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Conservationists Playing with Fire

By Julie Kunen

For millennia, tropical civilizations cultivated their crops through a practice known as slash and burn agriculture. In this practice, vegetation is cut down and burned to clear land and improve the soil with the resulting organic matter and nutrients. Fire also kills or drives away pests and encourages the regeneration of grasses in natural pastures. When used over extensive areas in a cycle of planted and fallowed fields, the practice is sustainable. Today, many agricultural communities that lack access to machinery and chemical inputs depend upon fire for their livelihoods, using it to clear and maintain the fertility of agricultural lands and to delimit property boundaries. Yet, fire is also a great danger to humans and there are many risks associated with the use of fire as a land management tool.

The Peel River Watershed: The Endangered Wilderness of Canada’s Yukon

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 Peter Mather, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers. From the front seat of our Cessna 172, the…

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.

Under the Desert Sun: Journey through the California Desert

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 Krista Schlyer, Fellow at the International League of Conservation Photographers. I wake this morning to the smell of…

Trick-or-Treating With Predators: Who is the Candy Bar of the Prairie?

Predators trick-or-treating across the northern plains are on the look out for their favorite full-sized candy bar. In a new video released this week, hear from our American Prairie Reserve biologists, Kyran and Damien, as they talk about the crucial role that these miniature snacks play in the larger ecosystem. Watch as hungry badgers go door to door —…

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.

New TV “Channels” to Broadcast Live Stream of Otters, Meerkats

So-called whitespace technology will allow us to watch wild animals in real time in some of the remotest parts of the world, according to researchers.

October 12, 2014: Fighting South Pole Frostbite, Bathing Elephants and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they survive frostbite on the frozen continent, explore Haiti’s marine culture, bathe an elephant, bobsled with British champions, dance with Birds of Paradise, learn the Secrets of the National Parks, and discover what has been hiding in Vietnam’s jungles.

Bear Cub Mystery in NYC: Explaining Recent Black Bear News

A mysterious black bear cub found dead in New York City’s Central Park this week could not have gotten there on its own, expert says.

Fisherman Rescues Drowning Eagle: Explaining Viral Video

Get the story behind how a young eagle ended up struggling in the water—and how it’s faring now.

Surprising Pictures: Catlike Creature Rides on Rhino

Editor’s note: James Kydd is the creator and editor of the blog rangerdiaries.com and a professional safari guide. A type of catlike creature called a genet has been spotted catching a ride on the backs of buffalo and white rhinos, new camera trap pictures reveal. As cameras, social media, and technology advance, more and more wildlife…

Wild at 50: The Wilderness Act Turns a Half-Century

By John Weaver

Recently, some neo-conservationists have argued that the Wilderness Act is facing a mid-life crisis, that somehow the notion of Wilderness is an anachronism in the ‘Anthropocene’ era of human domination of the planet. They argue that we should focus on domesticating landscapes to serve economic growth of the human juggernaut – rather than protecting remaining wild lands and preventing human-caused extinction of species. Other conservationists – myself included – disagree.

Unexpected Conservation Connection Between Montana, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates

My wife Kayla and I, after decades of living in Montana, made a rookie mistake last month as we tried, on a week’s notice, to secure a three-night spot at one of our favorite camping areas. We figured the second week of July would be a perfect time for relaxing and wildlife watching. Apparently so…

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…