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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.

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Is It True Bird Moms Abandon Babies?

This week in Ask Your Weird Animal Questions, we tell you when you should help a baby animal—and when you should leave it alone.

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…

Female Turtles “Talk” to Their Hatchlings, Scientists Discover

New research finds that female giant South American river turtles “talk” to their hatchlings.

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Reptiles

Reptiles may not be as cuddly as cats or as dutiful as dogs, but reptile people love their lizards, snakes, and turtles. This week Ask Your Weird Animal Questions slithers into the world of reptiles, starting with one reader who shelled out some great questions about turtles. Water turtles/terrapins: When they sleep at night, how…

May 11, 2014: Capturing the Spirit of Adventure, Saving Sea Turtles 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. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – Adventurers who regularly push their limits of…

Two New Snapping Turtle Species Named

The alligator snapping turtle, the biggest freshwater turtle in North America, is actually three species, a new study says.

April 6, 2014: Riding Horses Across Continents, Swimming in the Arctic Ocean 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. Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend on radio, or listen below! Hour 1 – Filipe Masetti left Calgary, Alberta on horseback nearly two…

A Dome for Turtles and More

This week, Armando Ubeda, Mesoamerican Program Manager for LightHawk traveled to Costa Rica as part of an expedition to promote the conservation and governability of the Central American Dome. LightHawk is in Costa Rica supporting this initiative led by MarViva, donating flight to the expedition and helping raise the profile of this effort. The Central…

Electronic Tagging and Tracking Marine Animals Supports Conservation

Understanding and predicting animal movement is important as it is central to establishing effective management and conservation strategies [1]. Until relatively recently, studying the movements and behaviors of highly migratory marine species (turtles, sharks, whales, penguins, seals and billfish) have been challenging due to the logistical and technological constraints of working in aquatic environments. However,…

New Caledonia Expedition: Turtle Lovin’

By Manu San Félix Today we had a difficult day of diving, navigating far away from our ship with dive boats in rough seas. In spite of the bad conditions we were able to complete three dives in beautiful reefs and coral gardens with groupers, sharks and more. Afterwards, we went back to our boat,…

The Ocean’s Unsung Heroes – Hooray for the Little Guys & Just Keep Swimming!

When most people think about ocean creatures, they picture large charismatic species like whales, penguins, polar bears, sharks and turtles. These magnificent animals are the “celebrities” of the oceans and tend to received significant public and scientific attention. In fact, they are even play starring roles in Hollywood movies, such as Happy Feet, Dolphin Tale,…

The Turtle and the Town: Freshwater Species of the Week

  The northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica) is a relatively large aquatic turtle that is native to North America. It is named for the lines on its shell, which resemble the contour lines on a map. Map turtles show extreme sexual size dimorphism, which means the genders grow to different sizes. Northern male map turtles…

Saving Other Turtles from George’s Lonesome Fate

For turtle species numbering in the hundreds or less, we may only have a few years before we lose these marvels of evolution forever. We have the ability to make a difference, and we have the ethical responsibility to respond. We must act now to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to spot a turtle in the wild and that no species finds itself reduced by human greed or mismanagement to one last, lonesome representative.

Australia’s Menopause-Busting Turtles: Freshwater Species of the Week

  Australia’s unique freshwater turtles (like the Eastern longneck pictured) may hold promise for medical breakthroughs. The reptiles can live longer than a century and they don’t seem to go through menopause, suggesting that they may have anti-aging properties. Freshwater turtle expert Ricky Spencer of the University of Western Sydney told Australian media that, paradoxically,…