National geographic usa 2014 03
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Transcripts - National geographic usa 2014 03
New Zealand’s Jade Country
in Native American Culture
Sushi’s Prized Fish
NGM.COM MARCH 2014
You just pass through,
unaware that you’re now lost
to the rest of the universe.
It’s a good deal for
both parties: The bat,
a Cuban species, gets
nectar; pollen from
the blue mahoe tree’s
ﬂower sticks to the
fur and will be spread
when the bat departs.
MERLIN D. TUTTLE
Do you really know what a black hole is?
Let us take you into—and out of—the dark.
By Michael Finkel Art by Mark A. Garlick
People of the Horse
The feelings of Native Americans for their historic
companions are simple: “It’s true love, that’s it.”
By David Quammen Photographs by Erika Larsen
Call of the Bloom
Bats don’t just look for ﬂowers. Flowers reﬂect
bat sounds to catch the winged mammals’ ears.
By Susan McGrath Photographs by Merlin D. Tuttle
Damascus:Will the Walls Fall?
The city’s culture offers hope for saving Syria.
By Anne Barnard Photographs by Andrea Bruce
Documenting the struggles of Syria’s displaced.
By Carolyn Butler Photographs by Lynsey Addario
Where Greenstone Grows
Jade is king in New Zealand’s rugged southwest.
By Kennedy Warne Photographs by Michael Melford
It is the king of ﬁsh. It helped build civilizations.
It is superfast. And it is perilously overﬁshed.
By Kenneth Brower Photographs by Brian Skerry
On the Cover In this illustration, as in space itself, a black hole is revealed
by the power of its pull on nearby stars and other celestial matter.
Art by Mark A. Garlick
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Bats ﬂy in for a ﬂoral treat.
Explore the traits that
make the tuna a super ﬁsh.
Black holes can’t be seen.
Watch how they’re found.
National Geographic is
available on the iPad, the
Kindle Fire, and the iPhone.
Wiring the World
There are 340 trillion trillion trillion new
IP addresses to bring more folks online.
On Thin Backyard Ice
A project asks people to report
if their home rink is melting.
Flying Up From Rio
Brazilians ﬂock to the U.S. to shop.
Stick a Needle in It
Most U.S. kids get necessary vaccina-
tions. Yet many adults are unprotected.
Spit and Potatoes
These are two of the unlikely
tools used in art restoration.
An ice wall might contain the Japanese
power plant’s radioactive leaks.
PHOTO: ERIKA LARSEN
A Heritage of Horses
I grew up in Central Point, Oregon. From my house
I could see Upper Table Rock, a plateau once occu-
pied by the Rogue River Indians. As a kid I’d heard
stories about a vicious raid by a white mob and
how the Indians leaped from the rock rather than
be captured. It was part of the mythology of the
landscape, though I’ve never been able to verify it.
What is true is that my father, who was a social
studies teacher, made sure I understood Native
American history in the most positive way. He
wanted me to look beyond myths to the truths of
their culture. Among Native American accomplish-
ments and skills, he told me, were their adoption
of the horse and their deep, almost mystical,
connection to that animal.
I later saw those skills for myself as a Seattle
newspaper photographer. I was shooting the
Omak Stampede Suicide Race—the same event
David Quammen writes about this month in
“People of the Horse.”
It’s a story full of soul, as Erika Larsen’s
photographs show. Horses, Quammen explains,
transformed Native American culture. More
than just a symbol of wealth and pride, the horse
embodied values including discipline, concern
for other creatures, and continuity of knowledge
Randy “Leo” Teton—here with his horse Geronimo—is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
national geographic March
The greatest storm chaser, Tim Samaras
devoted his life to unlocking the
mysteries of extreme weather.
Then came the tornado of May 31.
THE MONSTER STORM
“Did we really need
36 pages on an
“Without a doubt they died
too soon, but they died
doing what they loved.
Their passion and
expertise are an
example for us all.”
description of how
ferocious that storm was
had adrenaline rushing
through my body as if I
were right there in
“Irresponsible, glory- and
subject matter worthy of
“I mean, yeah,
tornadoes are an
but is there
“Your coverage of the
El Reno tornado was
absolutely incredible, and
I applaud your team for it.”
comments to firstname.lastname@example.org; for subscription help, email@example.com. TWITTER @NatGeoMag
WRITE National Geographic Magazine, PO Box 98199, Washington, DC 20090-8199. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
The Last Chase
FEEDBACK Readers responded to
our story about Tim Samaras’s final
NOVEMBER 2013, “THE LAST CHASE” Tim
Samaras had seen two F4 tornadoes,
not one, as stated on page 50.
I couldn’t stop reading
about the freakish gargan-
tuan tornado overtaking the
doomed scientists and other
victims. It held a fascinating,
horrifying, and melancholy
power that lingered. I hope Tim
Samaras’s goal of getting better
tornado data can be achieved
without further loss of life.
Fort Collins, Colorado
Since I lived through the Waco,
Texas, tornado in 1953, when
114 were killed, a severe weather
alert gets my full attention.
I have friends who say they
sleep right through a storm—
understandably, I cannot.
Maybe articles as detailed and
vivid as this will save lives.
I'm blown away. The iPad is the
only way to convey this power-
ful story. It’s like reading in 3-D.
HUGH C. DAMON
Robert Draper’s story left
me with a sick regret over
the useless sacriﬁce of the
lives of Tim Samaras and his
son. Just for some additional
data on tornadoes? There is
no romantic stoicism here. My
sympathy is with the innocent
victims of such storms who try
to seek refuge, not with those
who recklessly tempt death.
Rome, New York
Your story reﬂected his deep
respect for nature and his lack
of concern about the dangers
underlying his data collection.
His passion was evident, as was
the unrelenting and unpredict-
able power of the peril he was
attempting to understand.
GEORGE W. SUNDIN
When I saw the photo of Tim Samaras on the cover of the No-
vember issue, I thought that Samaras was running away from the
tornado in the background. But after reading the article and see-
ing the entire photo inside the pages, I quickly realized he wasn’t
running from anything—he was telling somebody in his crew to
get the equipment in place fast, so they could get the critical
tornado information. May he rest in peace, and may we all pass
doing what we love, as Tim Samaras did. Godspeed, Tim.
GRAPHIC: ÁLVARO VALIÑO
national geographic march
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
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national geographic March
ART: ISTVAN BANYAI. PHOTO: NEIL GELINAS
Every year my team delves deeper
into the Okavango Delta—a 10,000-
square-mile fan of channels, ﬂood-
plains, lagoons, and islands. Within
its maze there are more than 2,000
lions, plus leopards, hippos, croco-
diles, and nearly 80,000 elephants.
The local Bayei people are descen-
dants of hippo hunters, so they have
taught us to respect that animal’s
natural rhythms. When we pole into
the delta, we wait until nine to set
out. That’s when the hippos come off
the islands and go into deeper water.
They return again around ﬁve. We’re
off the water before they get back.
Before we had the help of the
Bayei, we had a steeper learning
curve. One morning my brother and
I heard lions calling from behind
camp. They seemed to be on an
island to the far right of us. We were
barefoot and having our morning
coffee but wanted a closer look.
Soon we were hundreds of feet from
camp in our underpants. We didn’t
have a spear.
Suddenly a pair of lions popped
up. The lioness stilled and stared us
down. I knew that we had to give her
a reason for us to be there that didn’t
involve her. We didn’t want her to per-
ceive us as a threat. My eyes latched
on to an extremely large piece of
elephant dung. I took a few steps to-
ward her, trying to move purposefully,
and picked up the dung. I ﬁxed all my
attention on it to indicate that this
was a very special piece of elephant
dung—a very good reason for being
Somehow it worked. The lioness
let me walk back to camp with my
prize. We kept that piece of dung
in camp for the rest of the season
to remind us about consequences.
Now we aren’t so reckless.
*Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution. ©2012 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A.,Inc. toyota.com/priusfamily
national geographic march
Some 300 people a
month trudge up the
sandy slopes of desert
dunes near Swakop-
mund for the novelty
of “sandboarding.” Fans
say sand is a bit slower
than snow—but much
softer if you fall.
