Posts in Wildlife Conservation
Lions are Coming Back to Southern Malawi, Where they Haven't Been Seen in Decades

This article appeared on Smithsonianmag.com on August 23, 2018. To read the article on Smithsonian Magazine's website, click here. For the first time in decades, breeding lions can be seen in Malawi’s Liwonde National Park. On Wednesday, the park’s resident conservationists opened the gates of Liwonde’s temporary enclosures— where nine lions spent the last few weeks acclimating—sending them into new lives in the park.

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South Africa: A Conservation Thrill

The helicopter vibrates wildly as I scan South Africa’s Phinda Private Game Reserve for elephants. I spot a bull dashing through a cluster of trees, but when I alert the pilot and conservationist sitting in front of me, they tell me he’s not one of the elephants we’re looking for. We’re trying to locate a herd, and one female in particular; the battery in her radio collar is about to run out, so the conservationists need to replace it as soon as possible.

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Inside the high-tech, last-ditch effort to save the northern white rhino

Thomas Hildebrandt first saw the inside of an elephant in 1990. With the mammoth carcass laid across his lab bench at the ­Leibniz Institute in Berlin, where the German veterinary student was working that summer, he pondered his thesis on using human-fertility techniques to save endangered wildlife. Hildebrandt, then 27, was taken aback by the mammal’s bizarre reproductive tract. The passage was 10 feet long and concealed by a folded vaginal opening as narrow as a sunflower seed.

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Can Storytelling Save Wildlife?

People have been telling stories since before Homo sapiens mastered language, and, whether we realize it or not, we hear and tell stories every day. Stories come in a variety of shapes and sizes but are bound by their ability to help us understand the world and our place in it. Since they deliver emotional impacts, stories have the power to cause people to change their minds.

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Autumn Foraging in the U.K.

Our ancestors foraged nearly all of their food, but hunting and gathering fell by the wayside with agricultural revolutions. Yet in the last decade, foraging has made a comeback. It initially seemed like a passing foodie trend led by Copenhagen's Noma, but a steady rise in foraging experts and courses in the UK tells a different story.

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Great apes in Asian circus-style shows on rise — so is trafficking

After 146 years of operation, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is closing its circus, citing dwindling ticket sales. That decline in business reflects a growing sentiment among Americans that circus-style shows involve inappropriate, if not inhumane, treatment of animals, says Julia Gallucci, a primatologist who works with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

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Conservationists get their talons out for Japan's owl cafes

Several owl species sit tied to a makeshift wooden perch as a TV plays a loud, animated owl-themed film behind them in the dimly lit room. This is Tokyo’s Forest of Owl cafe, filled with locals and snap-happy tourists even on a weekday morning, and as the countdown to 2017 begins, its resident owls will be petted and photographed by more Japanese customers than usual as people seek good fortune for the New Year.

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Conservation Stories From Around the Globe

I directed and produced this short video featuring my Cambridge master's in conservation leadership classmates sharing what drew them to conservation, what conservation means to them, and where they think our planet will be 50 years from now. This piece dovetails with a series I developed several years ago, Conservation Calling, whose teaser lives here.

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Wildlife Conservationmillie
Tracking the Traffickers

Wildlife crime is putting thousands of species at risk of extinction to feed a growing human demand for food, pets, medicine, and status symbols. Led by international crime syndicates that move animals and products through black markets, illegal trafficking is an industry that’s worth up to $150 billion each year.

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Safari Camps Where Animals Are So Close You Can Touch Them

“Sit here,” Chaba says. “And stay still. Imagine you’re a termite mound.”

The sun is just beginning to light up the eerily white Makgadikgadi salt flats when I make like a mound. It’s quiet—deafeningly so—until I hear a series of squeaks coming from behind me. The meerkats are awake and slowly emerging from their underground den. Suddenly, a self-appointed sentinel looks up at me with tiny spectacled eyes before climbing up my body—all the way to the top of my head, where he stands guard.

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Lion Facial Recognition Debuts in Africa

Even the king of the jungle can't escape getting his picture taken these days. In June the Kenya-based Lion Guardians launched the Lion Identification Network of Collaborators (LINC). The database of lion profiles was built with the first facial-recognition software specifically designed to analyze the mugs of these big cats and distinguish them from one another. With LINC, the conservation organization and other wildlife researchers will have an easier way to monitor the beasts' whereabouts.

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The SeaQualizer Gives Doomed Fish a Fighting Chance

It's got to be one of the worst ways to go: pulled to the surface against your will, changes in pressure attacking your body, only to be tossed away, no relief in site.

Fish inadvertently caught by sport and commercial fishers are known as “bycatch” and billions of them die every year. The ones affected by shifting pressure experience barotrauma and often due senseless deaths, but a new device wants to give them a fighting chance.

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Beast Friends: Animal Figurines Worth Collecting

To an outside observer, it must have looked strange when I decided to go to wild Namibia in the summer of 2009. I’d spent the previous two years as an unhappy securities lawyer in London, so with the financial recession roiling markets and my firm announcing a coming round of layoffs, I figured it was a good time for a career change. And when I heard about a three-week volunteering program at the Harnas Wildlife Foundation, I knew I had to go.

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Protection Money

In 1872 Ulysses Grant, America's 18th president, proposed Yellowstone, the world's first national park, for "the benefit and enjoyment of the people". A century later, protected areas were arising purely out of environmental concerns. These days, 193 countries together host 209,000 protected areas, spanning 15.4% of the terrestrial realm and 3.4% of the world's oceans. But to set aside an area is not, by itself, to protect it. That requires resources that include funding—and the funding is increasingly coming from unexpected quarters.

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Bracken Cave: Home to the World's Largest Bat Colony

As many as twenty million Mexican free-tailed bats spend their summer months in Bracken Cave, Texas, making it home to the largest congregation of warm-blooded animals in the world. Join me as I capture the unforgettable sight of these bats emerging at dusk to feed and spend time with leading bat expert and photographer, Merlin Tuttle, to discuss the threats facing these often misunderstood mammals.

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Zero-Sum Wild Game

"TIGERS and human beings cannot occupy the same space," says Prashanth Kumar Sen, former director of Project Tiger. Human-wildlife conflict arises whenever people and predators share terrain. It is acute in India, where large carnivores like tigers and leopards coexist with dense human populations. Although only 5% of Indian land is classified as protected, India's population of 1.24 billion means that 5m people dwell inside the country’s natural havens. 

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Slow Demise

DEMAND for wildlife parts is pushing many species to the brink of extinction. In China, where a rising middle class flaunts wealth by displaying ivory at home, traders call elephant tusks "white gold". But elephants, tigers, rhinos and other "charismatic megafauna" are not the only animals in trouble.

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