Moon Bears in Laos

MOON BEAR RESCUE Moon bears are being killed in Laos for use in Chinese & Vietnamese medicinal tonics & may soon be wiped out. I visited a Free the Bears rescue center in Laos that’s trying to stop the poaching. Betty & I helped feed the bears & watched them get excited about being spritzed with bear perfume.  We also met Champa, a bear who is the 1st ever recipient of a brain surgery in Laos.

Northern Lights Over Norway

El Sol, not satisfied with just doing his day job of bringing sunshine into our lives also adds light to our nights with colorful auroras over the northern and southern latitudes. This year the solar charged show is especially dramatic. Here are some picturess I took of the aurora borealis over Norway on New Year’s Day.

Antarctic Thanksgiving Bird

Thanksgiving in the USA, a time to talk turkey, but in Antarctica it’s the time to talk penguins which we do this weekend on my radio show National Geographic Weekend. We also talk about camping for five days while hanging off the side of a cliff on the frozen continent. Here’s some video of the penguins doing their thing backed by a little music from my friends, “Open Hands”

Elephant Snack

An African elephant can make quick work of a tree and this one did while I was filming at South Africa’s Royal Malewane Game Reserve.  This week when I heard the new poaching numbers that 22,000 elephants were killed last year & 25,000 the year before I thought of this encounter and how special it is to spend a day hanging out with these amazing creatures, but I also worried that this experience may be nearly impossible to enjoy in a few years if something isn’t done soon to stop the poaching.  I talk about the rise in poaching this weekend on my radio show, National Geographic Weekend.

World’s Biggest Snake

Awkward family pet photos, I was surprised to find a photo of myself on this website. But I must admit the picture was strange enough to qualify even if the snake wasn’t my pet. I tell the story of me & the world’s largest snake, and how “Fluffy” came to be slithering across my body this week on my radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.” The story & the snake are in this video.

Antarctica’s Thanksgiving Bird

Thanksgiving in the USA, a time to talk turkey, but in Antarctica it’s the time to talk penguins which we do this weekend on my radio show National Geographic Weekend. We also talk about camping for five days while hanging off the side of a cliff on the frozen continent. Here’s some video of the penguins doing their thing backed by a little music from my friends, “Open Hands”

Elephant Wrestlemania

We had a ringside seat for what I call “Elephant Wrestlemania” at Royal Malewane Game reserve in South Africa. It was an incredible day of elephant entertainment and play fighting. Here are some video highlights.

World’s Best Polar Bear viewing

Polar bear tours in Churchill, Canada, a fall alternative to the usual trips of going someplace to watch the leaves change colors. On National Geographic Weekend I tell the story of my Halloween with polar bears & the story of the world’s foremost expert in polar bear posteriors.

Elephant Killed for TV Show

I’ve been on a rant for a few days against an NRA show that thinks killing an elephant for fun is good TV.  The host of the show, an NRA lobbyist, is on a big game hunt for elephants in Botswana, Africa.  The guide leads the host, Tony Makris, to a spot near where a bull elephant is calmly grazing, unaware of their presence.  Some scrub bushes separate the hunter from the elephant’s line of sight.

Makris then shoots the elephant in the head three times, killing it.  Later he and the guide are shown drinking a toast to their great day of elephant killing, and saying how great it is to harvest one of these big glorious creatures and bring back the ivory.  The whole thing made me disgusted and angry so I finally decided to record some of my thoughts on why I found this whole program and Makris and his posturing so offensive.

I’ve also included some of the alarming facts on the rise in elephant poaching, which makes the killing of one for fun and a TV show even more reprehensible.  And not that anyone needs reminding of just how charismatic and special elephants are, wait I take that back since apparently Makris and his ilk do, but I’ve also included some footage I shot of elephants at Singita Lebombo Lodge in South Africa.

I also talk about this senseless and sickening killing of an elephant this weekend on my radio show, “National Geographic Weekend.”

Graveyard Bingo

Shakespeare wrote, “I’ve come to bury Cesear not to praise him”, but there are tens of thousands of people every year who do just the opposite.  Long after the body has been buried, they show up at the graves of various celebrities to pay tribute and by their presence, in effect, praise the life of the departed.

Most of these pilgrimages to the grave sites of famous people are conducted by folks who’ve never bothered to visit the graves of their own relatives after the funeral.  And yet if they are in, say, Seattle then Jimi Hendrix fans will make an effort to locate the cemetery where he’s buried and drop by to see grave, and maybe leave some flowers or take a picture.

I was reminded of this second career as a tourist attraction that death provides for some celebrities when I recently visited the famous Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where numerous famous people are buried, such as Oscar Wilde, Marcel Marceau, & Chopin.  In fact there are so many well known persons buried there, that you need a map to help you find them all.  Those maps are for sale, so  we bought one and played a kind of celebrity bingo trying to find all the celebrity tombstones.

It got me wondering which celebrity graves worldwide are the most visited, and also left me with questions about why we have such a strange fascination with going to the grave sites of people we’ve never met, and often people we never even saw in person, and sometimes people who were dead before we were even born.