PHOTO: THOMAS DRESSLER
Plummeting from a 95-foot
precipice would unnerve
most mortals, but “in that
moment, everything is
calm,” said Colombian
diver Orlando Duque
during the 2012 Red
Bull Cliff Diving World
Series. The nine-
time world champion
PHOTO: DEAN TREML,
O Order prints of select National Geographic photos online at NationalGeographicArt.com.
Joining hands in a heads-
ﬁrst free fall to form a
human snowﬂake, 138
skydivers set a world
record at Skydive
Chicago in August
2012. The upside-down
photographer bit a
switch in his mouth to
trigger a helmet camera.
PHOTO: BRIAN BUCKLAND
VISIONS | YOUR SHOT
national geographic march
This section features photographs chosen by our editors and one chosen by our
readers via online voting. For more information, go to yourshot.nationalgeographic.com.
Under a pile of avalanche
snow in the Cascade Range,
Inaba found a tunnel that
had been carved by summer
runoff and wind. While he
prepared his shot, he says,
“water rained intensely
from the ceiling.”
EDITORS’ CHOICE Chris Matthew Brady San Diego, California
As he drove near a wildﬁre in Borrego Springs, California, Brady stopped at one of several
dinosaur sculptures in the area. He set his tripod to take some long exposures—80 in all.
To light the eye of the dinosaur, he mounted a laser pointer on another tripod nearby.
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VISIONS | YOUR SHOT
Vedrana Tafra Split, Croatia
To photograph wild horses in the Krug Mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tafra went with
a guide who knew the area. They slowly approached a group of horses at a watering hole and
also this pair on a hill.
Queens, New York
Lesica stopped on
New York’s Williams-
burg Bridge to point his
camera into a viewing
box containing several
pieces of multicolored
glass. He captured
part of the Manhattan
skyline, including the
Empire State Building.
Your Shot puts you behind
the camera and out in the
field. This past November,
the Lexus GX sponsored
a three-week assignment,
and adventures were had!
We received nearly 9,000
submissions from around
assignment was curated
by National Geographic
John Burcham. He and
National Geographic editors
then wove the finalists into
a story, which you can see
at ngm.com/yourshot. Here
are some of their top picks.
“Being spontaneous can
feel a little unnerving, but
once you do it, you won’t be
disappointed. Be prepared,
though—you don’t want to
miss the shot because you
forgot your favorite lens.”
VISIONS | YOUR SHOT
Karl Ander Adami Tallinn, Estonia
While Adami was visiting his grandmother in western Estonia, he we
where he collected mushrooms, leaves, and berries. Then he arrange
ﬂoor to take a portrait of fall.
nt for a walk in a forest,
ed them on a wooden
Hung Tran The
Tran The, an occasional
captured this midair
twist at a diving com-
petition in Hanoi. This
particular athlete won
a gold medal.
national geographic march
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Wiring theWorld When you can
hop online and order coconut oil direct from Fiji, you might
conclude that the Internet knows no bounds. But much of the
world remains beyond the reach of an Internet Protocol (IP)
address—the unique code assigned to each Internet access
point. This is one reason that only around a third of the
global population was using the Internet at the end of 2011.
IP addresses proliferate as economies grow, so expect a
surge in Asia in coming years, says Eduardo Cruz of IPligence,
which tracks Internet use by country. One address can serve
as a gateway for millions of mobile devices, belying rumors
that we might exhaust IP space, he says. Besides, the new
version of the IP system accommodates 340 trillion trillion
trillion addresses, “enough for an eternity, or maybe
even two.” —John Briley
0 1 2 3 4
IP addresses and population (2013)
By continent, in billions
IP addresses Population
Pretoria, South Africa
IP addresses per
populated place, as
of November 2013
Location on each continent
with largest concentration
of IP addresses in italics
More than 10,000
JASON TREAT, LAUREN E. JAMES, NGM STAFF; JONATHAN K. NELSON
SOURCES: IPLIGENCE; POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU
PHOTO: ERIKA LARSEN. ART: MARC JOHNS
SkateWatchers Lately outdoor ice-skating rinks
are melting faster than the winter cold is lasting—making them a prime
indicator of climate change. That’s the idea behind RinkWatch, a citizen
science website created by Haydn Lawrence, Robert McLeman, and
Colin Robertson of Canada’s Wilfrid Laurier University.
The project allows users of the home ice rinks popular in colder
climes to log the skateability of their backyard ice. According to recent
reports, fewer rinks are maintaining optimum skating temperatures
throughout the winter. With a cultural staple on the line, RinkWatch
has caught on in Canada and the northern United States. “If you
took outdoor skating from us, it would be like taking cowboy hats from
Texans or the Red Sox from Bostonians,” says McLeman. “Life would
go on, but there would be something missing.” —Rosemary Hammack
Foreign Exchange Visiting Brazilians spend about nine billion
dollars a year in the U.S. on everything from iPhones to baby gear. Prices are
high in Brazil, and “even with plane tickets and hotels it can still be cheaper
to shop in the States,” says the U.S. Embassy’s Dean Cheves. To encourage
tourism, the U.S. has sped up visa processing for Brazilians from 120 days
to two days; roughly 5,000 Brazilians apply daily. To cope with the extra
baggage, airlines take on additional fuel for return trips. —Daniel Stone
Preparations for this
home rink in Ramsey,
Minnesota, start in
October. “Our family
uses it almost every day,”
says owner Aaron Davis.
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19501940193019201914 1960 1970 1980 1990 2010 20142000
Too new for
Data not available
GRAPHIC: LAWSON PARKER, NGM STAFF. SOURCE: CDC
PHOTO: METLIFE ARCHIVES. ART: MESA SCHUMACHER
PointsSince Edward Jenner
dosed an eight-year-old
boy with cowpox from
a milkmaid’s hand in
1796 to prevent him
from catching smallpox,
immunizations have had
a substantial success
record. They are credited
with reducing diphtheria,
measles, mumps, and
rubella incidences in the
U.S. by 99 percent. Later
incarnations of smallpox
vaccines eventually led
to that disease’s global
eradication in 1979.
According to re-
ranks with clean water,
nutrition, and sanitation
in health necessities.
School entry require-
ments and pediatric
health care subsidies
in the U.S. help ensure
children get every vac-
cine. Adults, a signiﬁcant
source of children’s
infections, aren’t as well
inoculated. Public and
education is needed
to get adult numbers
up, says the Immuni-
zation Action Coalition’s
L. J. Tan. “Vaccines
don’t give them-
selves.” —Johnna Rizzo
NEXT About 3 percent of cheese sales are lost to retail errors, fraud,
and theft—making it one of the world’s most stolen foods.
*As of 2012; baseline years vary
***Reduction shown as average of three diseases
NEW YORK, 1920s
IMMUNIZATIONS IN THE U.S.
Several factors determine
the development of a vac-
cine: if the disease is deadly
and how many and whom
it affects. “Children are a
priority in most cultures,”
says Anne Schuchat of the
Centers for Disease Control
Discover this spectacular 6½-carat green treasure
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Effective on small
pieces, it’s inefﬁcient
Chapel frescoes were
cleaned with bread.
In skilled hands a cut
half can pick up dust
but will leave a residue.
Spitting Image Since
at least the 17th century, art conservators have
turned to products like glue, ashes, onions, and
even beer to clean blemishes from works of art.
Now they have gels and lasers. Yet one old-
fashioned item is still in vogue: saliva.
Last summer a Massachusetts conservator
used her own saliva to clean Padihershef, a
2,500-year-old Egyptian mummy. Enzymes
in human spit dissolve and lift oils, including
ﬁngerprint grease. Saliva is more viscous than
water, so it doesn’t seep into paint cracks. “We
tend to use saliva when there’s grime, soot,
or nicotine,” says Andrea Chevalier, an Ohio
conservator with the Intermuseum Conservation
Association. The process is slow. A worker can
spend up to ﬁve hours on a standard portrait,
gently rolling moistened cotton swabs over dirty
areas. It’s helpful, Chevalier says, to have a glass
of water by your side. —Eve Conant
Dolphins sleep with one eye open.
