Journalist Rachael Bale was the executive editor of National Geographic’s Animal Desk until fall 2022, where she oversaw the publication’s storytelling about animals and managed Wildlife Watch, a National Geographic Partners/National Geographic Society investigative reporting project dedicated to shining a light on wildlife crime and exploitation. She has reported on wildlife crime since 2015. Her most recent story was on cheetah cub trafficking in the Horn of Africa. Previously, she worked at the Center for Investigative Reporting in California and the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. A California native, Bale has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Reed College and a master’s degree in journalism from American University. She lives in Denver, Colorado. Follow her on Twitter at @rachael_bale.