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Christy Ullrich Barcus

of National Geographic

Christy Ullrich Barcus, National Geographic magazine staff, covers natural history and culture topics for National Geographic News. She is the editor of Polar Bear Watch. She holds a master's degree in nonfiction writing from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.

What Elephant Calls Mean: A User’s Guide

From powerful roars to low-frequency rumbles, elephants use a variety of vocalizations to communicate.

Walking for Elephants: One Conservationist’s Journey

Jim Nyamu, a 37-year-old Kenyan research scientist, finished his 560-mile walk in Washington, D.C., last week to raise awareness about threats to elephants in the wild. He spoke to a gathering of about a hundred people in Lafayette Park opposite the White House. His finish was timed to coincide with the International March for Elephants,…

Name That Elephant: How to Identify Elephants in the Wild

Elephants are some of nature’s most majestic creatures. But how do scientists know who’s who in the wild? To think like an elephant scientist, it’s important to look at key characteristics, said elephant biologist and National Geographic Explorer Joyce Poole.

A Real-World Approach to Preserving Polar Bears in Alaska

Alaskan communities are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build community awareness around sustainable polar bear harvesting practices.

Study Links Arctic Sea Ice Loss With Changes in Atmospheric Circulation

By Emily Shenk National Geographic A skier crosses the Arctic Ocean, where the extent of summer sea ice has declined by about 30 percent during the last three decades. Photo by Dan Westergren A study published in the International Journal of Climatology in May adds to the growing research linking melting sea ice in the Arctic…

Elephants Communicate in Sophisticated Sign Language, Researchers Say

  Elephants may use a variety of subtle movements and gestures to communicate with one another, according to researchers who have studied the big mammals in the wild for decades. To the casual human observer, a curl of the trunk, a step backward, or a fold of the ear may not have meaning. But to…

Exploring the Natural History of Polar Bears

Icon of the Arctic, the polar bear thrives in the remote Arctic landscape of ice and snow. World-renowned polar bear scientist Ian Stirling offers his thoughts on the state of polar bears in the wild, the threats they face today, and insights from his recent book, Polar Bears: A Natural History of a Threatened Species.