Advertisements

Travel

Your best photos of the week, May 17, 2019

Susan Goldberg

I have a confession: I’m neither a photographer nor a photo editor. (For proof, check the @susanbgoldberg Instagram account.) In my five-and-a-half years as editor of National Geographic, I’ve looked at amazing photography every day. But I came up the “word side” of journalism as a reporter and editor, and I never quite forget that I’m a bit of an interloper in the purely visual storytelling world.

Given that checkered history, I’m delighted to serve as the first guest editor of the Photos of the Week, in honor of significant milestone for the Your Shot community: You’ve now submitted 10 million photos! That’s a tremendous contribution to our National Geographic storytelling acros

Read The Complete #NewsArticle Here at the Original Publishers Website

Advertisements

The volcano that built Bermuda is unlike any other on Earth

Robin George Andrews

No two volcanoes are the same, but they all form in the same handful of ways. All, it seems, except for the ancient volcano forming the foundations of the island of Bermuda.

After examining rocks from deep under the island, scientists discovered that this quiet volcano formed in a way that is, so far, completely unique. The work, reported this week in the journal Nature, not only solves a long-standing mystery about this beautiful isle in the Atlantic, it also describes a whole new way to make a volcano. (Explore the volcanoes that make up the Pacific Ring of Fire.)

To crack the case, the team examined a 2,600-foot-long pillar of rock that is the only core sample taken from Bermuda. Drilled from near an airport back in 1972, the core had been kept in storage at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia and was gathering dust. While the team suspected something unusual must be going on, a comprehensive geochemical assessment of the rock took them completely by surprise.

Earth 101

Earth is the only planet known to maintain life. Find out the origins of our home planet and some of the key ingredients that help make this blue speck in space a unique global ecosystem.

Read The Complete #NewsArticle Here at the Original Publishers Website

Chinese rover finds strange rocks that may come from deep inside the moon

Robin George Andrews

Kicking off the new year with a bang, China made history in early January by landing the first-ever spacecraft on the far side of the moon. Now, results from that mission suggest another bombshell: the first signs of lunar mantle material available for scientific study.

Yutu-2, the rover partner to the Chang’e-4 lander, used reflected radiation to analyze the minerals within its landing site inside the moon’s Von Kármán crater. In doing so, it spotted layers rich in two mineral types that aren’t a match for typical lunar crust. The study authors argue that it is likely these mineral patches represent upper mantle material, according to work appearing today in the journal Nature.

If confirmed, mantle rock from the moon would give researchers a game-changing look at our celestial companion’s inner workings, perhaps helping to solve long-standing mysteries about the moon’s formation and evolution. (Find out why geologists now think the moon may be more tectonically active than previously realized.)

“If this really is a bit of the mantle, then that is so cool,” says Sara Russell, a professor of planetary sciences at the Natural History Museum in London.

Moon 101

What is the moon made of, and how did it form? Learn about the moon’s violent origins, how its phases shaped the earliest calendars, and how humans first explored Earth’s only natural satellite half a century ago.

Read The Complete #News Article Here-Original Publisher

Suffering unseen: The dark truth behind wildlife tourism

Natasha Daly

This story appears in the
June 2019 issue of
National Geographic magazine.

I’ve come back to check on a baby. Just after dusk I’m in a car lumbering down a muddy road in the rain, past rows of shackled elephants, their trunks swaying. I was here five hours before, when the sun was high and hot and tourists were on elephants’ backs.

Walking now, I can barely see the path in the glow of my phone’s flashlight. When the wooden fence post of the stall stops me short, I point my light down and follow a current of rainwater across the concrete floor until it washes up against three large, gray feet. A fourth foot hovers above the surface, tethered tightly by a short chain and choked by a ring of metal spikes. When the elephant tires and puts her foot down, the spikes press deeper into her ankle.

Meena is four years and two months old, still a toddler as elephants go. Khammon Kongkhaw, her mahout, or caretaker, told me earlier that Meena wears the spiked chain because she tends to kick. Kongkhaw has been responsible for Meena here at Maetaman Elephant Adventure, near Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, since she was 11 months old. He said he keeps her on the spiked shackle only during the day and takes it off at night. But it’s night now.

I ask Jin Laoshen, the Maetaman staffer accompanying me on this nighttime visit, why her chain is still on. He says he doesn’t know.

Maetaman is one of many animal attractions in and around tourist-swarmed Chiang Mai. People spill out of tour buses and clamber onto the trunks of elephants that, at the prodding of their mahouts’ bullhooks (long poles with a sharp metal hook), hoist them in the air while cameras snap. Visitors thrust bananas toward elephants’ trunks. They watch as mahouts goad their elephants—some of the most intelligent animals on the planet—to throw darts or kick oversize soccer balls while music blares.

