In early November, a South African court sentenced a Thai man to 40 years in prison after he pled guilty to organizing illegal rhino poaching activities. The high-profile case of Chumlong Lemtongthai will likely have implications for other rhino poachers in South Africa, where more than 222 people have been arrested for the crime in 2012, according to the BBC. If the number of people arrested sounds high, it's because it is. In the last few years, rhino poaching in the country has risen dramatically to fuel an international demand for horns. Officials are doing what they can to stop the increase because violent crime syndicates are often involved.
In a story released today on Yale E360, South African writer and filmmaker Adam Welz takes a look at the numbers behind the increase: "In 2007 only 13 rhino were poached in the country, about the average
annual number since 1990," he wrote. "In 2008, the number rose sharply to 83, in
2009, to 123, and so on. This year—which isn’t over yet—585 rhino
have been illegally killed in South Africa."
On Saturday, November 7, a team of dive guides and guests aboard the 112-foot luxury dive vessel Solmar V went for their first dip of the day near Socorro Island, Mexico, when they spotted a whale shark tangled in a rope. On their second dive, they saw the giant fish again and resolved to cut it free. You can watch the rescue in the video above, and read a brief account of their plan of attack below.
The realities of an expedition to Antarctica, where temperatures fall to -50 degrees and the wind can reach speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, are harsh. At night, for example, explorers must pack all those things they don't want to freeze into their sleeping bags. "Even your pee bottle," climber Leo Houlding said in a dispatch. "Or you won’t be able to empty it and
might have to boil it up with your morning brew, as my tent-mate Jason
did several times in Greenland. Not pleasant."
Houlding and five teammates are headed to Antarctica in mid-December to climb Ulvetanna. While tackling the peak will be a supreme technical challenge, the crew will also have to grapple with keeping their supplies in good shape. It will take four hours a day at an MSR stove just to melt enough ice for their water, and having access to that ice involves even more work. "Because huge stretches of Ulvetanna are dead vertical, much of the time
there won’t be any snow to collect as we climb," said Houlding in a dispatch. "So we’ll
have to melt enough snow at base camp to fill a 120-litre barrel, which
we’ll haul up behind us, chipping ice out of it with ice axes every time
we cook or make a cup of coffee in wall camp."
Here's a bit more* about the niceties of Houlding's expedition:
On his YouTube channel, BASE jumper Alexander Polli said he has completed the "first-ever successful wingsuit target strike." In the video above, Polli rockets down a slalom course, shatters a foam marker with his left arm, and continues flying forward on his projected path. Polli said in the text below the YouTube video that he reached a speed of 155mph on the course, which is in the same location where Jeb Corliss shot his famous Grinding the Crack video. BASE jumping fans with a knowledge of that Grinding the Crack flight might point out that Corliss famously hit a target during his flight—the string attached to a balloon.
On August 1, as the 2012 Summer Olympics were taking place in London, the Cincinnati Zoo released news that an 11-year-old cheetah named Sarah had shattered the 100-meter speed record for a runner. She clocked a time of 5.95 seconds, breaking her own 2009 record of 6.13 seconds. the 2001 record of a cheetah named Nyana, who ran the same distance in 6.13 seconds. Just for comparison's sake, Sarah's time was more than three seconds faster than Usain Bolt's time in the 100m at the Olympics.
You can watch Sarah and some of her friends from the Cincinnati Zoo take off in the National Geographic video above. The team shot the cheetahs using a Red Phantom Flex camera, recording the video at 1,200 frames per second. As you watch, check out the timer in the upper left to get a sense of just how fast the cheetahs are moving.