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PERU: Land of monumental surprises

“‘One of my favorite things about boating up the Tambopata River is stopping to watch butterflies drinking turtle tears,’ enthuses entomologist Phil Torres. ‘The male butterflies do this to access valuable salt that they can give as a gift to the females.’

It’s the sort of scenario that seems more likely to have been inspired by a fairy tale than a biology textbook, but this part of the Amazon is full of such stories. Torres and fellow scientist Jason Goldman lead tours for Brooklyn, New York–based Atlas Obscura and a week spent with them is full of intriguing anecdotes featuring creatures that weren’t even known to science until recently.”

June 2019


Decoding the great monarch butterfly migration

“The monarch butterfly migration is one of nature’s greatest events. This orange-winged wonder travels up to 4,500 km from all over North America to spend the winter hanging from oyamel fir trees in central Mexico’s mountain forests. But how does an animal with a brain the size of a poppy seed navigate to this one special place, especially since the last monarchs to make the trip lived 4 or 5 generations earlier? Get ready for an amazing story of science, instinct, and navigation.”

April 9, 2019



“Each year, as winter gives way to spring, monarch butterflies leave the safety of their wintering grounds in central Mexico and migrate north. This means that places like the El Rosario butterfly sanctuary in Mexico are perfect for marveling at the tens of millions of monarch butterflies surrounding you. But the history behind the scientific discoveries and the significance to the local culture are just as fascinating as the butterflies themselves.”

April 9, 2019

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‘Wild L.a.’ is your guide to discover the vibrant nature around los angeles

“The book's fourth co-author, Jason Goldman, a science journalist who has written for Scientific American and BBC Earth, joins us virtually by phone from the Peruvian Amazon, where he's leading a group of travelers through a jungle. He says they've seen jaguars, giant river otters and macaws. Amazing creatures, indeed, but that's not to overshadow the spectacular fauna and flora back home.”

March 15, 2019


The tiny sticker that traveled more than a thousand miles on the wing of a butterfly

“In the montane forest of central Mexico, the butterflies are everywhere. At the right time of year, they twirl in the air like scraps of confetti. The sound of millions of pairs of wings reminds some listeners of the patter of rain. They come to roost on the feathery oyamel or sacred fir trees, turning green boughs black and orange, and making them sag toward the ground. Sometimes the butterflies cluster on the floor of the forest, where they nectar on colorful flowers. They gather there in death, too.”

March 7, 2019


Why working as a travel guide or cruise lecturer can be an effective form of science outreach

“Long trips also allow for more-nuanced discussions. Jason Goldman, a former animal-cognition researcher who is now a freelance science journalist in Los Angeles, California, and travel guide…talks about complex conservation issues during his ecology-themed tours. “It’s a sustained, multi-day-long conversation with your audience,” he says. He hopes that the information will encourage people to change their consumer behaviour and choose responsible ecotourism operators for future trips.”

October 10, 2018


Yes, these butterflies are drinking turtle tears

“By the time he was 20, entomologist Phil Torres had already discovered 40 new insect species on research expeditions in Venezuela and Mongolia. Since then he's spent two years doing conservation science in the Amazon jungle and his jobs doing research and hosting science programs take him to all corners of planet Earth. So to say he's seen more than most of us is an understatement. But while he was traveling down the Tambopata River in Peru, he saw something pretty rare — something he said was "one of the most bizarre, strange, beautiful, fascinating things I have ever seen in my entire life."

July 26, 2018