PHOTO: JEANNE M. MODDERMAN,
NGM STAFF. ART: ÁLVARO VALIÑO (TOP)
For people with a higher risk of stroke due to
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) not caused by
a heart valve problem
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION:
Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without talking to the
doctor who prescribed it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS
increases your risk of having a stroke. ELIQUIS may
need to be stopped, prior to surgery or a medical or
dental procedure. Your doctor will tell you when you
should stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may start
taking it again. If you have to stop taking ELIQUIS,
your doctor may prescribe another medicine to help
prevent a blood clot from forming.
ELIQUIS can cause bleeding which can be serious,
and rarely may lead to death.
You may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take
ELIQUIS and take other medicines that increase your
risk of bleeding, such as aspirin, NSAIDs, warfarin
), heparin, SSRIs or SNRIs, and other
blood thinners. Tell your doctor about all medicines,
vitamins and supplements you take. While taking
ELIQUIS, you may bruise more easily and it may take
longer than usual for any bleeding to stop.
Get medical help right away if you have any of
these signs or symptoms of bleeding:
- unexpected bleeding, or bleeding that lasts a long
time, such as unusual bleeding from the gums;
nosebleeds that happen often, or menstrual
or vaginal bleeding that is heavier than normal
- bleeding that is severe or you cannot control
- red, pink, or brown urine; red or black stools (looks
- coughing up or vomiting blood or vomit that looks like
- unexpected pain, swelling, or joint pain; headaches,
feeling dizzy or weak
ELIQUIS is not for patients with artiﬁcial heart valves.
Before you take ELIQUIS, tell your doctor if you have:
kidney or liver problems, any other medical condition,
or ever had bleeding problems. Tell your doctor if you
are pregnant or breastfeeding, or plan to become
pregnant or breastfeed.
Do not take ELIQUIS if you currently have certain
types of abnormal bleeding or have had a serious
allergic reaction to ELIQUIS. A reaction to ELIQUIS
can cause hives, rash, itching, and possibly trouble
breathing. Get medical help right away if you have
sudden chest pain or chest tightness, have sudden
swelling of your face or tongue, have trouble breathing,
wheezing, or feeling dizzy or faint.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of
prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/
medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Product Information on the
Individual results may vary.
or call 1-855-ELIQUIS
ELIQUIS is a prescription medicine used to reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots in people who have atrial
ﬁbrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem.
Ask your doctor if ELIQUIS is right for you.
©2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
I was taking warfarin. But I wondered,
could I shoot for something better?
NOW I TAKE ELIQUIS®
(apixaban) FOR 3 GOOD REASONS:
1 ELIQUIS reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin.
2 ELIQUIS had less major bleeding than warfarin.
3 Unlike warfarin, there’s no routine blood testing.
ELIQUIS and other blood thinners increase the risk of bleeding which can be
serious, and rarely may lead to death.
What is the most important
information I should know about
Do not stop taking ELIQUIS without
talking to the doctor who prescribed
it for you. Stopping ELIQUIS increases
your risk of having a stroke. ELIQUIS
may need to be stopped, prior to surgery
or a medical or dental procedure. Your
doctor will tell you when you should
stop taking ELIQUIS and when you may
start taking it again. If you have to
stop taking ELIQUIS, your doctor may
prescribe another medicine to help
prevent a blood clot from forming.
ELIQUIS can cause bleeding which can
be serious, and rarely may lead to
death. This is because ELIQUIS is a blood
thinner medicine that reduces blood
You may have a higher risk of
bleeding if you take ELIQUIS and
take other medicines that increase
your risk of bleeding, such as aspirin,
nonsteroidal anti-inﬂammatory drugs
(called NSAIDs), warfarin (COUMADIN®),
heparin, selective serotonin reuptake
inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin
norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
(SNRIs), and other medicines to help
prevent or treat blood clots.
Tell your doctor if you take any of
these medicines. Ask your doctor or
pharmacist if you are not sure if your
medicine is one listed above.
While taking ELIQUIS:
• you may bruise more easily
• it may take longer than usual for any
bleeding to stop
Call your doctor or get medical help
right away if you have any of these
signs or symptoms of bleeding when
• unexpected bleeding, or bleeding
that lasts a long time, such as:
• unusual bleeding from the gums
• nosebleeds that happen often
• menstrual bleeding or vaginal
bleeding that is heavier than
• bleeding that is severe or you cannot
• red, pink, or brown urine
• red or black stools (looks like tar)
• cough up blood or blood clots
• vomit blood or your vomit looks like
• unexpected pain, swelling, or joint pain
• headaches, feeling dizzy or weak
ELIQUIS (apixaban) is not for patients
with artiﬁcial heart valves.
What is ELIQUIS?
ELIQUIS is a prescription medicine used to
reduce the risk of stroke and blood clots
in people who have atrial ﬁbrillation.
It is not known if ELIQUIS is safe and
effective in children.
Who should not take ELIQUIS?
Do not take ELIQUIS if you:
• currently have certain types of
• have had a serious allergic reaction
to ELIQUIS. Ask your doctor if you are
What should I tell my doctor before
Before you take ELIQUIS, tell your
doctor if you:
• have kidney or liver problems
• have any other medical condition
• have ever had bleeding problems
• are pregnant or plan to become
pregnant. It is not known if ELIQUIS
will harm your unborn baby
• are breastfeeding or plan to
breastfeed. It is not known if ELIQUIS
passes into your breast milk. You
and your doctor should decide if you
will take ELIQUIS or breastfeed. You
should not do both
Tell all of your doctors and dentists that
you are taking ELIQUIS. They should talk
to the doctor who prescribed ELIQUIS
for you, before you have any surgery,
medical or dental procedure.
Tell your doctor about all the
medicines you take, including
prescription and over-the-counter
medicines, vitamins, and herbal
supplements. Some of your other
medicines may affect the way
ELIQUIS works. Certain medicines
may increase your risk of bleeding
or stroke when taken with ELIQUIS.
Take ELIQUIS exactly as prescribed
by your doctor. Take ELIQUIS twice
every day with or without food, and do
not change your dose or stop taking
it unless your doctor tells you to. If
you miss a dose of ELIQUIS, take it as
soon as you remember, and do not
take more than one dose at the same
time. Do not run out of ELIQUIS. Reﬁll
your prescription before you run out.
Stopping ELIQUIS may increase your
risk of having a stroke.
What are the possible side effects
• See “What is the most important
information I should know about
• ELIQUIS can cause a skin rash or severe
allergic reaction. Call your doctor or
get medical help right away if you
have any of the following symptoms:
• chest pain or tightness
• swelling of your face or tongue
• trouble breathing or wheezing
• feeling dizzy or faint
Tell your doctor if you have any side
effect that bothers you or that does not
These are not all of the possible side
effects of ELIQUIS. For more information,
ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice
about side effects. You may report side
effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
This is a brief summary of the
most important information about
ELIQUIS. For more information, talk
with your doctor or pharmacist, call
1-855-ELIQUIS (1-855-354-7847), or go
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Princeton, New Jersey 08543 USA
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
Princeton, New Jersey 08543 USA
New York, New York 10017 USA
COUMADIN® is a trademark of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company
© 2013 Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
ELIQUIS and the ELIQUIS logo are trademarks of
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Based on 1289808 / 1298500 / 1289807 / 1295958
December 2012 432US13CBS03604
This independent, non-proﬁt organization provides assistance to qualifying patients with ﬁnancial hardship who
generally have no prescription insurance. Contact 1-800-736-0003 or visit www.bmspaf.org for more information.
FACTS /The information below does not take the place of talking with your healthcare
professional. Only your healthcare professional knows the speciﬁcs of your condition and how ELIQUIS® may ﬁt into your
overall therapy. Talk to your healthcare professional if you have any questions about ELIQUIS (pronounced ELL eh kwiss).
When the ﬁrst giant pandas arrived in the United
States from China in 1972, their new home
became the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Today,
more than 40 years later, the National Zoo still
houses giant pandas, an endangered species believed
to number only about 1,600 in the wild. The Na-
tional Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution®
largest museum and research complex in the world.
Spectacular World’s First
Now, to honor over four decades of Chinese giant
pandas at the National Zoo, the China Mint and the
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Tian. The obverse of this massive 40mm silver proof
depicts the Great Wall of China alongside the
iconic Smithsonian Castle on the National Mall
in Washington, D.C. It’s a world’s ﬁrst!
