Category Archives: National Geographic

Shark Fishers Try to Reel in Cash, Turn to Conservation

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Israel Ritchie, known as Tolon, is a 37-year-old shark fisher from López Mateos, Mexico. His family has hunted sharks off the Pacific side of the Baja California peninsula for generations, selling the meat these days for around U.S. 70 cents a kilogram (2.2 pounds) and the shark fins for 50 to 100 U.S. dollars a kilogram.

But relying on shark for an income puts Tolon in a precarious place.

“Our situation is drastic,” Tolon said. “The shark population has fallen sharply in the last ten years. Now I must travel farther offshore to find them.”

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Mexico’s Poor Seek Relief From Tortilla Shortage

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Part six of a special series that explores the local faces of the world’s worst food crisis in decades.

During a protest in México City in January 2008, 28-year-old secretary Anibel Ordonez was one of many chanting “Tortillas si, Pan no!” while waving some of the flat corn disks in the air.

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Wine Boom Threatens Native Argentine Water Source

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Agronomist Esteban Jobbagy takes a water sample from the Rio Mendoza, Argentina.

The underground water table in central Argentina’s Monte Desert is falling, leaving the fate of the centuries-old indigenous Huarpes culture hanging in the balance.

Demand for high-quality and still relatively inexpensive Argentine wine, combined with an abundance of land to grow grapes, has become a problem for the desert-dwelling Huarpes.

Vineyard owners are diverting increasing amounts of water from a network of channels and streams originally crafted for irrigation centuries ago by several of Argentina’s indigenous groups.

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Aw Shucks? State Recycles Oyster Shells to Boost Births

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North Carolina restaurants can now toss oyster shells into the recycling bin rather than the trash can.

Following a three-year pilot project, the state is funding a long-term effort to create new reefs from recycled oyster shells.

Lawmakers hope the initiative will regenerate North Carolina’s coastal oyster population and, in turn, stabilize the state’s fishery. The state has classified oyster reefs as “essential marine habitat.”

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Jungle Highway Plan Spurs Security, Eco Fears in Panama

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A boatman on Rio Tuira, Darien, Panama

It is a unique piece of biodiversity, a 60-mile-wide (100-kilometer- wide) emerald wilderness bordered by two oceans. It is the Darién Gap of Panama (see pictures), a landmass linking North and South America and straddling the Panama-Colombia border.

The Darién got its name because it is the only gap in the 16,000-mile (26,000-kilometer) Pan-American Highway, which stretches from Alaska to Patagonia.

But Colombia’s President, Alvaro Uribe, says he wants that gap closed and has requested that Panama pave a road through the Darién to complete the Pan-American Highway.

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Inside Voodoo: African Cult of Twins Marks Voodoo New Year

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View a photo gallery by Chris Rainier here.

Reporter Lorne Matalon’s African assignment was part of the National Geographic Society’s ongoing Ethnosphere Project, a five-year series of expeditions to study cultural diversity. Watch for related coverage on the National Geographic Channel, and tune in to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition this week for related broadcasts on Radio Expeditions on National Public Radio (NPR).

A 38-year-old subsistence farmer, Koffi Ameko lives with his wife and four children along the Mono River in Benin, West Africa. Together with the 20 families of his small village, Ameko shares a genetic predisposition to produce twins and a fervent belief in their special place in the vodun, or voodoo, religion.

Like other indigenous peoples in this part of West Africa, Ameko, a devout follower of voodoo, believes twins are living deities that symbolize fertility. He worships them as a member of what is known as the Cult of the Twins.

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