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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.

CITES and confiscated elephant ivory and rhino horn – to destroy or not destroy?

Over the past 24 months we have seen a number of countries, including Belgium, Chad, China, Hong Kong SAR, China, Czech Republic, Gabon, France, Philippines, and the USA, destroy stockpiles of illegally traded elephant ivory and rhino horn that have been seized and confiscated. I have been invited by national CITES authorities to witness several…

Why We “Celebrate” Threatened Species

Yesterday I met Lonesome George. He was the last of his kind and he is now displayed in taxidermy at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He’s tucked away under a glass case in an alcove on the 4th floor amidst other extinct species, but, none of their extinctions are nearly as…

Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries

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 photos by iLCP Fellow Shawn Heinrichs Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries: The path to creating an effective Manta Sanctuary Indonesia announced…

New Species for the IUCN Red List

The biodiversity of life on Earth is disappearing faster than at any time in human history. Among the many people sounding the alarm of our disappearing natural history the IUCN Red List is the instrument that is used to measure biodiversity loss and the species that are most at risk of extinction. People like Elizabeth…

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…

Rare Siamese Crocodiles Released as Ambassadors for Laotian Wetland

Seventeen Critically Endangered juvenile Siamese crocodiles have been released into into a protected wetland in Laos, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today. The Siamese crocodile is named Freshwater Species of the Week for its critical role in the fragile Xe Champhone and other wetlands in Southeast Asia. Saving the species from the brink of extinction in the wild and restoring its habitat will help ensure a healthy environment and create socio-economic opportunities for the people who depend on the wetlands.

The Highest Conservation Price

In all the money that is devoted to the conservation of the most charismatic species, there is one that has been lifted far above what I thought was the highest plateau of funds devoted to conservation. You might at first think of the Giant Panda. You, however, as I was, would be wrong; although millions…

Are You Kidding? Larger Tanks Won’t Cut it for Killer Whales

Once again Sea World is missing the point. The aquatic entertainment enterprise just doesn’t seem to give up despite documentaries like Blackfish and a growing public awareness that keeping cetaceans in captivity is cruel and morally wrong. Even Wall Street is turning its back on the company. Now, with a new and grandiose multi-million dollar plan for expanding their killer whale tanks, Sea World is taking the “logical” next step to resurrect itself.

Can Artificial Insemination Save Endangered Species?

Assisted reproduction is becoming one of the tools conservationists use to help manage endangered species populations.

The Global Status of Sharks

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” While he was talking about piracy and salvage in the Florida Keys, there is an ecological attractiveness in this statement that…

Kruger Park to Move 500 Rhinos to Save Species from Extermination

As the world’s largest rhino population plunges to tipping point under relentless pressure of poaching for the animal’s horn, the South African Government has directed that 500 of the charismatic mega-mammals be repositioned into places where they can be protected.

5 Countries Putting All Their Money on Species

Nations throughout Africa have The Big Five (the little five too), Australia has Koalas and Kangaroos, the United States has the Bald Eagle, and Canada has the noble Beaver. Every corner of the world has its species that help to define cultures, geographies, and national identity. However, these five nations have taken their pride in…

Ask Your Weird Animal Questions: Purple Frogs, Taming Zebras

Why aren’t zebras domesticated? How do fish sense danger? Get the answers in this week’s Ask Your Weird Animal Questions column.

On World Lion Day, Let’s Celebrate the Lions That Made Us Who We Are

August 10 is designated as World Lion Day, and as with other allocated “Days,” the origin of such an event is to celebrate something globally, and think about how the day, and how the individual or entity being celebrated, influences our lives. I can see a World Dhali Lama Day, or World Peace Day because it has real meaning to the way we live our lives, and our meditations on this affects the way we change course. So at first I wondered if lions actually deserve a day and whether we should really be contemplating the impact that lions have on our lives. (By Dereck Joubert)