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Opinion: Hunters’ Demand for Elephant Trophies Should Not Take Precedence Over Government Accountability

Katarzyna Nowak

While positive steps have been taken by governments to protect elephants and their ecosystems, private hunting companies are working hard to undermine the potential gains.

Living Walls Turn Maasai Hunters into Lion Defenders (Video)

In a land where the lion truly is king, attitudes about traditional lion hunts are changing. Two Maasai people – one lion slayer and one lion savior – share the stories of their respective journeys. Species are disappearing at a rate that has scientists around the world calling this period the sixth mass extinction. Today,…

Climate Change Joins Lions and Livestock in an Unlikely Partnership

In the coming years, climate change will transform the world in ways that we have not predicted. The king of the big cats has already survived two major periods of change, but with humans quickly taking over valuable grassland habitat, will they be able to survive another? On the Maasai Steppe of Tanzania, lions have…

June 29, 2014: Refueling Satellites in Space, Sequencing the Koala Genome 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. This week, we walk in space to refuel a satellite, cure koalas of chlamydia, play soccer the Brazilian way, end elephant poaching in Tanzania, run out of air at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, pair scientists with adventurers, road trip through the American South, and “revisit the Golden Age of Exploration.”

Conservationists from Tanzania and Mexico Win 2014 National Geographic/Buffett Awards

Biologist Enriqueta Velarde, a researcher at the University of Veracruz’s Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries in Mexico, who has devoted 35 years to studying and conserving the seabirds of the Gulf of California’s Isla Rasa, is the 2014 winner of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in Latin American Conservation. Scientist and biologist Benezeth Mutayoba, professor at Tanzania’s Sokoine University of Agriculture and vice chairman of the Tanzania Elephant Protection Society, who highlights the plight of African elephants and the bushmeat crisis in Africa, is this year’s recipient of the National Geographic Society/Buffett Award for Leadership in African Conservation.

California’s Safari West Brings the Serengeti Experience Closer to Home

In East Africa, wildebeests are currently on the move, challenged by northern Tanzania’s long dry season, which begins around now (late May or early June). I too, am making my own trek of sorts. I’m in the process of relocating from southern California to the Pacific Northwest. I guess you could say that much like…

Changing Attitudes of Maasai Steppe Pastoralists Offer Hope to Lions

For the Maasai, the lion hunt is a celebration of bravery reflecting their reverence and respect for the big cat as a primary foe. However, their relationship with the lion has become increasingly turbulent as the pastoralists confront an ever more populated landscape where conflicts between people and wildlife are on the rise. Warriors often put down their spears, replacing them with poison and guns. With lion populations plummeting across many parts of the continent, one spot on Tanzania’s Maasai Steppe shows refreshing signs of a recovering lion population and a Maasai community in a locally-motivated transition. Deirdre Leowinata reports.

Build a Boma, Protect a Cow, Save a Lion

Good fences make good neighbors, the saying goes, and this is particularly true in rural Africa, where herders face daily challenges to protect livestock from lions and other predators. Build a Boma is a fundraising campaign by the National Geographic Society’s Big Cat Initiative that helps build the sturdy enclosures to protect cattle and goats from nocturnal raiders. By building traditional enclosures known as bomas, predators and domestic animals are kept apart, saving lions and other marauders from being killed by people anxious to protect their livestock. It’s an African solution funded in part by small donations from people of goodwill across the world, people in countries where sleeping safely at night has been taken for granted. Build a Boma is a win-win for people and wildlife.

Controversy Swirls Around the Recent U.S. Suspension of Sport-Hunted Elephant Trophies

Battle lines are being drawn after the United States Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) announcement last month to suspend import of elephant trophies from Tanzania and Zimbabwe for the remainder of 2014. The decision was spurred by the catastrophic poaching of Africa’s elephants and the fact that in these two countries, according to FWS, “additional…

Africa’s Illegal Charcoal Trade Engulfs Cheetah Habitat

In rural northern Tanzania, an African country famous for charismatic megafauna, including free-roaming cheetah and other big cats, impoverished and under-employed Swahili villagers struggle to survive. One way to earn money and make cooking fuel is to cut forests for wood that can be turned into charcoal. It’s an economic and environmental disaster, illegal because it is not sustainable for either wildlife or people. Meet the team that is looking for new ways to create livelihoods while teaching villagers the importance of protecting their natural wealth.

‘Our Ancestors Led Their People Beyond Their Farthest Horizons’: The Maasai Tribe of East Africa

In September 2013, Tanzania’s President scrapped a plan to take 1,500 square miles from the Maasai tribe in Loliondo district, northern Tanzania,  in the name of conservation. The area will instead remain with the Maasai, who the President said has taken ‘good care of the area’ since ‘time immemorial’. Renowned photographers Carol Beckwith and Angela…

Message From a 50-Year-Old Flamingo

On Wednesday 13th February 2013, a British tourist, Nick Armour, recovered a dead flamingo bearing a metal ring near Lake Bogoria (Kenya). This lesser flamingo (Hoenicopterus minor) was described as looking very old and the ring number confirmed an age of 50 years! This flamingo was a messenger from the past, the product of a…

October 20, 2013: Paddling and Kite Surfing East Africa, Reenacting Civil War Battles and More

This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we paddle board and kite surf in East Africa before meeting disaster, reenact the Civil War’s second bloodiest battle, motorcycle through the Middle East while searching for enlightenment, and combine rock & roll with genetics while trying to save humanity from infectious disease.

Destroying Elephant Ivory Stockpiles: No Easy Matter

When the Philippines destroyed its five-ton stockpile of seized elephant tusks on June 21, it marked not only the first time an ivory-consuming nation took such a public action but also the first time a country took key steps to guarantee that it could not re-enter the black market.

Guests Across The Globe: Six Months of 2013 NG Weekend Interviews

We’re halfway through the year and what better way to map our progress than to, well, map the many guests we’ve had on National Geographic Weekend since the ball dropped back in January?