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Exploring Indonesia’s Last of the Wild – the Forgotten Islands

By Stuart Campbell and Nils Krueck

The Forgotten Islands occupy a region in the southeastern Indonesian province of Maluku, a sparsely-populated area covering about 50,000 square kilometers that includes a vast expanse of coral reefs. As the region’s name suggests, not much is known about these reefs and their associated fisheries. One important reason for this is that for much of the year the seas are wild and unable to be accessed. Another reason is that Maluku’s Forgotten Islands support around 70,000 people who practice traditional customs that hark back to before the conversion of communities to Christianity. These customs include the guarding of marine resources against occasional visitors, such as nomadic fishers from central Indonesia

On Wildlife Conservation Day, Protect Climate Refuges to Help Corals

By Emily Darling

Protected areas are a hallmark strategy in marine conservation. Yet when they were first created, a growing lethal threat had not yet fully revealed itself. Warming, acidifying, and rising seas have devastated the world’s sensitive coral reefs, widely regarded as “ground zero” for climate change. El Niños and marine heat waves can bleach and destroy vast areas of healthy, biodiverse reefs even where they occur within “protected” parks. If the global impacts of climate change do not stop at park boundaries, what can scientists do? One strategy is to identify and protect climate refuges – habitats with more stable environments where species can survive warming temperatures.

Shutting Down the Manta Trade

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic Voices blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by Paul Hilton, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers.  Twice in a one-week on the Indonesia island of…

Saving our Coral Reefs From the Bottom Up

From Jensi Sartin of the Reef Check Foundation: The beauty of the Caribbean reefs have been a tourist attraction for decades, if not centuries. They teem with life, holding an amazing variety of fantastical fish and other sea creatures. But at the current rate, Caribbean reefs will be lost within 20 years. Worse, the damage is largely the result of our own actions.

This dire news comes from the Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012, an extensive report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report explains that the direct threats from overfishing and land-based pollution are combining dramatically with the longer term effects of climate change to destroy a vital natural resource that lies just a short flight from the United States.

Busting Indonesia’s Manta Gill Trade

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 Paul Hilton. Writing this from a hotel room in Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, I realize…

The Coral Triangle: Amazon of the Oceans

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 James Morgan. I’ve been fortunate to see most of the world’s oceans the past couple…

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…

Slow Loris Outreach Week Is Here (Didn’t You Know?)

One of the world’s most endangered primates is also one of its cutest. Learn about the slow loris and how National Geographic grantee Anna Nekaris is working to protect them in the wild.

Poaching Crisis in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

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 photo from iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton. UPDATE FROM THE FIELD: Paul Hilton and FKL Rangers Expose Wildlife Poaching in…

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #65

We cannot overstate the dedication of wild bird photographers around the world. Birds are extremely risk-averse and getting close is a time-earned skill born of years learning about their behaviour. Knowledge of your camera is essential with no room for error before this bird takes off. The wild bird photographs in this week’s collection are…

“Reptile-Like” Bird and Sea Turtles Released on Indonesian Beach

A remote, protected beach on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is a critical nesting area for “strange” birds called maleos and olive ridley sea turtles, reports the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York. On February 23 on Sulawesi’s Binerean Cape, conservationists with WCS and local partner PALS (Pelestari Alam Liar dan Satwa, or Wildlife and…

Geography in the News: Bali, Past Trouble in Paradise

By Neal Lineback and Mandy Lineback Gritzner, Geography in the NewsTM Bali: Past Trouble in Paradise In August 2009, an elite Indonesian police squad killed a man believed to be the most wanted Islamic terrorist in Southeast Asia. Noordin Mohammad Top, a Malaysian born militant, was linked to bombings in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the 2002 bombings on…

First Ever Fatwa Issued Against Wildlife Trafficking

Indonesia’s top Muslim clerical body has issued a fatwa, or edict, against illegal wildlife trafficking.

Indonesia Announces World’s Largest Sanctuary for Manta Rays

The island nation declared a ban on fishing for both species of manta rays that inhabit the country’s exclusive economic zone.

February 2, 2014: Walking from Siberia to Australia, Prepping Putin’s $51 Billion Bash and More

This week, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they walk from Siberia to Australia, celebrate Putin’s $51 billion Olympic bash, get to the historic bottom of Groundhog Day, cycle 11,000 miles from Norway to South Africa, spend 200 days in a year deep inside of caves, dodge the bubonic plague in Madagascar, and search for the last of Africa’s glaciers.