This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson as we climb ice walls competitively, combine work and play on "voluntourist" vacations, scurry up some of the world's tallest trees, bond with bonobos, defy all odds by surviving alone on Antarctica's ice, discover the genes that create explorers, restore wild yak numbers, and lobby the American government to save a foreign species.

Please check listings near you to find the best way to listen to National Geographic Weekend!

HOUR 1

  • 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 have escaped with minor cuts and bruises.
  • Most people think of a vacation as an opportunity to step out of their daily lives and devote time to themselves. But Ken Budd looks at 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, benefit the groups with which he worked.
  • Some of the United States' most unique floras are also its biggest. The giant sequoia, featured on the cover of December 2012's National Geographic magazine, is so big that its branches sustain an ecosystem of their own. Steve Sillett tells Boyd that the President, a 3,200-year-old sequoia, is the second largest tree in terms of volume.
  • Bonobos are victims of circumstance. They live in a jungle area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that doesn't have a viable economy. Lacking other resources, locals turn to the apes as a source of bush meat. Sally Coxe, president and founder of the Bonobo Conservation Initiative, says that conservation efforts focus 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—the keepers of elephant secrets like locations of watering holes and good sources of food—for the first time, it seems, elephants are beginning to forget.

HOUR 2

  • After losing a friend, six dogs, and most their supplies in a deep crevasse, the remaining members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition—Douglas Mawson and Xavier Mertz—survived by eating their remaining dogs. Eventually illness claimed Mertz's life, and Mawson was on his own. David Roberts' new book, Alone on the Ice, provides an in-depth history of the expedition that Sir Edmund Hillary called "the most outstanding solo journey ever recorded in Antarctic history."
  • Explorers from all over the world may have more in common than their ambition and their willingness to take risks. David Dobbs, author of "Restless Genes," in the January 2013 issue of National Geographic magazine, says that a series of genes likely encourage explorers to leave "normal" behind and live extraordinarily.
  • While there are large numbers of domesticated yaks in Tibet, 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 begun to strongly protect wild yaks to prevent further loss of the endemic Chinese species.
  • African villagers sometimes kill lions because they prey on livestock. Poachers catch lions in the cross fire as they try to kill elephants for ivory and antelope for meat. And Americans hunt the "king of the jungle" as a prized trophy. As Jeff Flocken tells Boyd, 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—making 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 it has caused his knees, shoulders, and feet. He documented his lifetime of injuries in a video that points out that there's no such thing as too much fun.

Share

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.