New Baby Panda Makes Headlines
This summer, Mei Xiang gave birth to a new giant
panda cub. Mama and baby have already captivated
millions through the National Zoo giant panda
webcam online. Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, the cub’s
father, are depicted on the Smithsonian Panda Silver
Proof at rest within their National Zoo habitat.
Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Past performance is not a predictor of future performance. NOTE: GovMint.com®
private distributor of worldwide government coin and currency issues and privately issued licensed collectibles and is not afﬁliated with the United
States government. Facts and ﬁgures deemed accurate as of October 2013. ©2014 GovMint.com.
Strictly Limited Edition
The China Mint has been issuing hugely-popular
China Silver Pandas for over 30 years. In fact,
over 30 million have been issued during the last
three decades. But this is the ﬁrst time ever that
the China Mint has struck a special issue Panda
Silver Proof in collaboration with the Smithsonian
Institution. And the mintage is strictly limited to
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These silver proofs are only available through
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is 40 mm
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THE PROPOSED SOLUTION
Ice wall seals
Pumps divert uncontaminated groundwater to the sea.
GETTY IMAGES. GRAPHIC: LAWSON
PARKER, NGM STAFF. SOURCE: TEPCO
FreezeOn August 19, 2013, a
huge leak of contami-
discovered at Japan’s
Fukushima Daiichi power
seeps continue. Now
an underground ice
wall is being proposed
to contain them.
It will work like this:
Coolant is pumped at
-20ºF to -40ºF through
pipes reaching a hundred
feet deep to freeze any
water in the soil. The
pipes also make the soil’s
air pockets so cold that
any future liquid trying
to pass will freeze too.
The ice wall would
help keep clean ground-
water from coming into
the plant and water
particles from getting
to the ocean. Water
moves through soil about
four inches a day, says
engineer Ed Yarmak,
who designed an ice
wall for a facility in
Tennessee. It’s not
perfect, he adds, “but
it’s the barrier with
the best chance of
working.” —Johnna Rizzo
An ice wall to contain the
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
plant’s groundwater is
planned for 2015.
PROPOSED ICE WALL
pipes and wells
The ice wall’s coolant pipes are
placed three feet apart and
reach a hundred feet deep.
Will the Walls Fall?
SYRIA: THE CHAOS OF WAR
Protests against the Syrian government three
years ago sparked a continuing battle for control
of the country. Here in the capital the army shells
rebel-held neighborhoods from the mountain
where this photo was taken. With the conﬂict
cracking around them, city residents wait for
peace and hope their distinctive culture survives.
On the front line of the conﬂict a Syrian security
forces ofﬁcer patrols the shattered suburb of
Tadamun. Sometimes he hears rebels shouting
from their positions, just blocks away. Fearing for
the safety of his family, he asks not to be identi-
ﬁed by name—just an alias, Abu Aksam.
national geographic march
Within the mosque’s sturdy Roman walls,
this quintessentially Damascene mix of ancient
grandeur, restfulness, and quotidian bustle con-
tinues undisturbed for now, despite the rumbles
of shelling in the distance—dispatches from the
civil war that is ravaging the city’s ramshackle
outskirts. But step out through the mosque’s
towering gate, and it becomes clear that the Old
City of Damascus, though mostly undamaged
physically, has changed.
Beneath the remnants of a Roman colonnade,
Mohammad Ali, 54, wielding a hefty Polaroid he
has been carefully keeping going for a quarter
century, shoots a photo of a grim-faced family
taking a breather from war-torn Aleppo. His
usual clients—tourists, foreign students, and
well-dressed families out for a stroll—are long
gone. Today many of the families browsing the
bright blue Iranian pot-
tery and bouquets of col-
orful shawls are Syrians
forced from homes in
that have become battle-
fields. They live crammed
into rented rooms, shop
fronts, and offices in
the capital’s shrinking
zone of safety. In the city
center, men with guns
patrol the streets; they
belong to the growing
that some residents trust and others fear. Brac-
ing for the unknown, fearing the worst, sinking
into economic hardship, the Old City hunkers
behind ancient walls that are reclaiming, meta-
phorically for now, their original role as fortifi-
cations. Beyond the walls military checkpoints
create another barrier, keeping rebels out of
government-held central Damascus.
Along French colonial boulevards, in busy
vegetable markets, in largely empty nightclubs,
there is a sense of waiting within a bubble of pro-
visional safety. Mortar shells land with increasing
regularity in downtown Damascus, attacks that
the government blames on rebels. (Most of the
shelling heard in the city is outgoing—the odd
spectacle of the government wrecking the suburbs
of its own capital, many of which have remained
in rebel hands for more than a year.) Mount Qa-
siyun, the city’s twinkling
nighttime backdrop, was
a breezy aerie where
couples went to feast on
fruit platters at cafés over-
looking Damascus. Now
it is a citadel from which
government troops fire
barrages of shells.
Much has already
been lost. But the singu-
lar culture of Damascus,
viewed for centuries in
the Arab world as a bea-
con of refinement and
n the rectangular courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque, the
heart of Old Damascus, women swathed in black sit and
chat on the cream-colored stone floor, polished smooth by
the comings and goings of generations. The sky overhead is
an identical rectangle of blue. Children chase one another
into shady corners, as pigeons swoop in and out, drawn, the women
in black like to say, to the holiness of the place.
By Anne Barnard
Photographs by Andrea Bruce
0 mi 100
0 km 100Damascus
civilization, offers one of the few hopes for sav-
ing Syria. Given the country’s arbitrary colo-
nial borders and contentious modern history,
Damascus, for many Syrians, comes as close as
anything to embodying a shared national idea.
For centuries Sunnis, Shiites, Christians, and
Jews have traded, worked, and lived together
here, not without conflict but with a common
relish for city life and business. (Only a few Jews
remain; most left after the founding of Israel,
when the government began viewing them with
suspicion.) Later, after 1970, waves of Alawis, a
long-oppressed group from the coastal moun-
tains, came to Damascus, drawn to new oppor-
tunities under the rule of President Bashar al
Assad’s family, which hails from their sect, an
offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Those who live in Damascus and love it best
stand united in their desire to preserve it. Even as
a once peaceful popular movement for political
rights, dignity, and justice takes on an uglier sec-
tarian tone—deepening fears of another Sarajevo,
another Baghdad—people here say they cannot
imagine attacking one another. Yet Damascenes
are divided on who most threatens their world.
Just beneath a carapace of fear—of the rebels, of
the government, of foreign intervention, of gen-
eral chaos—bubble political views so divergent
that it can be hard to picture how the gap might
be bridged. (Small wonder that few in the city are
willing to have their full names printed.)
“Every stone is a heritage—every sculpture,
every roof, every fountain,” says Ghazi H., a
secular Christian in his 30s who has spent much
of his life in the Old City. His schoolmates of
all religions used the Umayyad Mosque court-
yard as a study hall. As a teenager, he explored
a Muslim quarter newly opening to the outside
world: Cafés proliferated, boys and girls walked
together without incident—although older
people looked askance at them. As an adult,
he salved boredom by hunting for “hidden
treasures”—a courtyard in a boarded-up man-
sion, a small carving on an old house. But how
people define the Old City’s heritage depends on
their political outlook, and it is darker and more
complex than most acknowledge, Ghazi says.
“Everyone uses history to make their own points.”
Anne Barnard is the Beirut bureau chief for the
New York Times. Photographer Andrea Bruce has
worked extensively in the Middle East.
Grief ﬂoods the faces of mourners at the funeral of a relative. According to his family, 29-year-old Elias
Francis was driving to a job interview in Jordan when he was kidnapped—a constant hazard in Damascus
these days. His body, bearing signs of torture, was later found and sent home.
national geographic march
The Old City’s twisting alleys, where houses
lean into one another and vines dangle across
narrow streets, developed that way in part so
that neighboring but segregated ethnic enclaves
could protect their territories. “It symbolizes
how these divided groups can live together even
though they don’t like each other,” says Ghazi.
