putting All Their Money on Species

Nations throughout Africa have The Big Five (the little five too), Australia has Koalas and Kangaroos, the United States has the Bald Eagle, and Canada has the noble Beaver. Every corner of the world has its species that help to define cultures, geographies, and national identity. However, these five nations have taken their pride in…