natgeo Photo by @brentstirton | Today is World Pangolin Day. Here’s one of these unique and fascinating animals in the loving arms of a caregiver from the #tikkihywoodtrust in Zimbabwe. Tragically, this rescued animal represents the world’s most trafficked mammal, with over a million pangolins disappearing into the Asian trade over the last ten years. Pangolin scale seizures have been huge in recent years, with a pattern that seems to suggest it is superseding ivory as a business for traffickers. Recent findings by Chinese researchers have established that pangolins carry viruses that are closely related to 2019-nCoV, the current coronavirus. Two researchers at South China Agricultural University in Guangzhou suggest the pangolin is a potential source of 2019-nCoV, based on a genetic comparison of coronaviruses taken from the animals and from humans infected in the outbreak. The sequences are 99% similar. China is already addressing the illegal pangolin trade; as of January, the country’s national insurance program no longer covers medicines containing pangolin products. Now with the evidence that pangolins could be a vector for the current outbreak, China is seriously reconsidering its wildlife consumption. Given the ongoing cost of this outbreak, this may be one of the few silver linings. #pangolins #virus #WorldPangolinDay #conservation #endangeredspecies
natgeo Photo by @thomaspeschak | This is one of the first photographs I ever took of a great white shark, made around 2002. Shot on slide film off the coast of South Africa, the energy and power that exudes from this apex predator nearly leaping out of the frame are still so palpable 18 years later. For more images of great white sharks follow @thomaspeschak.
natgeo Photo by @jasperdoest | Flamingo Bob keeps an eye on the world while resting. Have you ever noticed a sleeping flamingo standing on one leg and maintaining perfect posture? This is because birds, like fish, also possess the ability to sleep with half of their brains. In the flamingo’s case, this is thought to allow them to keep standing on the leg that is controlled by the "awake" side of the brain, while the other brain hemisphere sleeps, allowing them to lower their metabolism and reap sleep’s other benefits. Some can even sleep with one eye open. This ability is called unihemispheric slow-wave sleep, and it is believed to help animals be alert to potential predators.
Find out more about Flamingo Bob in the February issue of the magazine or follow @jasperdoest. #birdrescue #flamingo #prettyinpink #flamingobob
Check out Nat Geo's Instagram story today for more.
natgeo Photo by Robin Hammond @Hammond_Robin | This Valentine's Day I’m thinking about Abdesattar (left) and his boyfriend, Walid (right), from Tunisia. Because of hostile attitudes toward same-sex relationships in the region and laws that make some consensual same-sex acts a crime, they had kept their relationship hidden. “We moved from place to place, lied to families and friends. We had to pretend, and to be someone else,” said Walid. “We love each other and we will never give up on each other, whatever happens.” As a symbol of their commitment, they tattooed each other's names on their chests. In an act of defiance, they took off their tops to show their tattoos—they would not hide their love any longer. They chose to tell their story for my project that amplifies the voices of #LGBTQ people around the world. @WhereLoveIsIllegal #valentinesday
natgeo Photos by @estherhorvath | How do you prepare for the largest Arctic Ocean science expedition in history—which lasts a year and is not only weeks away from the nearest civilization but will be under the cover of total darkness for six months?
Participants in the MOSAiC expedition, which embarked on September 20, had to undergo intense safety and security training to prepare for working on the sea ice and be able to handle any emergency situation. They had to learn how rescue themselves and others in different situations, like using a life raft or a helicopter in case of an abandoned ship, or how to fight fire on the vessel. The training also included polar bear safety—to protect both participants and polar bears—which is required in order to work in the land of polar bears. This is from the @natgeo article, "Scientists are about to spend a year trapped in Arctic ice.”
natgeo Photo by @FransLanting | We celebrate World Bonobo Day (February 14) with this image. You’re looking at a female bonobo playing with an infant by balancing it on her feet—a game any human parent can relate to. Bonobos engage in social interactions that we have long associated as exclusively human: They play, and express empathy. Compared with chimps, bonobo brains appear to be more developed in areas vital to emotions, such as feeling empathy and sensing distress in others. I made this image at @Lolayabonobo, a remarkable sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where individual animals confiscated from the illegal wildlife trade are given a new lease on life. Perhaps fewer than 10,000 bonobos live in the jungles of the Congo Basin, the only place where they occur in the wild. Their survival depends on our ability to apply the same kind of compassion for them that we cherish so much in ourselves. Follow me @FransLanting and Christine Eckstrom for more stories about the connections between us and our relatives on the great tree of life. @thephotosociety #Bonobos #Chimps #Apes #Play #WorldBonoboDay
natgeo Photo by @lucasfogliaphoto | In order to catch people hunting off season, rangers at the Wyoming Game and Fish Department office in Pinedale brought a taxidermic elk into the wild and waited for someone to shoot at it.