Passing through a Shiite quarter, he notices post-
ers on the walls commemorating fallen fighters
for Assad, and he knows that some passing Sun-
nis from a neighboring quarter may be quietly
cheering the deaths. Yet the two groups still greet
each other and visit each other’s shops. “That’s
what the Old City symbolizes,” Ghazi says, sitting
in the courtyard of his now deserted hotel. “And
if you go back in history, it has always been sym-
bolizing this same thing. It was Christian, and
when the Muslims came, they converted many
churches to mosques”—the Umayyad Mosque,
where a church once stood, still houses a shrine
to John the Baptist—“and life has continued.”
In quieter times Assad embraced a version of
the Damascene identity. He attended interfaith
musical performances and took (disputed) credit
for the refurbishing of the Old City, as entrepre-
neurs opened cafés and boutique hotels, like
Ghazi’s, in traditional houses. This urban renais-
sance ushered in another phase of change: Large
Muslim families cashed in on their increasingly
valuable properties and built larger homes in
suburbs now torn by war. Assad cultivated an im-
age as an everyman by walking Old City streets
en route to favorite nightspots like the Piano Bar.
Supporters of the government here see him as the
guardian of the city’s multiculturalism, fighting
a foreign-inspired, extremist uprising bent on
driving out minorities and imposing religious
rule. Supporters of the rebels reject this as hate-
ful nonsense, viewing the fighters—mostly poor
Sunnis from the provinces—as ordinary Syrians
who are themselves inextricably part of the cul-
tural mosaic. Damascenes who oppose Assad say
he has stoked sectarianism and, to stay in power,
would be willing to lay waste to the city.
That is what happened in the northern city of
Aleppo after the summer of 2012, when rebels
entered its Old City and the government did not
hesitate to shell it. Aleppo’s Umayyad Mosque
was heavily damaged, along with crusader
castles, Roman ruins, mosques,
and churches across the country.
“If they try to enter, I will be the
first person to confront them,” says
a Damascus shopkeeper who op-
poses Assad, fearing the destruc-
tion of the graceful Qasr al Azm, an
Ottoman palace; the domed Khan
Asad Pasha, where merchants used
to unload their caravans; the Cha-
pel of Ananias, the reputed site of
the baptism of the Apostle Paul. “There is no
military objective here. Freedom is needed, but
not in this way.”
Yet even here violence has come to seem a
necessary evil. In a shabby living room in a sag-
ging house overlooking Street Called Straight—
where the Bible says God sent Paul after striking
him blind on the road to Damascus—Leena Si-
riani serves coffee in the brown-striped cups she
has used since her marriage in 1975. She fled her
home in the rebel-held city of Homs because of
the fighting and shelling. Yet as she listens to the
whistling of shells and the thud of their impact,
she cheers them on. “May God give you power,”
she says, as if to the soldiers firing them. “I hope
they are hitting the terrorists and the saboteurs.”
Down a nearby alley, where shoppers peer at
gold bracelets, olive soap, and mounds of cumin,
a wiry spiceseller in his mid-30s whispers a dif-
ferent story. He comes from one of those bom-
barded suburbs, and most of the people he knows
there have taken up arms. “All day long you hear
shells coming out from here and landing there,”
The Old City “symbolizes
live together even though
they don’t like each other.”
—Ghazi H., a secular Christian in his 30s
he says with vehemence. “Then they tell you that
the threat comes from there,” he says, pointing
to the suburbs. “How? Should I be afraid of my
own family?” He explains that he fled to pro-
tect his daughters, leaving behind a decent job
selling cars. Now he earns just seven dollars a
month. He feels guilty living behind government
lines, he says, not like “a real man.” Casting his
eyes furtively about, he mutters, “I will join the
people there sooner or later.”
Just off Straight Street, in his 400-year-old
mansion encrusted with relief paintings of flow-
ers and lined with photographs of his ancestors,
Samir Naasan, 65, keeps a Kalashnikov that he
vows to use if rebels come. He has taken down
the crystal chandeliers, because of the explo-
sions. He shuffles around in a Puma sweat suit
and sneakers, a tuft of his hair jutting off at an
angle. From an old leather trunk he pulls snap-
shots of heads of state, including a sitting Presi-
dent Richard Nixon, visiting his house. Digging
deeper, he finds photos of the craft workshops
that made his family rich a century ago, where
Jews hammered brass, Christians tooled wood
for mosaics, and Muslims wove brocade.
To him, his family—which also owns the Pi-
ano Bar, President Assad’s hangout, across the
street—embodies Damascene cosmopolitanism.
That makes his prescription for the crisis all the
more jarring. “If I were Bashar al Assad,” he says,
“in 20 days I would finish it, even if I have to kill
five million Syrians.” As for the Syrian masses,
he adds, “better they should die than live poor.”
Then he heads out for drinks and meze at
Qasr al Kheir, a restaurant in a courtyard with
patterned tiles, mosaics, and a stone fountain.
Its name means “palace of goodness,” and over
the speakers Edith Piaf is singing “La Vie en
Rose.” The place is empty except for an engage-
ment party. As the music shifts to thumping
Arabic wedding tunes, Christian women in
short skirts hold hands with Muslim women
in head scarves and men twirling prayer beads,
all dancing a traditional line dance, the dabke.
The next song praises President Assad and the
army. The dancers whoop and stomp.
This is the bargain that Damascus and Syria
made: live under an iron fist in exchange for a
social safety net and a space for religious and
cultural, if not political, pluralism. Then Syr-
ians took peacefully to the streets in early 2011,
claiming that a family mafia oppressed not only
the Sunni majority but all citizens. The govern-
ment responded with overwhelming force, and
its opponents turned to arms.
Now Assad’s long-standing claim—after me,
Islamic extremists—has proved true in many
parts of the country. How and why will be long
debated. But as both sides grow exhausted,
forced to face the real prospect of demolish-
ing all they are fighting for, perhaps resolution
lies somewhere in the Damascene model of
coexistence. Or simply in shared love for the
millennia-old city that no one wants to see die.
For now, Damascus focuses on survival. Mer-
chants, unable to flee because their cash is tied
up in inventory, tenderly fold and unfold bro-
cade shawls that were made in now destroyed
suburban workshops. For Ghazi H., comfort is
found in Abu George’s cubbyhole bar. Even when
shelling prompts other places on Straight Street
to close early, the bar glows like a fire on a cold
night. The patrons, nowadays mostly neighbor-
hood Christians, wax nostalgic for the Muslims
from the suburbs who would drop in to drink out
of sight of judging neighbors. They rarely come
now—they would have to cross the front lines.
For Ghazi, what is slipping away is the Old
City’s special flavor. “This period, it made me lose
the feeling for things,” he says. “Now I walk—I
don’t look. It took the spirit from the Old City.
You think, Which is more important, the people
or the rocks? Losing someone close to you, or
losing the minaret of the Umayyad Mosque? For
sure, the people are more important.”
Sometimes he wonders if people like him will
be driven out, or he even catches himself think-
ing a decisive battle would be worth it if it ended
this period of uncertainty.
And if either of those things happens, will the
ancient city of Damascus be destroyed forever?
He says no. “It will change,” he says. “Like it has
changed in the past.” j
A traditional café serves as a refuge from the current turmoil. Beneath a portrait of President Bashar al Assad, men
while away an afternoon playing backgammon and pufﬁng at water pipes ﬁlled with ﬂavored tobacco.
national geographic march
Patriotism and support for the president’s regime are instilled at an early age. At a government-run elemen-
tary school, students salute, sing, and march in place as the national anthem plays over a loudspeaker.
Many children now living in Damascus come from elsewhere and were displaced by the war. In the heart
of the Old City (below) boys idly chase the pigeons that ﬂock to the square outside the Umayyad Mosque.
A summer swimming class at the Sheraton hotel preserves a slice of the good life for the children of
businessmen, politicians, and others in elite professions. But the rest of the city lives on edge, with little
relief from the relentless conﬂict and its deadly consequences. After traveling down ancient Straight Street
(below), the funeral procession for Elias Francis nears its destination, the Greek Catholic al Zaitoun church.
The families of these Palestinian cousins came to Syria after ﬂeeing the ongoing conﬂict in their own homeland.
Now they share half a room in this unﬁnished ofﬁce building, where they moved when their suburban homes were bombed.
