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A Ghost in the Making: Photographing the Rusty-patched Bumble Bee

Over the last 15 years the range of the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee has shrunk by 87% and it has become one of the rarest bees in North America.

The Disturbing War for Abalone

South Africa’s illicit abalone trade is steeped in the after-effects of apartheid, organized and violent crime, illegal drugs, and corruption. Species like rhinos, tigers, and elephants are generally better at building public awareness than abalone, a large type of marine snail, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the potency of wildlife crime is any…

The Latest Threat to Siberian Tigers: Canine Distemper

Talking Tigers: Part 8 of a 12-part series The first signs that something was wrong came in 2000. Gaunt Siberian tigers (Panthera tigris altaica) began wandering through villages and staggered haltingly across roads in Russia’s Far East. They were dazed, hungry and boldly unafraid of humans, extremely odd behavior for this secretive, wary animal. One of them…

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.

CITES and confiscated elephant ivory and rhino horn – to destroy or not destroy?

Over the past 24 months we have seen a number of countries, including Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA, destroy stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory and rhino horn that have been seized and confiscated. I have been invited by national CITES authorities to witness several…

Why We “Celebrate” Threatened Species

Yesterday I met Lonesome George. He was the last of his kind and he is now displayed in taxidermy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He’s tucked away under a glass case in an alcove on the 4th floor amidst other extinct species, but, none of their extinctions are nearly as…

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…

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…

Rare Siamese Crocodiles Released as Ambassadors for Laotian Wetland

Seventeen Critically Endangered juvenile Siamese crocodiles have been released into into a protected wetland in Laos, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today. The Siamese crocodile is named Freshwater Species of the Week for its critical role in the fragile Xe Champhone and other wetlands in Southeast Asia. Saving the species from the brink of extinction in the wild and restoring its habitat will help ensure a healthy environment and create socio-economic opportunities for the people who depend on the wetlands.

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…

Are You Kidding? Larger Tanks Won’t Cut it for Killer Whales

Once again Sea World is missing the point. The aquatic entertainment enterprise just doesn’t seem to give up despite documentaries like Blackfish and a growing public awareness that keeping cetaceans in captivity is cruel and morally wrong. Even Wall Street is turning its back on the company. Now, with a new and grandiose multi-million dollar plan for expanding their killer whale tanks, Sea World is taking the “logical” next step to resurrect itself.

Can Artificial Insemination Save Endangered Species?

Assisted reproduction is becoming one of the tools conservationists use to help manage endangered species populations.

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…

Kruger Park to Move 500 Rhinos to Save Species from Extermination

As the world’s largest rhino population plunges to tipping point under relentless pressure of poaching for the animal’s horn, the South African Government has directed that 500 of the charismatic mega-mammals be repositioned into places where they can be protected.