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December 7, 2014: Return “Kidnapped” Animals to the Wild, Save the World’s Big Cats and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they climb El Capitan with young children, stop the kidnapping of Brazil’s wildlife, save lions by saving livestock, lift a 35-ton stone with prehistoric technology, work to save the last 3,000 wild tigers, visit some of the last nomadic tribes, bottle feed a baby cheetah, and clean up hazardous waste.

Steve Winter on the Trail of Big Cats for Big Cat Week

From trekking India’s Himalayas in search of rare snow leopards, to stalking the elusive jaguar through Latin American jungles, to chronicling the nocturnal activities of the cougar, there is nowhere Steve Winter won’t go to come face-to-face with his subjects.

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…

Google+ Hangout: Get to Know India’s Curious Big Cats

As part of Big Cat Week on Nat Geo Wild, several National Geographic big cat researchers, photographers, and conservationists (including me) are joining together for a live video chat via Google+ Hangout Wednesday, December 3rd at 1 p.m. EST (6 p.m. UTC). This is your chance to get your questions about these beautiful, fascinating, and highly endangered animals answered by those of us…

50 Years of Conservation in India

By K. Ullas Karanth

The modern resurgent India, now the 10th largest economy in the world, is justly proud of its ancient culture and art. Yet we must not forget that India possesses an even more ancient treasure – its wild lands and wildlife. It is one of the most biodiversity-rich nations on earth.

For Bhutan, it Takes a Community to Save the Snow Leopard

The snow leopard, like most of the world’s big cats, survives by keeping a low profile. Yet its secretive nature and penchant for living among some of the steepest, remotest mountain ranges on the planet have not saved the cat from human intrusions throughout most of its range.

Wildlife Trafficking: Beyond Elephants and Ivory

By Susan Lieberman

In the wildlife trafficking policy debate in the U.S., the majority of attention to date has been on elephant ivory and rhino horn from Africa. However, elephants and rhinos are not the only species threatened by illegal international trade. Numerous other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and others are also subject to trafficking, and they too need increased attention and political and financial support. In testimony I submitted to a meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking, I detailed some of the species whose illegal trade is under the radar, but still are suffering the effects of wildlife trafficking.

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.

Bouncing Back: Nepal’s Tigers Survive Civil Turmoil

By Joseph Allchin

Dhaka, Bangladesh–For years the Himalayan nation of Nepal lacked a functional government. Years of war and subsequent reorientation of the state, left vulnerable the nation’s rich fauna and in particular its tigers to the rampant poaching that has decimated wildlife populations across Asia. While Nepal’s politicians bickered, fears rose for its iconic tiger, one of its most majestic animals. But now Nepal’s big cat may be on the rebound.

Inserting Captive-Bred Tigers Into the Wild: Will it Work?

By Joseph Allchin

Dhaka, Bangladesh–The South China tiger has not been seen in the wild since the 1960s. Although Chinese delegates at a global tiger conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh this week are reluctant to admit it is extinct in the wild, it might as well be, because no confirmed sightings have been made since the 1970s. There were under 60 of the subspecies left in zoos worldwide in 2002.

However there is now hope that captive tigers can be trained to be reintroduced and function in the wild for the first time in decades.

Bangladesh Vows to Protect Wild Tigers in Spite of Industrialization

By Joseph Allchin

Dhaka, Bangladesh–Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, opened a major international conference on tiger conservation in the country’s capital, Dhaka, on Sunday. With delegates from all 13 tiger range countries in attendance, Hasina stated that her “government will do everything for conservation of the tigers,” lamenting “indiscriminate industrialization,” as a chief threat to habitats.

Bangladesh’s government is, however, involved in several industrial projects controversially located very close to the country’s sole remaining tiger habitat, the largest contiguous mangroves in the world, the Sundarbans.

Bold Tigers of Malenad: BPT-222 Strikes Again!

By K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science-Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society The Malenad Tiger Landscape in southwestern India, located in Karnataka and covering adjacent areas of neighboring Kerala and Tamil Nadu, today harbors what is possibly the largest wild tiger population in the world, about 400 animals or so. Camera trap research supported by the Wildlife Conservation Society…

Tigers in Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Universal Apothecary

Talking Tigers: Part 6 of a 12-part series For centuries, tigers have inspired awe, reverence and sometimes, terror, in the humans they’ve lived beside. They command the Asian landscape as the top predator—immense, magnificent, muscular animals armed with razored claws and massive canines. They can kill with one swipe of their dinner plate-sized paws or…

Video: Tigers Draw Tourists and Support for India’s Parks

Tigers are symbols of power and beauty, the “King of the Cats”. Everyone wants to see one in the wild. But are hordes of visitors hoping for the thrill of getting up close to the lord of the jungle good or bad for India’s wildlife sanctuaries?

Why Have Tigers Been Feared and Revered Throughout History?

Talking Tigers: Part 5 of a 12-part series Throughout human history, the diverse peoples who populated the vast Asian continent have had one thing in common: They feared and revered the tiger. Throughout this cat’s range, their stealthy, illusory habits—suddenly appearing and disappearing in dense forests, often at night—elevated them to the status of otherworldly beings.…