Journey Without End
Photographs by Lynsey Addario
y the end of 2013, Syria’s bloody and
complex civil war had displaced some
nine million men, women, and children
(map, right). Although most of them have
relocated to less troubled parts of the country,
roughly one in four has fled altogether, desper-
ate to escape the violence and chaos and the
mounting shortages of food, medicine, and
other necessities. This relentless exodus has
created a humanitarian crisis for neighbor-
ing countries and is spilling into Europe and
beyond. And as the conflict enters its third
year, there is no sign of resolution in sight.
SYRIA: THE CHAOS OF WAR
MAP: JEROME N. COOKSON AND ALEXANDER STEGMAIER, NGM STAFF; MORGAN P. JAROCKI
SOURCES: HUMANITARIAN INFORMATION UNIT, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; UN OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS; UNHCR
Photographer Lynsey Addario has documented
the struggles of the displaced in Syria as well as
in the four nations that have seen the greatest
influx. The man pictured above is one of the
millions, shown after he crossed into northern
Iraq last August. Waiting for his brother, he sits
with the belongings he could carry, surrounded
by the trash of those who came before him.
According to the Office of the UN High Com-
missioner for Refugees, 3,000 to 6,000 people
leave Syria every day. But borders are tighten-
ing, and it is getting harder and harder to find
a safe place to land. —Carolyn Butler
0 mi 100
0 km 100
Boundary claimed by Syria
S Y R I A NS Y R I A N
D E S E R T
Ras al Ayn
Internally displaced persons
Internally displaced persons
Refugees from Syria
registered or awaiting
registration with the UN
Syrian internally displaced
persons (IDP) camp
Other Syrian IDP location
Syrian refugee camp
or transitional site
Syrian refugee camp
or transitional site
Area of conﬂict
Area with refugees
Camp status and refugee and IDP
ﬁgures as of December 16, 2013
Includes 17,139 refugees in North Africa
There are no formal Syrian refugee
camps in Lebanon.
DISPLACED BY WAR
Syrians are seeking safer ground within their
country and outside its borders: Approxi-
mately 6.5 million residents are “internally
displaced persons,” and over two million have
become refugees. Some return home brieﬂy
to check on property or relatives. Others
move back after ﬁnding life in a camp or host
community more difﬁcult than expected.
Nonetheless, refugee numbers are soaring.
TURKEY After bombs from a government air strike rained down, families ﬂed
their town of Ras al Ayn, Syria, where the Free Syrian Army had been ﬁghting
these government forces as well as Syrian Kurds. The villagers crossed into
Ceylanpınar, Turkey, many with nothing but the clothes on their backs. The
country currently shelters more than half a million registered Syrian refugees;
roughly a third live in 21 camps. Turkey says it has spent two billion dollars to
assist Syrian refugees and estimates that more than 150,000 in the country
haven’t been ofﬁcially accounted for.
national geographic march
the refugee exodus
TURKEY Workers load precious bags of ﬂour provided by the Turkish Red
Crescent onto a truck bound for Syria (above). There was an international
outpouring of some $850 million in humanitarian aid for Syria last year and
another $2 billion to assist refugees and host countries with emergency food,
medicine, schooling, and more. Yet the relief effort is sorely underfunded.
Aid ofﬁcials worry that a lack of basic health, educational, psychological,
and other services will have devastating implications for Syria as well as the
larger Middle East. IRAQ At daybreak a family of Syrian Kurds sleep in the
open air to escape the stiﬂing heat of tents at the Kawergosk camp outside
Erbil, in northern Iraq (bottom left). These refugees were part of a wave of
60,000 who arrived in August during a month-long opening of two crossings.
Because of security concerns, the borders are now tightly regulated again.
LEBANON At age 15, Raeda lost sight in one eye after being hit by shrapnel
during an explosion near her family’s home in Aleppo, Syria. Today she helps her
parents by caring for her brother Khaled, in a tent they rent on farmland near
Saadnayel, Lebanon; 11 relatives live in the improvised quarters. Aid workers
worry about the “lost generation” of Syrian children who’ve been displaced or
forced to ﬂee the country. Many have witnessed or suffered unspeakable
horrors. They have limited or no access to education and could be forced into
child labor as well as early marriage and other forms of sexual exploitation.
JORDAN Syrian men and boys queue up to collect their daily bread—four pitas
a person—at the Zaatri refugee camp, which opened in July 2012. The UN World
Food Programme hands out 25 tons of bread every morning in the span of two
hours. The largest Syrian refugee camp in the Middle East, Zaatri is home to
more than 100,000. The site has trailers, tents, schools, hospitals, and a mater-
nity clinic as well as myriad businesses started by residents, selling everything
from haircuts to coffee. Yet many refugees face sanitation and electricity issues
and must deal with gangs and a thriving black market.
LEBANON Refugee women in Saadnayel prepare a funeral meal in honor
of their relative, a Free Syrian Army ﬁghter killed in Aleppo, Syria. The number
of refugees grew from 100,000 to 800,000 in this tiny country in a year’s time.
The government has not set up formal camps. Refugees often mix with locals,
staying in rented homes or with families. But a third live in garages, building
shells, and other vulnerable accommodations. “There are thousands of
examples of generosity shown by the Lebanese people to Syrian refugees of
a kind I’ve never before witnessed,” says Ninette Kelley, a UN representative.
“But as more refugees come in, tension has risen.”
It is jade country. It is home to four national parks, which
contain the highest mountains, longest glaciers, and tallest forests in
New Zealand. It is Te Wahipounamu—the place of greenstone.
Beech boughs and a broadleaf sapling overhang Lake Ada on Milford Track, a popular hiking trail.
Where greenstone grows
national geographic march
Glacier-scoured lowlands north of Jackson Bay are a legacy of the Pleistocene epoch and its ice
sheets. Here the Waiatoto River breaks through a gravel bulwark to meet the Tasman Sea.
He passes it to me, and I stroke its
river-smoothed skin. “Our people
have a tradition that you don’t keep
the first piece you find,” he says.
“So I’m giving it to you.” A thought
comes to me. Mahuika is a master
carver of greenstone. I hand the
stone back to him and say, “If you drill a hole in
it, I will wear this pounamu around my neck, to
bind me to this place.”
Te Wahipounamu, the place of jade. Since
1990 this southwestern edge of New Zealand
has enjoyed World Heritage recognition for its
four national parks and interconnecting tracts
of conservation land. Of all the wilderness areas
in my country, this is the one I return to most
often, to breathe its mountain air, wade its rivers,
hike its forests, and absorb its presence.
The carver and I are walking in the Cascade
Valley, an hour beyond the end of the coast road,
where it terminates south of Haast. Over our
shoulders the Red Hills Range glows dark crim-
son in the afternoon sun. The pounamu in the
rivers comes from those hills. The same tectonic
forces that built the mountains made the stone.
We pace the riverbanks, heads down like
wading birds, looking but not looking, because
Maori believe pounamu is not found, it reveals
itself. Revelation, however, is complicated by the
fact that there are many green stones that are
not greenstone, or nephrite, as geologists call it.
I discover I am an expert in locating these look-
alikes—the fool’s gold of the jade enterprise.
Time and again I stoop to pick up a pretty
sage green pebble.
“How about this one, Jeff? Nephrite?”
“Nope, leaverite,” he says, as in, “Leave ’er right
When Maori were lords of this
land, no resource was held in higher
esteem than pounamu. In part the
stone’s stature arose from the un-
countable hours needed to shape
it into tools or ornaments, for pou-
namu is harder than steel. Working
the stone over weeks or months imbued it with
the life of its owner. In one tradition, when Maori
died, their prized pieces of pounamu were buried
with them, to be dug up later and passed on to a
descendant. In this way pounamu transcended
time, binding generations in a sacred embrace.
To handle such treasures today—in the form
of chisels, ear pendants, fighting clubs—is to
sense a link not just with the maker and owner
but also with the physical ancestry of the stone.
In the Maori world, objects speak to their ori-
gins: whalebone to the whale, wood to the tree,
pounamu to its source river and mountain.
Water and ice scour the stone from its host
rock; rivers carry it down to the sea. “The stone
is always moving,” says Mahuika. “In our stories
we call it a fish. It’s on a journey, just like we are.”