Meena is one of Maetaman’s 10 show elephants. To be precise, she’s a painter. Twice a day, in front of throngs of chattering tourists, Kongkhaw puts a paintbrush in the tip of her trunk and presses a steel nail to her face to direct her brushstrokes as she drags primary colors across paper. Often he guides her to paint a wild elephant in the savanna. Her paintings are then sold to tourists.

Meena’s life is set to follow the same trajectory as many of the roughly 3,800 captive elephants in Thailand and thousands more throughout Southeast Asia. She’ll perform in shows until she’s about 10. After that, she’ll become a riding elephant. Tourists will sit on a bench strapped to her back, and she’ll give several rides a day. When Meena is too old or sick to give rides—maybe at 55, maybe at 75—she’ll die. If she’s lucky, she’ll get a few years of retirement. She’ll spend most of her life on a chain in a stall.




View Images

Muzzled and chained, three performing bears face their trainer, Grant Ibragimov, after a rehearsal at the Bolshoi State St. Petersburg Circus, in Russia. To make bear cubs strong enough to walk on two legs, trainers may keep them in a standing position, tethered by their necks to the wall.




View Images

Gluay Hom, a four-year-old elephant trained to perform tricks for tourists, is chained to a pole in a stadium at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand. His swollen right foreleg hangs limp. At his temple is a bloody wound from lying on the floor.




View Images

Tourists on the Rio Negro in Brazil swarm an Amazon dolphin lunging for a baitfish dangled by the tour operator. Many of the numerous scratches on the dolphin’s skin are from brushes with other dolphins vying for bait. Hands-on wildlife encounters are popular in the region.

Wildlife attractions such as Maetaman lure people from around the world to be with animals like Meena, and they make up a lucrative segment of the booming global travel industry. Twice as many trips are being taken abroad as 15 years ago, a jump driven partly by Chinese tourists, who spend far more on international travel than any other nationality.

Wildlife tourism isn’t new, but social media is setting the industry ablaze, turning encounters with exotic animals into photo-driven bucket-list toppers. Activities once publicized mostly in guidebooks now are shared instantly with multitudes of people by selfie-taking backpackers, tour-bus travelers, and social media “influencers” through a tap on their phone screens. Nearly all millennials (23- to 38-year-olds) use social media while traveling. Their selfies—of swims with dolphins, encounters with tigers, rides on elephants, and more—are viral advertising for attractions that tout up-close experiences with animals.

For all the visibility social media provides, it doesn’t show what happens beyond the view of the camera lens. People who feel joy and exhilaration from getting close to wild animals usually are unaware that many of the animals at such attractions live a lot like Meena, or worse.

Photographer Kirsten Luce and I set out to look behind the curtain of the thriving wildlife tourism industry, to see how animals at various attractions—including some that emphasize their humane care of animals—are treated once the selfie-taking crowds have gone.

Inside the dark world of captive wildlife tourism

Cages, speed-breeding, fear-based training. Blatant animal abuse is hiding just below the surface of the wildlife tourism industry.

After leaving Maetaman, we take a five-minute car ride up a winding hill to a property announced by a wooden plaque as “Elephant EcoValley: where elephants are in good hands.” There are no elephant rides here. No paint shows or other performances. Visitors can stroll through an open-air museum and learn about Thailand’s national animal. They can make herbal treats for the elephants and paper from elephant dung. They can watch elephants in a grassy, tree-ringed field.

EcoValley’s guest book is filled with praise from Australians, Danes, Americans—tourists who often shun elephant camps such as Maetaman because the rides and shows make them uneasy. Here, they can see unc

Read The Complete #News Article Here-Original Publisher

How to take part in the Wildlife Tourism social campaign

Asset 5arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-uparticleAsset 31Asset 2Asset 7Asset 6Asset 7Asset 15Asset 16cartAsset 51cart-filledAsset 52checkAsset 50Asset 3chevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosedouble-caret-downdouble-chevron-downAsset 55double-chevron-upAsset 56email-newemail-filledAsset 14Asset 2fullscreen-closefullscreen-opengallerygallery-filledAsset 15GlobegridAsset 17grid-filledAsset 18headphones-newheadphones-filledAsset 19heart-filledheart-openinteractiveAsset 73linkAsset 48loadingAsset 45minusmutedAsset 29muted-filledAsset 30ng-borderAsset 8pauseAsset 40pause-filledAsset 39Asset 12Asset 13playAsset 33play-filledAsset 32plusNG_AD_Iconography_111317_JY_v2Asset 3replayAsset 11Asset 10Asset 4SearchIconshareAsset 34speakerAsset 27speaker-filledAsset 28star-filledstar-opentextAsset 43text-filledAsset 42tiltAsset 58Asset 8Asset 9Asset 4userAsset 53user-filledvideo-cameraAsset 35video-camera-filledAsset 36volumeAsset 25volume-filledAsset 26

Share this image below on social media using #NatGeoWildlifeTourism

National Geographic’s June cover story takes an in-depth look at the thriving global wildlife tourism industry and exposes how the industry takes advantage of people’s love of animals. You may have seen photos of travelers bathing elephants or snuggling with a tiger cub on social media. But in many cases, captive experiences with exotic animals rely on abusive training or treatment.

