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The illegal trade of wildlife may include animals or plants, or parts of them, such as roots, stems, skin, bones or antlers.

A Look Inside Wildlife Crime Scene Investigators

Scientists are using the latest in DNA fingerprinting to combat the multibillion-dollar business of trafficking plants and animals

Male elephant seals can weigh up to 4,400 pounds.

How This Small Nonprofit Helped Save California’s Elephant Seals

Volunteers with Friends of the Elephant Seal educate tourists to prevent conflicts, inspire awe and keep the marine mammals safe

Artistic reconstruction of a group of hominins in direct competition for carrion with a hyena

One Million Years Ago, Our Human Relatives May Have Challenged Giant Hyenas for Carcasses

Groups of hominins might have successfully scavenged large kills, new modeling finds

Great white sharks were once abundant in South Africa’s False Bay and Gansbaai regions. But now, they appear to have ventured to safer waters elsewhere.

Where Did South Africa's Missing Sharks Go?

After a spate of orca attacks spooked the fish, they have now been found

Many species of insects work together to ensure safety while on the move or to defend their homes.

Four Unusual and Amazing Ways That Insects Team Up

The invertebrates create elaborate structures to escape danger and shimmer in synchronized performances to confuse predators

The James Webb Space Telescope will help scientists look for signs on life on other planets.

What Would Signal Life on Another Planet?

Astronomers have long debated what kind of chemistry might serve as a bona fide alien biosignature

A mountain gorilla seemingly enjoys a moment of solitude in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, surrounded by orange, yellow and green leaves.

Celebrate World Gorilla Day With 15 Primate Pictures

These highlights from the Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest feature our close “cousins”

Consumer products made from carbon capture can't undo the damage we’ve done to our planet—but each of them exists thanks to innovations that could. 

Little Luxuries Made With Captured Pollution Hint at Big Frontiers in Climate Science

Entrepreneurs are using jewelry, fragrances and clothing to demonstrate what’s possible with repurposed carbon—and environmentalists have questions

Why can't we stop anthropomorphizing our animal friends and foes?

Are Wild Animals Really Just Like Us?

A summer of news reports about orca, otter and bird “attacks” has the public wondering if trying to understand animal behavior in human terms is misguided

BirdCast’s newest advances provide detailed flight forecasts of millions of birds.

Four Amazing Impacts of This A.I.-Powered Bird Migration Tracker

A reimagined tool called BirdCast is helping birders, scientists and even farmers

An artist’s illustration of Quetzalcoatlus flying

How Pterosaurs Might Inform the Next Generation of Flight

After paleontologists cracked the secrets of the ancient flying reptiles, researchers are thinking about how to harness their methods

An Azores bullfinch feeds on the buds of a native tree on São Miguel Island in the Azores.

One of Europe’s Most Endangered Birds Is Bouncing Back

Twenty years of habitat restoration has helped the once critically endangered Azores bullfinch

Researchers have found bouts of REM-like activity in cuttlefish.

Do Other Animals Dream?

Researchers are finding signs of multiple phases of sleep all over the animal kingdom, including some that look very much like REM

The female whale was found stranded in January on a beach near Palm Coast, Florida.

How an Orca Skeleton Made Its Way From Florida to the Smithsonian

Washed up in a rare stranding event, the newly collected specimen will offer rich exploration for researchers

Savannah elephants walk through tall grass in Tsavo, a region in south-eastern Kenya. Trouble often begins when elephants stray from a protected area into human-dominated landscapes.

Inside the Effort to Prevent Conflict Between Humans and Elephants in Africa

Conservationists are inserting beehives as deterrents around farms and building craft breweries that reward farmers for pachyderm-friendly practices

Having native plants in a garden can create a good environment for caterpillars, which are hearty food for birds

Why You Should Grow Native Plants in Your Garden

Entomologist Doug Tallamy explains how doing so can help insects and birds

A pod of ancient Nacional cacao offers hope for reforesting Ecuador’s Pacific coast, which by some estimates has lost 98 percent of its original forest cover over the past century.

The Quest to Save the World’s Most Coveted Chocolate

For these ambitious scientists in the rainforests of Ecuador, helping the environment has never tasted so sweet

Across the United States, around 70 percent of coal travels by rail.

Using A.I. to Track Air Pollution From Open-Top Coal Trains

Scientists in California are working with communities—and a suite of tools—to better monitor air quality

A mule deer crosses a road near Aspen, Colorado.

How Roads Have Transformed the Natural World

A brief history of road ecology, the scientific discipline that is helping us understand our impact on the environment and how to diminish it

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Ten Wildlife Photographers Zoom In on Their Favorite Birds

Get up close and personal with a birder’s-eye view of the United States, as reflected by our beloved feathered neighbors

Photo of the day

Kenya's Amboseli National Park and its surrounding areas are home to a very special kind of elephant: The Super Tuskers. Bulls whose tusks weigh in excess of 100 pounds each, often reaching all the way to the ground. There are said to be only just over 20 left on earth, with the most famous one of them all being Craig, a 52 year old bull believed to have the largest tusks of any African elephant alive today, walking past me in this photograph. A Giant Walks Past