We cross the Cascade River waist-deep, hold-
ing our arms out like wings, balancing against
the current’s muscular pull. It is spring, when the
fry of native fish surge into Te Wahipounamu’s
rivers from the sea, heading upstream to grow to
maturity in cool forest reaches. Catching these
whitebait is a west coast religion. From dawn
till dusk, coasters wade the river mouths with
long scoop nets, sieving for ’bait. Later, in a tiny
riverbank hut, or over a driftwood fire, butter
will be melted in a frying pan and a mixture of
egg and whitebait tipped in. Whitebait patties,
food of the gods.
Maori call the commonest type of whitebait
By Kennedy Warne
Photographs by Michael Melford
Jeff Mahuika bends down suddenly. Among the thousands of river pebbles at our feet,
he has seen something my eyes have missed. His fingers grasp the edge of a stone and
pry it gently from the gravel that all but hides it from view. It is a finger-long sliver of
pounamu—greenstone, or jade—and as he holds it to the light, it gleams a cool gray green.
This beachcombed jade, above, about 11 pounds, was photographed on a bed of river stones.
inanga, and they use the same word for pounamu
of a matching pearly gray, sometimes flecked with
eyes, as if whitebait swam within the stone. In a
world defined by mutual relationships, the Maori
name for one thing often recalls another. Their
name for the Southern Alps—the tumult of peaks
that runs like a jagged spine through Te Wahipou-
namu—is also used for the wave-swept ocean.
The alps make this place what it is. Standing
athwart the westerly gales of the latitude known
as the roaring forties, they force moisture out of
the clouds and drench the coast with rainfall.
It is so wet here that in the less traveled south,
moss grows on the asphalt of the roads.
During the last ice age alpine glaciers tat-
tooed this region with lakes and chasms, and
chiseled the fiords that give the southern swath
of Te Wahipounamu its name, Fiordland. More
than 3,000 glaciers remain in the World Heritage
area. Two of the most famous—Fox and Franz
Josef—plunge almost to sea level, where their
snouts nuzzle the coastal rain forest.
These forests are a time capsule of Gondwana,
the supercontinent that fragmented into the land-
masses of today’s Southern Hemisphere. When
New Zealand split off from what is now Australia
to begin its own journey into the Pacific, it created
an ecological separation that endured 80 million
years. That long solitude has made New Zealand
a showcase of Gondwanan flora and fauna. South
West New Zealand is its best window on that an-
Maori maintain a presence here, though their
numbers are thin. A symbolic moment came in
2005, when Mahuika’s people opened a carved
meetinghouse, their first ceremonial house in 140
years. It was a statement of survival and of hope
but also an acknowledgment of human imper-
manence, a truth expressed in a Maori proverb:
People come and go, but the land endures. j
South West New Zealand
World Heritage Area
Red Hills Range
S o u t h
I s l a n d
WESTLAND TAI POUTINI
0 mi 20
0 km 20
NEW ZEALANDNEW ZEALAND
Kennedy Warne dived into the seas of Arabia in our
March 2012 issue. Michael Melford photographed
America’s historic Brandywine Valley in April 2013.
The Te Wahipounamu-
South West New Zealand
World Heritage area
stretches 280 miles from
the mountainous north to
the ﬁord-cut south. It
encompasses nearly 10
percent of the country’s
land, incorporates four of
fourteen national parks,
and is a stronghold of
ancient ﬂora and fauna.
MARTIN GAMACHE, NGM STAFF
SOURCES: NEW ZEALAND
DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION;
LAND INFORMATION NEW ZEALAND
Ice Age remnants of crystalline rock dot the coast north of Haast. Te Wahipounamu is a window
on Gondwana—the supercontinent that fractured into today’s Southern Hemisphere landmasses.
Stands of rimu trees, a type of conifer found only in New Zealand, are a Gondwanan signature.
New Zealand’s alpine parrot, a feisty, inquisitive bird known by its Maori name, kea, has joined New
Zealand’s long list of species threatened by introduced predators. Glaciers face a threat of a
different ilk: warming climate. The two most visited—Franz Josef and Fox (pictured)—are in retreat.
national geographic march
Hump Ridge Track, a three-day hiking trail created in 2001, includes steep climbs, long
walks along the coast, and views of thick stands of lichen-festooned silver beech.
national geographic march
Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain at 12,316 feet, gives its name to a national park
bristling with peaks higher than 10,000 feet—the pinnacle of Te Wahipounamu’s sublime offerings.
A shimmering thoroughbred of the
sea, the Atlantic blueﬁn tuna is
uniquely designed to sprint at high
speed, migrate over long distances,
and survive the icy cold of deep water.
QuicksilverPrized for sushi, the fast and powerful Atlantic
bluefin tuna is being relentlessly overfished.
Keeping a tradition more than 3,000
years old, Spanish ﬁshermen process
a blueﬁn netted in the Mediterranean.
They take only the largest ﬁsh and
return the rest to the sea.
Blueﬁn tuna in an undersea pen in
the Mediterranean are fattened for
the booming sushi market. These ﬁsh
were taken from the wild, reducing
the potential breeding population.
national geographic March
the largest measuring 14 feet long and weigh-
ing three-quarters of a ton. In the sea’s refracted
sunlight, their pale flanks flare and scintillate
like polished shields. Their fixed fins—the long,
curved anal fin and the second dorsal—flash like
sabers. Their quick-sculling tail fins drive the
formation forward at ten knots, with sprints to
25, a ceaseless, staccato beat. And just as sud-
denly they are gone. The ocean is empty again.
Here and there a small galaxy of scales marks
where a bluefin swallowed a herring. The victim’s
scales swirl in the turbulence of the departed
tuna, now bearing off at high speed. Then each
vortex slows and stops. The sinking scales gleam
like diamonds from a spilled necklace. Then they
dim. Finally they wink out with depth.
The true tunas, genus Thunnus, are super-
charged fish, streamlined to perfection and
jammed with state-of-the-art biological gear.
The characteristics that distinguish the true
tunas include great size, great range, efficient
swimming stroke, warm bodies, large gills,
finesse at thermoregulation, rapid oxygen up-
take, high hemoglobin concentration, and clever
physiology of the heart. All of these reach their
apogee in the bluefin.
The three species of bluefin—the Atlantic,
Pacific, and southern—have divided the world’s
oceans among themselves, and they roam all
planetary seas except the polar. The bluefin is a
modern fish, yet its relationship with humanity
is ancient. Japanese fishermen have caught Pacif-
ic bluefin for more than 5,000 years. The Haida
of the Pacific Northwest have hunted the same
species for at least as long, based on the evidence
of bluefin bones in their middens. Stone Age
artists painted Atlantic bluefin tuna on the walls
of Sicilian caves. Iron Age fishermen—Phoeni-
cian, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Moroccan,
Turkish—watched from promontories for the
arrival of bluefin schools at their Mediterranean
“Bluefin helped build Western civilization,”
Stanford University professor Barbara Block, a
preeminent scholar of this fish, told me. “Across
all the Mediterranean, everybody netted giant
ne moment the undersea is featureless blue, an
empty cathedral, the sun an undulating hot spot
in the vault of waves overhead, its beams radiating
ocean is full of giant, bomb-shaped bluefin tuna,
A blueﬁn almost ten feet long cruises
by a diver as it searches for food in the
Gulf of St. Lawrence. The tuna gather
here in the summer and early fall to
feed on oily herring and mackerel.
By Kenneth Brower
Photographs by Brian Skerry
national geographic March
Researcher Steve Wilson attaches
a tracking tag to a blueﬁn while Robbie
Schallert monitors the ventilation
hose. In minutes the ﬁsh will be back
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
tuna. The bluefin have annual migrations in
through the Strait of Gibraltar, and everyone
knew when they came. In the Bosporus there
were 30 different words for bluefin. Everyone
put out net pens that had different names in the
different countries. Penning created cash. Blue-
fin were traded. The coins of Greece and Celtic
coins, they had giant bluefin on them.”
“The king of all fish,” Ernest Hemingway re-
ported in the Toronto Star Weekly in 1922, after
seeing Atlantic bluefin off Spain. Carl Linnaeus,
the father of modern scientific classification,
named the Atlantic bluefin in 1758. Linnaeus
often resorted to repetition in flagging superla-
tive animals. Gulo gulo he named the wolverine,
king of the weasels. Bison bison he named the
bison, king of the prairie. Thunnus thynnus he
named the Atlantic bluefin: tuna of tunas.