Help bring to light some of the hidden realities of the wildlife tourism industry by taking part in the social campaign. Share the image below on social media using #NatGeoWildlifeTourism and on.natgeo.com/wildlifetourism. Click the image to download.

Gluay Hom, a four-year-old elephant trained to perform tricks for tourists, is chained to a pole in a stadium at Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo near Bangkok, Thailand. His swollen right foreleg hangs limp. At his temple is a bloody wound from lying on the floor.

Read The Complete #News Article Here-Original Publisher

How you can help pangolins

Rachael Bale

Asset 5arrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-uparticleAsset 31Asset 2Asset 7Asset 6Asset 7Asset 15Asset 16cartAsset 51cart-filledAsset 52checkAsset 50Asset 3chevron-upchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upclosedouble-caret-downdouble-chevron-downAsset 55double-chevron-upAsset 56email-newemail-filledAsset 14Asset 2fullscreen-closefullscreen-opengallerygallery-filledAsset 15GlobegridAsset 17grid-filledAsset 18headphones-newheadphones-filledAsset 19heart-filledheart-openinteractiveAsset 73linkAsset 48loadingAsset 45minusmutedAsset 29muted-filledAsset 30ng-borderAsset 8pauseAsset 40pause-filledAsset 39Asset 12Asset 13playAsset 33play-filledAsset 32plusNG_AD_Iconography_111317_JY_v2Asset 3replayAsset 11Asset 10Asset 4SearchIconshareAsset 34speakerAsset 27speaker-filledAsset 28star-filledstar-opentextAsset 43text-filledAsset 42tiltAsset 58Asset 8Asset 9Asset 4userAsset 53user-filledvideo-cameraAsset 35video-camera-filledAsset 36volumeAsset 25volume-filledAsset 26

Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty/National Geographic

Read Caption

A Temminck’s ground pangolin searches for a meal of ants at a rehabilitation center in Zimbabwe.

Photograph by Brent Stirton, Getty/National Geographic

The most trafficked mammals in the world are heading toward extinction unless the illegal trade can be stopped.

Pangolins, the world’s only mammal with scales, are being trafficked by the ton. In the first eight days of April 2019 alone, authorities seized two 14-ton shipments of pangolin scales in Singapore, representing an estimated 72,000 animals and worth a combined $90 million. In February, Malaysian law enforcement seized a 33-ton shipment of mostly whole, frozen pangolins.

The scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine, for everything from alleviating arthritis to helping nursing mothers with lactation, and their meat is considered a delicacy by some in Asia. They’re also hunted for bushmeat in central and West Africa. While we don’t know exactly how many are left in the wild, it’s obvious that this level of hunting isn’t sustainable.

Sometimes called “pinecones with legs,” pangolins are very sensitive creatures and for the most part don’t do well in captivity. In the wild, they’re slow to reproduce and give birth to only one baby at a time. Pangolins are nocturnal, solitary, and shy—nearly impossible for even the most dedicated field researchers to get a glimpse of. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean you can’t help them. Here are some suggestions:

  • Raise awareness about pangolins by sharing the National Geographic pangolin story on social media. One of the biggest challenges facing pangolins is that so few people know what they are and why they’re in such peril. As National Geographic Photo Ark photographer Joel Sartore says, “You won’t save what you don’t love.”
  • Don’t eat pangolin meat, and don’t buy pangolin products.
  • Contribute to the new Pangolin Crisis Fund. A partnership between the nonprofits Wildlife Conservation Network, Save Pangolins, and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the fund will put 100 percent of every dollar raised directly toward pangolin conservation.
  • Help kids learn about pangolins and what makes them special. Half the profits from a new children’s book called “Pangy the Pangolin” go to benefit Save Pangolins.
  • Support Wildlife Watch, National Geographic’s investigative reporting project dedicated to shining a light on wildlife crime and exploitation. Wildlife Watch is a joint project between National Geographic Partners and National Geographic Society. You can contribute to this work here.

Wildlife Watch is an investigative reporting project between National Geographic Society and National Geographic Partners focusing on wildlife crime and exploitation. Read more
Wildlife Watch stories here, and learn more about National Geographic Society’s nonprofit mission at
nationalgeographic.org. Send tips, feedback, and story ideas to
ngwildlife@natgeo.com.

Read The Complete #News Article Here-Original Publisher

%d bloggers like this: