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Young monks don sunglasses before dozens of butter lamps at Swayambhunath Stupa, a Buddhist temple in Kathmandu Valley. Photo Tip: Your subject doesn’t always have to be in the center of the frame and looking directly at the camera.
Subscribe to National Geographic magazine and save. Print and digital editions available for as little as $12. Bikers on an Exodus Travels tour often see scenes like this Sherpa and yak in Nepal's Khumbu, near Everest.
Iran: Behind the HeadlinesSince GeoEx first dipped its toe in Iran 19 years ago, its tour business here has remained brisk despite the news stories coming out of Tehran. If you set to work to believe everything, you will tire out the believing-muscles of your mind, and then you'll be so weak you won't be able to believe the simplest true things. Rivaling the price of gold on the black market, rhino horn is at the center of a bloody poaching battle. Game scouts found this black rhino bull wandering Zimbabwe's Savé Valley Conservancy after poachers shot it several times and hacked off both its horns. Blindfolded and tranquilized, a black rhino is airlifted in a ten-minute helicopter ride from South Africa's Eastern Cape Province to a waiting truck that will deliver it to a new home some 900 miles away. Former Australian Special Forces sniper Damien Mander teaches a class of game ranger trainees how to fire a shotgun at Nakavango game reserve in Zimbabwe. South African wildlife officials store horns collected from rhinos that died of natural causes in national and provincial parks, as well as horns seized from poachers. A white rhino calf romps with a juvenile in a game park holding pen in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal Province. A decomposing rhino with its horns cut off lies where it was strangled in a poacher's wire snare on a private game reserve not far from Kruger National Park in South Africa. Preparing a hunter's killAfter a hunt on a private game farm, a slab of rhino meat hangs in cold storage.
A white rhino cow (at left) grazes with a bull that has become her companion after a poaching attack in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa.

Cutting off the horn to save the rhinoA veterinarian cuts the horns from an anesthetized white rhino cow at a game farm in North-West Province, South Africa. Cutting off the horn to save the rhinoSome critics of dehorning say it leaves the animals unprotected against natural predators. Cutting off the horn to save the rhinoThe anesthetized rhino is left to wake in a field after the dehorning procedure. Dehorned to deter poachers, a tame northern white rhino, one of only seven of the subspecies known to survive, grazes under the watch of rangers from Kenya's Ol Pejeta Conservancy.
The gold-spired stupa is also known as the “Monkey Temple,” named for the population of rhesus monkeys that roam its grounds. Returning clients regularly remark on “the warmth expressed by people on the streets,” says Jim Sano, the company’s president. Veterinarians had to euthanize the animal because its shattered shoulder couldn't support its weight. Designed to extricate the animals gently from difficult terrain, the airlifts are part of an effort to relocate endangered black rhinos to areas better suited to increasing their numbers as well as their range. By adding a little water and rubbing the horn over the dish's sandpaper-like bottom, she creates a solution that many Asians believe is a super-vitamin and a cure for various maladies. Rangers staked out the site, but when the poacher didn't return, reserve officials removed the horns. Each year South Africa's parks sell off game animals, including rhinos, when populations exceed available resources. Using a helicopter, a gang tracked her and her four-week-old calf, shot her with a tranquilizer dart, and cut off her horns with a chain saw. Advocates argue that the absence of horns deters poachers and reduces the number of rhinos that die of wounds from fights over territory and mates. Transferred along with three other northern whites from a zoo in the Czech Republic, the rhinos, which had not produced offspring in captivity, were brought to the wild in a last-ditch effort to breed them back from the brink of extinction. In the past six years poachers have killed more than a thousand African rhinos for their horns, which are smuggled to Asia for use in traditional medicines.

Few scientific studies have been conducted on rhino horn's medicinal benefits, and the results have been inconclusive.
The proceeds fund conservation projects, and game farmers breed them for hunters and ecotourism.
Rangers found her a week later, searching for her calf, which had died, probably of starvation and dehydration. Guests are typically the only Westerners in Mashad, Iran’s most important Shiite pilgrimage site.
Conservationists credit the system for expanding rhino numbers during the past 20 years but say in recent years the system has been corrupted by rogue hunters and game farmers involved in the illegal horn trade. Sip teas at their origin in Xishuangbanna, participate in tea ceremonies, and stay at a tea plantation.
Woven into the itinerary are cultural forays off the river—sharing a traditional dinner with a Laotian family or attending a service at a Cao Dai temple in Vietnam, whose adherents worship Jesus, Confucius, and Buddha. Discover the city’s lavish bazaars and royal heritage on the first stop of this history-focused voyage throughout the country’s less traveled south. But hardy cyclists will be rewarded for their efforts with visits to the remote Sera Monastery and palaces of the Dalai Lama, as well as stunning views of the Himalaya, including the North Face of Everest. Here’s a trek that takes you far from the popular sites of Mandalay and Pagan into the Lisu and Rawan hill country at the base of the easternmost Himalaya. Only in recent years opened to foreigners, this region is the gateway to the 19,295-foot Mount Hkakabo Razi and home to tribes descended from Tibetans.
This privately guided tour lets you play: You can scuba dive, horseback ride, mountain bike, climb, and rappel on this family-friendly spin through Haifa, Galilee, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Eilat, and Tel Aviv.
Here in the shadow of the Annapurna Range, you’ll explore ancient Buddhist monasteries and meet ethnically Tibetan villagers in remote communities at around 13,000 feet that have changed little in the past century.

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