The day dawned red-orange over Cape
Breton, Nova Scotia. It was cold in Port Hood,
down on the village dock, but the eastern sky
was encouraging, a long horizon of warm color.
We cast off, and Dennis Cameron, captain of the
Bay Queen IV, steered north toward the Gulf of
St. Lawrence. Along the back wall of the boat’s
cabin, fishing rods were racked like rifles in an
armory. In the open waters ahead, fishermen
haul in the biggest bluefin tuna in the world.
To starboard passed the big island of Cape
Breton. To port passed a small outlier, Port
Hood Island, low and green, with a scattering
of white clapboard houses. Cameron grew up
on Port Hood Island in one of those houses. He
remembers squirrel hunting in the woods, and
beachcombing for old buoys and gaffs, and col-
lecting stranded squid as bait for his father—a
vanished way of life. The big lobster cannery on
the islet closed long ago. The waterfront, crowd-
ed with fishing dories in the 1920s, a forest of
masts, is now deserted. Twenty-odd families of
fishermen and farmers survived through the
1950s but steadily thinned, and the island now
has just one full-time resident.
And so it goes in fishing communities ev-
erywhere. The oceans are dying. The col-
lapse of fisheries marks the decline, a steady
funereal drumbeat: cod in the Maritime Prov-
inces of Canada, anchovies off Peru, salmon off
the Pacific Northwest, Patagonian toothfish in
Antarctic waters, sharks in all the oceans.
Bluefin tuna are among the most overfished
species on Earth. The stock that spawns on the
western side of the Atlantic has been reduced by
64 percent since 1970. The tonnara of Sicily—the
mazes of net pens in which, for millennia, Sicil-
ians have collected giant bluefin to kill in the
ritualized climax called mattanza—have been
$10,000 and $20,000, depending on quality—is
a startling measure of how much 21st-century
Japanese have come to treasure maguro, bluefin
sushi. It is a measure, too, of what the bluefin
tuna is up against if more than a handful are to
see the 22nd century.
While Cameron steered toward deep wa-
ter, Steve Wilson, a Stanford University
researcher who works with the Tuna Research
and Conservation Center (TRCC) in Monterey,
California, checked the satellite tags he hoped
to implant that day. Robbie Schallert, of the
bluefin conservation group Tag-a-Giant and
folding one after another for decades, as have
similar mazes, by different names, throughout
the rest of the Mediterranean.
Cameron, like any son of a Canadian fishing
family, is familiar with the vogues and vicissi-
tudes of his profession. “We didn’t fish tuna,”
he says of his father’s generation. “Tuna fishing
was more of a sport. Years ago they used to call
it ‘horse mackerel.’ It was cat food back then,
In January 2013 a single bluefin tuna sold in
Tokyo for $1.76 million. The outrageous price
was part publicity stunt, part Japanese ritual:
The first tuna on the auction market each year
is subject to a bidding war that’s over the top,
even by Japanese standards. Yet even the nor-
mal price of one medium-size bluefin—between
Kenneth Brower’s latest book is Hetch Hetchy:
Undoing a Great American Mistake. Brian Skerry
has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater.
national geographic March
Wilson’s colleague at TRCC, unrolled a blue
padded mat just forward of the “tuna door” in
the transom at the stern. The mat did not read
“Welcome,” but that was the idea. We had come
to tag and measure bluefin, not to kill them.
Eight miles offshore, drifting with three lines
out baited with mackerel, we had a strike. Shel-
don Gillis, Captain Cameron’s assistant, fought
the fish. There was a taut twang each time the
bluefin took out line. Twenty minutes later, a
good distance off the stern, the fish made its
first appearance. Gillis judged it to be about 700
pounds. He reeled in furiously each time the tuna
gave him the chance, and he was sweating now
despite the cool of the morning. After another
20 minutes came the loud, slapping bang of tail
fin against the stern. Hoisted aboard through the
tuna door, the fish lay on its side, perfectly still
and enormous on the mat. Out of water, it looked
like some kind of wonderful machine, biologi-
cally inspired and poured of living metal.
Wilson and his tagging team worked ef-
ficiently and fast, like a crew swarming an
underwater racing machine at a pit stop. A wet
black cloth went over the eyes as blindfold. A
green hose went in the mouth and began pump-
ing seawater past the gills. A roll of measuring
tape flew over the fish, tossed from one man
to another. The tape was laid flush against the
body between the tip of the nose and the point
where the tail fin forked. This measurement,
the curved fork length, or CFL, in this fish was
300 centimeters, just short of ten feet. CFL is
an accurate predictor of a tuna’s weight: 1,226
pounds in this case, nearly twice Gillis’s original
estimate. It was the third biggest bluefin ever
tagged by the team in nearly 20 years of work.
Straddling the rear of the fish, Wilson drove
in a titanium dart to anchor a satellite tag just
forward of the second dorsal fin. Four team
members took up positions at the corners of the
blue mat and lifted. Clearing the deck, the mat
became a hammock. Straining under the burden
of the fish, the four men walked a semicircle of
tiny mincing steps, rotating the fish degrees
to bring it around to face the tuna door. From
the scimitar of the anal fin, Schallert snipped a
sliver for DNA analysis. Then the two men at
the tail hoisted their end of the mat. The tuna
plunged through the doorway and back into the
gulf, raising a splash like a horse diving off a pier.
Two flicks of its tail fin and it was gone.
On his laptop the night before, Wilson had
programmed the satellite tag on this fish to pop
off on June 1 of the next year. Nine months and
two weeks from this day, in whatever time zone
the bluefin happened to be, the tag would send
an electric current through the metal pin at-
taching it to the leader and dart in the fish. The
electrolyzed pin would begin to corrode. Within
a few hours it would sever. A bulb on top of the
tag is made of foam that’s incompressible and
therefore buoyant at any depth. The tag would
rise through the cathedral rays of the ocean
toward the brightness of the vault. On break-
ing the surface, it would begin uploading the
encoded secrets of this bluefin—its travels, its
seasons, its dive patterns—to a small constella-
tion of Argos satellites orbiting overhead.
Block runs TRCC out of Hopkins Marine
Station on Cannery Row, in collaboration with
the Monterey Bay Aquarium next door. After the
tag pops off at its programmed time, the satellite
data rises from the Atlantic, jumps the continent
to California, and comes home here to Hopkins
Station for interpretation. Thirty years ago sci-
ence was in the dark about the movements of tu-
nas. Since then the mysteries of their migration,
one after another, have
Out of water, the bluefin
looks like some kind
of wonderful machine,
biologically inspired and
poured of living metal.
(Continued on page 86)
Vulnerable Endangered Critically
Threatened species status
GLOBAL ANNUAL CATCHPRINCIPAL MARKET TUNAS (Ranked by 2011 catch) 2.0
AWho’s Who of Tunas
Once a lowly sandwich ﬁlling, tuna has gone upscale. The largest
members of the Scombridae family are now worth about $5.5 billion
a year on the global market. These are the most popular.
Skipjack This cheap,
plentiful ﬁsh ends up
mainly in cans. The label
“light meat” applies to
skipjack and yellowﬁn.
Yellowﬁn Of all the tunas,
yellowﬁn have some
of the highest levels of
mercury. Their best meat
is often served raw.
Bigeye This tuna has
popular for raw dishes
in Japan as the price for
blueﬁn has soared.
Albacore With its mild
ﬂavor and ﬁrm texture,
this is the king of canned
tuna—identiﬁed as “white
meat” on the label.
Atlantic blueﬁn These
ﬁsh and their Paciﬁc kin
are highly coveted for
raw dishes because of
their buttery meat.
Paciﬁc blueﬁn The 2012
assessment found this
species to be at only 3.6
percent of historic levels.
Its status will be revised.
Southern blueﬁn Like
other blueﬁn, these are
both farmed and caught
wild, mostly for the
MAPS AND GRAPHIC: RYAN MORRIS, NGM STAFF. ILLUSTRATIONS: KIRSTEN HUNTLEY
SOURCES: FAO FISHERIES AND AQUACULTLL URE DEPARTMENT; INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATIONVV OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES; SHANA MILLER, THE OCEAN FOUNDATION