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TODAY: Chat With National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a National Geographic Explorer? Here’s your chance to connect directly with someone who has ventured to unexplored areas, discovered previously unknown life forms, taken stunning photographs, and put it all to work to help protect some of the last wild places on Earth. From the Russian Arctic to…

Gabon Announces Protection of 23 Percent of Its Waters

The announcement by President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon means that whales, sharks, turtles, rays, and countless other marine species in jeopardy from industrialization and overfishing will now have a blue haven on the West African coast.

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.

June 15, 2014: Negotiating Elephant Truce With Armies, Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days and More

Every week, embark with host Boyd Matson on an exploration of the latest discoveries and interviews with some of the most fascinating people on the planet, on National Geographic Weekend. This week, we negotiate a truce between armies and Central African forest elephants, find common ground between jazz and physics, learn to take a cover photo for National Geographic magazine, run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 straight days, learn the National Parks Service’s most secret places, and learn about panda bear’s reproductive difficulties.

Gabon: Ground Zero for Forest Elephants

There’s simply no way other way to begin this story: The future for Africa’s forest elephant (Loxodonata cyclotis) is exceedingly dire. The battle to protect this “hidden elephant” from unremitting slaughter is being lost to a more aggressive and merciless demand for the animals’ ivory. Or as Richard Ruggiero, Africa branch chief at the US…

Camera Trap Pictures: Rare Badgers, Mongooses Spotted in Gabon

Honey badgers, mongooses, civets, and other small carnivores roam Gabon’s forests, according to the first such survey of its kind.

June 23, 2013: Brokering Peace for Elephants, Surfing Down the Baja Coast, and More

This weekend, we learn about how National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay made peace between rebel leaders and forest elephants in Central African Republic, we carry water on our back for a 1,000-mile trek down Mexico’s Baja California Coast, and we ride Europe’s rails in comfort.

Minkebe: A Tragedy Revealed and a Lesson to be Learned

Readers of this blog and other news related to the calamitous trends in the large-scale poaching of African elephants have another word to add to the vocabulary of crimes against nature: Minkebe. I did not share the shock that the news release from the Office of the President Ali Bongo Ondimba brought to most readers.…

11,000 Elephants Slaughtered in African Forest

Gabon’s Minkebe National Park, once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population, has lost 11,100 elephants to the illegal ivory trade in recent years, the Wildlife Conservation Society says. If we can find hundreds of millions of dollars to fight terrorism in Mali, we should be able to find the resources to combat this last big push by poachers, which may well be the final blow to a species that has just about gone extinct in the majority of countries where it once ranged.

October 28, 2012: Love in the Northwest Passage, Giant Predators in Prehistoric Australia, and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we sail a wooden yacht through the frozen Northwest Passage, dine with vultures in Turkey, discover life in an undersea desert in Gabon, remember the 18 fallen tigers in last year’s Zanesville, Ohio tragedy, dodge tree crocodiles and carnivorous kangaroos in prehistoric Australia, feed some birds and try not to get killed, paddle down Alaska’s Tanana River, and save macaws by making traditional headdresses (with synthetic feathers).

Gorillas Orphaned by Hunters Begin Journey Back to the Wild

Six orphan gorillas, rescued from the illegal bush meat trade, have begun new independent lives on a lagoon island outside Loango National Park in Gabon, the Société de Conservation et Développement (SCD) said today. “This is the first step in a reintroduction project that is hoped will allow them to return entirely to the wild…

Bronx Zoo Gorillas Raise $10 Million for Congo Basin Wild Gorillas

The Congo Gorilla Forest exhibit in New York’s Bronx Zoo is home to 19 of the great apes and an assortment of other animals. It has also raised almost U.S. $11,000,000 for the conservation of Central Africa’s Congo Basin rain forest and wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Society, which manages the zoo, said today. WCS photos…

Year of the Gorilla 2009

Photo by Michael Nichols/NGS The United Nations and an international coalition of zoos have declared 2009 the Year of the Gorilla. Announced last month, Year of the Gorilla (YoG) aims to unite the needs of both the largest living primate and the people who live in gorilla range states. YoG “aims to boost conservation of…

New Bird Species Discovered in Gabon

Breaking news for birders: Researchers at the Smithsonian Institution have discovered a new species of bird in Gabon, Africa, that was, until now, unknown to science. The olive-backed forest robin (Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus) measures 4.5 inches in length and averages a little more than half an ounce in weight. Smithsonian Ornithologist Brian Schmidt with a female specimen of the newly…