Episode 1146—Air Date: November 12, 2011

This week on National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson speaks with guests about contracting a deadly virus from a bat, running the Annapurna mountain range, the must-see places for 2012, collecting beans in the South American jungle, catching a one-eyed shark, singing the Pakistani blues, kicking the oil habit, functional and fashionable outdoor gear, making waves with photos, and slip-sliding away in a bat cave.


• National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore spent nearly a month wondering if he’d be dead soon. After getting bat guano in his eye while shooting the National Geographic magazine story “Rift in Paradise,” Sartore wasn’t sure if had contracted a deadly virus or not. Sartore joins Boyd to talk about his essay titled “Close Call in Paradise,” in which he details his encounter with the Marburg virus. Last January 1, Rebecca Byerly set out to run 100 kilometers (62 miles) straight up a mountain. Byerly participated in the Annapurna 100, Nepal’s original ultra trail run and completed 50 kilometers of the race. This year, she’s headed back to try it again. Wondering where to travel in 2012? Ponder no more. National Geographic Adventure magazine has all the answers for you in the November/December Issue. Assistant Editor Amy Alipio joins Boyd in the studio to talk about “Best of the World: 20 Places to Experience in 2012.” National Geographic grantee and botanist Karen Redden recently returned from a six-week expedition to a flat-topped sandstone mountain or tepui in west-central Guyana. She was searching for plants, but ran into jaguars and an 18-foot anaconda. Redden joins Boyd in the studio to share the adventure. David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, joins Boyd to talk about a cyclops shark.


• Zeb and Hania are a singer-songwriter duo from Lahore, Pakistan. Their music evokes the melodies of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, American blues and more. The duo joins Boyd in the studio to share their story and their music. Amory Lovins is cofounder and chairman of the Rocky Mountain Institute as well as its chief scientist. In his new book “Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era,” Lovins explains how the United States could wean itself off coal and oil by 2050. Lovins says this can be done with current technology and without the passage of new federal legislation. Gear guru Steve Casimiro joins Boyd to talk about some of the latest and greatest outdoor clothing styles. Casimiro’s reviews can be found on the NG Adventure blog and on Casimiro’s Adventure Journal blog. Photographer Annie Griffiths was one of the first women to work for National Geographic. Now she is changing the lives of women all over the planet with her nonprofit organization Ripple Effect Images. The organization documents the plight of poor women and girls around the world and highlights programs that are helping to empower them. Boyd says a visit to the Devil’s Sinkhole reveals the danger is not rabies but bat guano.

Listen to National Geographic Weekend

Episode 1304—January 27, 2013

  • 00:11:00 Sam Elias

    Climbing rock is difficult. Climbing ice is dangerous. But when the two sports are combined into one event, the results can be treacherous. Sam Elias placed third in the Mixed Climbing Competition at the recent Ouray Ice Festival, despite a fall that could have left him seriously injured. He tells Boyd that he feels lucky to escape with minor cuts and bruises.

  • 00:09:00 Ken Budd

    Most people think of a vacation as a time when they step out of their daily lives and devote some time to themselves. But Ken Budd takes his travel from a different point of view. Following the death of his father, Budd began to reflect on his own legacy and decided to take volunteer vacations in New Orleans, China, Costa Rica, Kenya, Ecuador and the West Bank. All of the proceeds from his book, The Voluntourist, will benefit the groups with which he worked abroad.

  • 00:06:00 Steve Sillett

    Some of the United States' most unique flora are also its biggest. The giant sequoia, featured on the cover of December 2012's National Geographic magazine, are so big that their branches sustain an ecosystem of their own. Steve Sillett tells Boyd that The President, a 3,200 year old sequoia, isn't the tallest tree in the world, or the widest, but it's the second largest in terms of volume.

  • 00:08:00 Sally Coxe

    Unlike elephants and rhinos, who are poached for a reason, bonobos are the victims of circumstance. They live in an area of jungle in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that doesn't have a viable economy. Locals turn to the apes as a source of bushmeat, for a lack of other resources. Sally Coxe, president and founder of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, says that much of conservation focuses on providing locals with alternative sources of income that don't revolve around poaching their closest ape relatives.

  • David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, explains that elephants are losing their collective memory. As poachers decimate the numbers of mature elephants who are the keepers of elephant secrets like locations of watering holes and good sources of food. For the first time, it seems, the elephants are beginning to forget.

  • 00:11:00 David Roberts

    David Braun, editor of National Geographic Daily News, explains that elephants are losing their collective memory. As poachers decimate the numbers of mature elephants who are the keepers of elephant secrets like locations of watering holes and good sources of food. For the first time, it seems, the elephants are beginning to forget.

  • 00:09:00 David Dobbs

    Different explorers in different eras from all over the world may have more in common than their ambition and their willingness to take risks with their own lives. David Dobbs, author of "Restless Genes," in the January, 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine, says that, rather than one gene, it is most likely a series of genes that encourages explorers to leave "normal" behind and live extraordinarily.

  • 00:06:00 Joel Berger

    Many people who visit Tibet have seen yaks. Despite the large numbers of domesticated yaks, Joel Berger tells Boyd, that there are very few wild yaks left. The animals, which occasionally maim and kill humans, are targeted by herders, because yak bulls have been known to "steal" domesticated female yaks. But the Chinese government has recently began to strongly protect the wild yaks, to prevent more losses of endemic Chinese species.

  • 00:08:00 Jeff Flocken

    Lions face many risks as a species. Africans villagers them because they're a predator who frequently kill their livestock. Poachers take them as by-catch, as they try to kill elephants for ivory and antelope for meat. And Americans kill them because they're the "King of the Jungle". The lions make valued trophies because of their regal looks and fierce reputation. But, Jeff Flocken tells Boyd that it's a crime in the United States to deal in endangered species, which is why the International Fund for Animal Welfare is prompting Americans to reach out to the United States Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, to have the animals listed under the American Endangered Species Act. That would make the distribution of lion parts illegal in the United States.

  • In this week's Wild Chronicles segment, Boyd reflects on a life well adventured and the collateral damage that has caused his knees, shoulders and feet. He documented a life of banging on his body in a video that points out there's no such thing as too much fun.