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April 13, 2014: Cutting Cake with Jane Goodall, Saving Sparrows with Photography 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 - Dr. Jane Goodall pioneered studies that sought to understand…

5 Animals With Spectacular Sniffers

Dogs aren’t the only creatures with outstanding sniffers: Fruit flies, honeybees, and even rats can detect disease in people.

Eradication Success Rapidly Confirmed

Completely eradicating pests from an island is a major conservation achievement, such as the recently announced eradication of goats from 15,380 ha Aldabra atoll. However, reliably confirming the absence of a species is difficult, bringing to mind the famous mantra ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’. So how do eradication managers finally confirm…

Geography in the News: The Black Plague

Black Plague Gravesites Uncovered Excavations in the spring of 2013 for London’s Crossrail, a large railway project under constructions in the city, uncovered a series of graves from the 14th century thought to be people who died of the Black plague. This terrible disease ravaged the cities of Europe during this periodic killing an estimated…

Saving Birds from Extinction in the Mascarene Archipelago

This week I have returned to Reunion Island in the Mascarene archipelago (Western Indian Ocean) for a regional conference on landscape rat control to save birds at imminent risk of extinction. I haven’t been back to Reunion since I left nearly five years ago after working for a year on island conservation in the Mozambique…

How Do Blind Mole Rats Avoid Cancer?

Studying the rodents’ remarkable cancer resistance may lead to new treatments for people.

South Georgia’s Rats To Face Unprecedented Airborne Assault

For urbanites, rats are an often unavoidable by-product of city living. Though well-known as disease vectors, they’re probably more cringe-worthy than genuinely threatening to most human inhabitants. But on South Georgia island, rats are an invasive species, introduced more than two centuries ago by sealing boats. And now, their population estimated in the millions, they’re…

Hurricane Leaves Thousands of Dead Rats on Mississippi Beaches

Houses and buildings weren’t the only things damaged by last month’s hurricane. One of the Gulf Coast’s most notorious invasive species got slammed by Isaac. Almost 20,000 nutria, or copyu, were drowned and washed up on the Mississippi coast following the storm.

Mike Fay’s Pitcairn Journal: Rat Patrol

After unexpectedly sighting a rat on an island everyone hoped was free of them, NG Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay goes on the hunt to get a better sense of how many rodents may be there.

Mike Fay’s Pitcairn Journal: Tragic Sighting

In the early evening of March 27, NG Explorer-in-Residence Mike Fay made an unfortunate discovery on the remote Henderson Island. Read his account of the day.

Hunting Records Track UK Game Populations Over Centuries

Gamebag records have been recognized as useful population indicators by British biologists for over a century. Analyzing bag records and taking five- and ten-year averages provide comparisons of performance between moors, the ability to assess the implementation of management practices, such as heather burning (muirburn), and a window on the cyclical pattern of grouse diseases like strongyle worm.

Rats drinking Jell-O shots show risky behavior

By James G. Robertson, National Geographic Digital Media New research by the University of Washington gives new meaning to the term, “party animal.” Almost a week after announcing successful gene therapy treatments for color blindness in monkeys, University of Washington researchers are now announcing that rats given alcohol during adolescence are more prone to risk-taking…

Rat Island Is Rat-Free, But Did Eagles Die in the Process?

Biologists have found no sign of the invasive Norway rats that have decimated native bird populations for more than 200 years on Alaska’s remote Rat Island, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service reports. The scientists came to this conclusion after searching intensively for rats for more than two weeks, FWS said in a statement. Rat…