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Places, Experiences and Objects to Dream About

This post is the first in the series Places, Experiences and Objects to Dream About, which profiles marvelous locations, unique life experiences and objects of interest to modern explorers that Kike discovers during his travels.   The idea for this new column came up as I was staring at a small fur seal puppy playing…

The Night Belonged to Ozzie

The world’s largest land creature stood on me last night—two giant feet over my head, putting me at a disturbing eye-level vantage with a dripping elephant phallus in the dark. It has occurred to me over the course of my research that an untimely end could happen to anyone studying these larger-than-life animals, but it’s not something I ever thought I’d live to tell about.

Elephants Have 2,000 Genes for Smell—Most Ever Found

The large mammals have 2,000 genes related to smell, the most ever discovered in an animal, a new study says.

Bats Set Their Internal Compass at Dusk—A First Among Mammals

Bats may be known for their stealth in the dark, but a new study shows they need light from the setting sun to navigate.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week #71

Woodpeckers, nutcrackers, flycatchers, sunbirds, roadrunners and babblers in this 71st Edition! Astonishing what can be achieved with a bit of patience, care and a passion for birds. Wild birds have become the subject of choice for thousands of photographers around the world. They extremely hard to photograph. You need the best equipment you have access to…

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…

Breathtaking Destruction

Earlier this year, aerial photographer Alex MacLean invited me to survey the tar sands of northeast Alberta from the air with him. He’d reserved a plane, complete with pilot, at the diminutive airport of Fort McMurray, the de facto tar sands capital of Alberta. Alberta contains about 170 billion barrels of reasonably accessible oil, the…

We’re Seeing the End of Our Livelihood

Violet Clarke’s home sits virtually in the center of the vast Athabasca tar sands, a colossal deposit of extremely heavy crude oil in the western Canadian province of Alberta. She vaguely recalls seeing the gooey black stuff, which seeped naturally from the banks of the Athabasca River, during her childhood. Her father, a Cree Indian,…

Return of a Native: Reflections on the 38th Voyage of the whaling ship Charles W. Morgan, July 11, 2014

By Patricia Paladines and Carl Safina The first whale was spotted at around 11am. We approached it with the quiet stealth afforded by a light wind in our sails. To the best of our knowledge the animal could not imagine or have any concern that a wooden whale-hunting ship was nearing its magnificent, enormous body.…

4 Sky Events This Week: Saturn Stands While Meteors Fly

Saturn, the true “Lord of the Rings,” dominates the evening sky this week, while the summer’s first meteor shower gets under way. Saturn at full stop. On Monday, July 21, the ringed world will appear at a standstill in the sky, relative to the background stars in the zodiacal constellation Libra, the Scales. Astronomers call this…

Journey of the Sea Lion, Part One: Majesty of the Pacific Northwest

Jon Waterhouse and Mary Marshall join the voyage of the National Geographic expedition vessel, the Sea Lion, to tour and discover some of the best that the ecosystems and cultures of the Pacific Northwest have to offer.

Time Passes at an Elephant’s Pace

Time passes at an elephant’s pace here at Mushara waterhole in the northeast corner of Etosha National Park, Namibia. The mornings are slow to materialize, a few solitary bulls drifting in like a lazy late morning gust from the northeast and then later from the southwest, each gliding through on non-overlapping paths. By early afternoon…

Science on the Edge of the World: Tales From Madagascar’s Sakalava Menabe

Cara Brook is a disease ecologist from the Andrew Dobson Lab at Princeton, studying diseases that can leap from bats to humans. Her work is well underway, and it involves a lot more than just tagging and indexing bats.

Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe

For perspective on how climate change is affecting lakes, those of us here in the U.S. can just look across the pond, where scientists and the agencies involved in meeting the European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic. Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts…

Global Warming Boosting Reindeer on Norwegian Island—For Now

Reindeer on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago are bucking the trend and thriving, according to a long-term study.