National Geographic: January 2009

National Geographic (01/09)LAST ONE: I really enjoyed this article. It made me truly aware of the extinction of some beautiful species by stating some simple, but terrifying numbers. Who knew there are only 300 wolverines remain in the US? Or that there are only 320 Mexican grey wolves left, with only 60 of them still in the wild? We all know about the endangered animals, but it becomes so real seeing the actual numbers, it feel like you’re waking up from a dream. Dusky seaside sparrows didn’t make it, and so did the pygmy rabbits (the last one died last year).  Today 4 species of fish, 4 of birds and 1 of clams are no longer listed in the endangered list, because they are extinct. Nobody wants to go the way of dodos.

1000 DAYS IN THE ICE: Those crazy explorers of 19th and early 20th century were so… well, CRAZY! Fridtjof Nansen of Norway was one of them no questions asked. He sailed up north to deliberately get stuck in the ice, so that his ship would be drifted towards the North Pole to prove his “Arctic is an ocean” theory. He sat on that ship for two years, until he decided to dash for his goal on sleds and dogs. He and his friend endured cold and starvation, hunted polar bears, killed their own dogs to survive, and ate porridge made of canine blood. They spent over a year alone in the ice desert until they were found by another explorer who helped them to finally get back home. Nansen became a national hero and lived happily ever after studying oceanography, resolving foreign conflicts and receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. A pretty good resume!

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