Mafraj Radio Episode 12: Tracking Leopards and Drones in Yemen

On this episode we speak with American freelance journalist Gaar Adams about protecting Yemen's environment and wildlife, and to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's Jack Serle about reporting on drone strikes and casualties.

Our interview with Gaar Adams focuses on the work of the Foundation for Endangered Wildlife (formerly the Foundation for the Protection of the Arabian Leopard in Yemen), which has been working to protect the Arabian Leopard and other wildlife in Yemen for several years. Al Jazeera produced an excellent documentary featuring FEW in 2012. Gaar is writing a series of articles on FEW's work for Beacon, the online publishing platform we've mentioned before. The first and second installments of his series are available at Beacon now. Follow Gaar on Twitter for links to his latest work.

Jack Serle has worked as a reporter for The Bureau of Investigative Journalism since 2012. He and his colleagues were awarded the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2013 for their work on drones and America's covert war. The group provide up-to-date data on US strikes in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia, including as much information as is available on the casualties of those strikes.

Jack mentions two excellent books on US covert actions, Jeremy Scahill's Dirty Wars (which is also an Oscar-nominated film), and Mark Mazzetti's The Way of the Knife. He also mentions some excellent reporting done by Iona Craig, who exposed the role of Saudi Arabia in the air campaign in Yemen. One of the best pieces of recent journalism on this subject is Gregory Johnsen's latest piece for Buzzfeed.

Editor's note: The interviews featured on this episode are great, and Gaar and Jack are both outstanding journalists. That said, this isn't quite the episode I'd hoped to put out. We work hard at the YPP to make sure that Yemeni voices--and a diverse range of Yemeni voices--are heard and promoted. I don't like putting out episodes that only feature non-Yemeni speakers, or that only feature male voices. Unfortunately sometimes I can't get the interviews I want, when I want them. Often this is due to the technological and logistical hurdles involved in recording interviews from Yemen, and sometimes it's just a matter of schedules not coming together. This time it was a bit of both. Rest assured, we have some great interviews lined up for upcoming episodes with a bit more diversity than is featured here. And none of that should detract from the fact that this is a great episode, too. Enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts on our Facebook page.