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November 9, 2014: Rescue Storm Survivors from Everest, Test an Elephant’s Memory and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they save climbers from a disaster on Everest, devote one day of each week to helping others, take selfies with orangutans, assign land and oceans for protection, never forget elephants, travel through North Korea, go to war with chimpanzees, and hijack the minds of the animals they’re living inside.

“The Woman With the iPad” Disrupts Epic Mountain Gorilla Trek

By Doris Schaffer After flying to Uganda, making my way to Rwanda, and actually trekking twice to visit mountain gorillas, I thought I’d be writing a travelogue describing the lush country of a thousand hills and the difficulty of getting to the gorilla habitats. I was certain I’d be explaining that mountain gorillas are endangered…

Mountain Gorilla Deaths Linked to Human Virus

Thousands of visitors trek up Africa’s equatorial volcanoes each year to see the world’s remaining mountain gorillas at close quarters. The thriving gorilla tourist economy has generally been good for the great apes, and may even have secured their survival. But a new study finds that human viruses have infected and killed gorillas. So do tourists also bring their fellow primates the kiss of death?

Can Uganda and Ethiopia act as Egypt’s “water bankers”?

This post is part of a special National Geographic news series on global water issues. I was standing inside a colonial-era circuit house in a sprawling, malarial city called Malakal in southern Sudan. I had come to see a man about a river, but the man, an Egyptian hydrologist, wasn’t talking. “It is forbidden,” he…

Chimp born in Rwanda’s “Forest of Hope”

Zoos regularly share with us photos of newborn animals in their care (zoo news). Here’s a birth in the wild that’s created excitement: For the second time in a year, a chimpanzee has been born to a small population of apes on the brink of extinction in a tiny pocket of Rwandan rain forest, Great…

Mountain gorillas need support network for survival, conservationist says

Mountain gorillas survive in two pockets of African rain forest and are shared by three countries that have experienced much turmoil: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. That the gorillas have been able to find relative sanctuary above the fray of the human settlements around them is thanks in no small part to the vision and dedication of several people and…

“Gorilla King” dies in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park

A silverback gorilla associated closely with researcher Dian Fossey, that went on to be the star of last year’s television documentary “Titus: The Gorilla King,” died of old age in the Volcanoes National Park this week, the Rwanda Development Board-Tourism and Conservation announced on its Web site. Photo courtesy Rwanda Tourism “Not only was he one of…

Rangers Rout Illegal Charcoal Operations in Africa’s Gorilla Park

Hundreds of illegal charcoal kilns have been destroyed in dawn raids by armed rangers deep in the forests of Virunga National Park in Eastern Congo in recent days, according to a news statement released by park authorities today. Ranger on guard in front of a charcoal kiln. Copyright Gorilla.cd Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park…

“Cornelius,” Anyone?

WildlifeDirect shares news on the Great Apes Blog of Kwita Izina, Rwanda‘s annual celebration in which mountain gorillas born during the previous 12 months receive their names. Volunteers in gorilla suits, pictured above, stood in for the baby gorillas receiving names during the ceremony. Other videos on the official Kwita Izina YouTube channel include adorable…

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…

An Interview With Bill Clinton

Kigali, Rwanda–Back in the capital last night, a few of us rushed to visit the Kigali Memorial Center, which was opened four years ago on the tenth anniversary of the genocide. The memorial is built on a site where 250,000 victims of the genocide were interred by Kigali authorities after countless unidentified people in shallow graves…

New Rwanda Hospital to be “Most Modern in Africa”

Butaro, Rwanda–Hundreds of people lined the hills and streets of Butaro, a small town across the border with Uganda in the Burera district of Rwanda, waiting all day for President Clinton to visit for a groundbreaking ceremony for the district’s first hospital. Burera is in the only one of Rwanda’s 30 districts still lacking a…

Clinton Visits Cassava Farm and Boy with AIDS

Rinkwavu, Rwanda–The Clinton mission flew on Rwanda Air Force helicopters to the eastern highlands of the country today to visit cassava farmers and then to join a home visit by a health care worker to a 15-year-old boy being treated for AIDS. Villagers gathered in small groups to watch the first wave of helicopters land…

Bill Clinton’s Ties to Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda–Some 800,000 people were killed in the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. It happened on Bill Clinton’s watch as U.S. president . On a visit to Rwanda ten years ago, Clinton publicly acknowleged that the United States and the world community “did not do as much as we could have and should have done…