LISTEN LIVE: All Things Considered



Animal Migration: Imperiled Journeys45:36

This article is more than 11 years old.

Birds do it. Snakes do it. A changing planet’s making it harder. We look at animal migration.

Pronghorn near Medicine Hat, Alberta (Courtesy of National Geographic: Joel Sartore with Nathan Williamson)
Pronghorn near Medicine Hat, Alberta (Courtesy of National Geographic: Joel Sartore with Nathan Williamson)

Seasons change – a chill, a frost, a lick of warmth – and it’s migration time all over the world.

Birds do it, whales do it, butterflies, wildebeest and zebra, even snakes do it. They make remarkable journeys over mountains, seas and plains - and massive distances. Some do it and die. Some do it again and again. Some do it over generations.

It’s majestic and humbling for humans to see. A powerful reminder of deep natural cycles. But it’s getting harder.  Climate change scrambles the map. Human development blocks the way.

We look at great tales of migration.
-Tom Ashbrook

David Quammen, award-winning science, nature and travel writer. His article Animal Migrationsis the November 2010 cover story in National Geographic. You can listen back to his On Point interview for his book "Monsters of God."

Joel Berger, professor of wildlife conservation at the University of Montana and senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. He directs the Pronghorn migration corridor conservation project in Greater Yellowstone Park. He also studies the impact of energy development and climate change on musk ox in the Alaskan Arctic, and antelopes in Mongolia.

Scott Weidensaul, science writer and expert on bird migration, including owls and hummingbirds. He has written more than 24 books on natural history, including "Of A Feather: A Brief History of American Birding" and "Return to Wild America: A Yearlong Search for the Continent’s Natural Soul."

Some National Geographic footage:  

And some interesting other wildlife video:

This program aired on November 5, 2010.