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Carl Safina
Carl Safina is a MacArthur Fellow, Pew Fellow and Guggenheim Fellow, a professor at Stony Brook University and founding president of The Safina Center (formerly Blue Ocean Institute). His books include "Song for the Blue Ocean," "The View From Lazy Point" and "A Sea in Flames.” Safina hosts the 10-part series "Saving the Ocean," which can be seen free at

Entries by Carl Safina

The Passenger Pigeon, A Requiem

(4) Comments | Posted September 2, 2014 | 4:11 PM

September 1, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the extinction of what had been the most abundant bird in the Americas, and likely the world.

By 1850, the Passenger Pigeon was still the most abundant bird in the Americas. Around that same time, a long-distance migrant bird called the...

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A Tortoise Isn't a Billboard, Except in Aspen

(2) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 7:30 PM

The Aspen Art Museum might be doing tortoises a favor but probably isn't. In a new exhibit linked to the opening of a $45-million new facility, an artist named Cai Guo-Qiang, who was born in China and lives in New York, has glued iPads to several African spurred...

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Enjoy the Show: Learn More After 'Sharknado 2'

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2014 | 5:20 PM

People-eating sharks whipped up in a tornado, Manhattan as an ice-capped frozen wasteland, and solar flares that rapidly increase the temperature of the Earth's core resulting in cataclysmic earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and biblical-scale flooding. Over-the-top? Yes. Based on science? Loosely, at best. And that's just fine with us.

Hollywood blockbusters...

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Government Says Eat Fish, Not Too Much, Mostly Low in Mercury

(2) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 1:31 PM

Co-authored by Elizabeth Brown

A few days ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released updated draft advice on fish consumption for childbearing aged women and young children.

The new advice encourages pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, breastfeeding women,...

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Mercury in Seafood: A Little Clarity

(1) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 3:47 PM

One of the most dangerous yet confusing toxic pollutants is mercury in seafood. Mercury is very bad for developing fetuses and children, and seafood is very good for them. But mercury is in all seafood. Like I said: confusing.

Last summer a friend caught a quite large bigeye tuna,...

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Eating Seafood: Health Boon or Health Threat?

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 7:03 PM

By Carl Safina and Elizabeth Brown

Since 2001, the federal government has issued warnings about the risks associated with eating certain fish that contain high levels of mercury. For decades, human industrial activities have emitted large amounts of mercury in the air, which then settles in our waters and...

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Cruelty, Not Culture, in Japan's Dolphin Hunt

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2014 | 2:59 PM

I just read, "A Veterinary and Behavioral Analysis of Dolphin Killing Methods Currently Used in the 'Drive Hunt' in Taiji, Japan," in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. And as we'll see, the "new" method creates such terror that it would be illegal to kill cows in...

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Gas Fracking: No Time for Nuance

(41) Comments | Posted August 4, 2013 | 8:07 PM

My friend Andrew Revkin, whom I greatly respect, has lately been pointing out certain problems with critiques of gas fracking, and pointing out how it could be greatly improved.

They want more gas until something better can come along. This is the "bridge" argument. Those proponents viewing fracking...

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A New Idea to Protect Wild Salmon

(4) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 8:27 PM

A few years ago I visited Southeast Alaska and saw more salmon than I thought I'd ever see in my entire life. The question: will they be there for our next generation?

Southeast Alaska is one of the last places in the United States where wild salmon still thrive. A...

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An Elephant Named Tim

(5) Comments | Posted April 28, 2013 | 3:54 PM

There are about 300 elephants in this group. They're doing a lot of roaring and trumpeting. It's unusual for them to be so vocal. But with the mating we just witnessed, they've had a lot of excitement. And there are a lot of smells in the air.

Tim, an...

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When Elephants Kill Cows

(9) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 1:39 PM

Soila Sayialel of the Amboseli Trust for Elephants is behind the wheel as we drive to headquarters in Amboseli National Park in Kenya for an appointment to pay two men for three cows killed by elephants. The events have been verified by rangers. Why give money? Because when elephants kill...

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Elephants -- Two Things Worth Watching

(3) Comments | Posted March 17, 2013 | 6:31 PM

In Roman times, elephants roamed Africa from the shores of the Mediterranean to the Cape of Good Hope. They were soon hunted out of North Africa. In 1800, an estimated 26 million still inhabited most of the continent.

Now, shrunk from perhaps 90 percent of their former range by sprawling...

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As Sharks Approach Fin-ish Line at CITES, China and Japan Hope to Sink Them

(14) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 5:41 PM

BANGKOK -- At the sixteenth conference of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), delegates in a special committee voted in favor of listing five of the world's most threatened shark species on the Convention's Appendix II. This would allow only regulated, sustainable trade of these species.

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Kenya 5: Saving Elephants Amid Poverty

(4) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 10:02 PM

Today the staff of Save the Elephants and the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund sponsored a trip to bring kids from the nearby village of Attan into Samburu Reserve to see elephants.

Most, if not all -- including the teacher -- had never seen an elephant, even...

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Kenya 4: A Lesson in Elephant Sex

(1) Comments | Posted February 3, 2013 | 2:24 PM

I watched wild elephants mating today. I don't know about you, but -- first time for me.
I'm in Kenya working on a new book about the lives of animals.

Elephants have a unique mating system. First of all, females live together in families: a matriarch, her grown...

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Kenya 3: Collaring an Elephant to Help Against Poaching

(2) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 2:10 PM

Researchers are trying to build an "alarm collar." It's a new kind of collar that can show if an elephant is up, down, or running. They hope to eventually use that information to more quickly dispatch rangers to try to catch poachers before they get too far.

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Kenya 2; Visiting the Sheldrick Trust Part Two

(1) Comments | Posted January 31, 2013 | 7:31 AM

One of the Trust's keepers comes to me. "You Carl?," he asks in a near-whisper. "When the elephants leave the tourist area, follow me."

I am in Kenya walking in the bush, researching a new book on the lives of animals. Young, orphaned elephants surround me. They are moving and...

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From the Front Lines of Africa's Elephant Slaughter

(0) Comments | Posted January 28, 2013 | 9:48 PM

A Series: Kenya 1; Visiting the Sheldrick Trust Part One

Today in the course of researching a new book on the lives of animals, I visited the famed elephant orphanage at the Sheldrick Trust. I got a privileged view.

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Eating Tuna: What's in Your Roll? What's in Your Can?

(1) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 4:00 PM

By Daniel Madigan and Carl Safina

This is a personal story. Madigan was part of the team that discovered Fukushima-derived radionuclides in Pacific bluefin swimming in California waters. It was a fascinating story for its science.

But also amazing was the intensity of public reaction to extremely...

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Let's Stick to Facts on Evolutionary Theory

(70) Comments | Posted December 3, 2012 | 9:31 AM

In a column elevated by erudition but ultimately marred by muddled thinking, Nicholas Wade, writing in The New York Times tells us that, because U.S. Senator Mark Rubio answered a reporter's question about the age of Earth with a moronic dodge, scientists should respond by admitting that evolution...

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