natgeo Photo by @paulnicklen | A fisherman changes his fly on the Hvita River, in Iceland. The country boasts the cleanest and healthiest salmon rivers in the world. Although Iceland does not have the largest trophy fish, they do have extremely healthy returns. Many scientists attribute this to the lack of fish farms in key areas where wild adult and smolt salmon leave and return to the rivers. In Canada, open-net fish farms, located along migratory paths of wild salmon, are destroying ecosystems and poisoning wild salmon stocks. Follow me @PaulNicklen to learn more about sustainable fisheries and how we can make choices that are also good for our ocean. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #Beauty #Iceland
natgeo Photo by George Steinmetz @geosteinmetz | The Sahara was once a much wetter place than it is today, and you can see that in the lakes of northern Chad. Freshwater that fell from rains thousands of years ago is still seeping out of the sands along the edge of the lake. It irrigates the date palms on the shore before it evaporates under the relentless sun and incessant winds. Climate change is nothing new here; it’s just happening a lot faster. #hyperarid #paramotor To explore more of our earth from above, follow @geosteinmetz.
natgeo Photo by Trevor Frost @tbfrost | Meet Keanu, a one-year-old male ocelot destined for the illegal wildlife trade before being rescued by @hojanueva. There, Keanu is being reintroduced, or re-wilded, by Harry Turner and Sam Zwicker on 5,000 acres of protected rainforest along the Las Piedras River in the Madre de Dios region of Peru. To see videos of Keanu learning to become a wild cat, go to @tbfrost
natgeo Photo by Frans Lanting @franslanting | I’m sharing this image of a young orangutan in recognition of World Orangutan Day. He has reason to look distraught. Nearly half of all orangutans—a staggering 150,000, in all—vanished from Borneo in the past 15 years, due to destruction of their forest habitat and the impact of the wild pet trade. This orphaned young male was rescued and brought to a rehab center, but he won’t have much of a future unless we protect the forests all orangutans depend on for their survival. I welcome you to support the organizations that are on the front lines of helping orangutans, with public activities as well as covert operations aimed at busting wildlife criminals. @World_Wildlife and @WildAid need your help. And follow me @FransLanting for more encounters with endangered animals around the world.
@leonardodicapriofdn #WorldOrangutanDay #Borneo #Family #Twins #Orphans #Endangered #Wildlife
natgeo Photo by Charlie Hamilton James @chamiltonjames I Blood drips from the beak of a Rüppell's griffin vulture in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park. Vultures are important to the eco-system as they consume and remove animal carcasses that could otherwise spread disease—in fact they consume more meat than all the other scavengers and predators combined on the plains of East Africa. They are in serious decline across most of their ranges due to habitat loss and poisoning. So let's have a little love for them.
natgeo Photos by Charlie Hamilton James @chamiltonjames | Fires raged in the Brazilian Amazon during 2017 in Araribóia, indigenous territory in the state of Maranhão. Some were started by farmers trying to clear land for crops or cattle, others started to cover up illegal logging operations, and some were natural. When these images were shot, the Brazilian Amazon had just experienced its worst year on record for forest fires—now 2019 is likely to eclipse that. Maranhão, like so many other states within the Amazon, has been extensively logged, and just a few pockets of original forest remain. The rest of the land has been turned over to agriculture and cattle ranches. Within a few miles of where these pictures were taken live some of the last remaining uncontacted Awã people—made famous across the world a few weeks ago, when footage of them was released. The forests in Araribóia are protected by a disparate group of underfunded firefighters made up of brave and dedicated Guajajara tribe members, volunteers, and FUNAI (the National Indian Foundation) employees who take on fires, sometimes armed with nothing more than machetes.
natgeo Photo by @ladzinski | The face of a warrior. This lion is 11 years old, battle worn and still holding strong. He’s held a solitary pride on the fringe of Kruger National Park for the last 5 years. It’s a place rich with lions meaning he’s faced countless battles to retain his Royal position as king of his territory. For a lone male to accomplish this is no easy task and in his time he’s reared dozens upon dozens of cubs. His face is a badge of honor in the lion world, hieroglyphs displaying a history of violent life at the top of the food chain.
natgeo Photo by Ken Geiger @kengeiger | Here, one might say that "simba" translates as "caution, speed bump ahead." But of course simba means "lion" in Swahili. This guy, after spending most of the day feasting on a kudu, decided to take his evening nap in the middle of the road. Speed limits in Kruger National Park are low, making wildlife safety the priority over tourist vehicles. #krugernationalpark #lion #SouthAfrica
To explore more images of the #Africa follow @KenGeiger
natgeo Photos by Tim Laman @timlaman | Birds of paradise have a reason to celebrate this year on Earth Day: the Province of West Papua, where 16 of the 40 birds of paradise are found, has declared its commitment to set aside 70% of the land as protected forest! Swipe to see four of the species found only in West Papua, Indonesia: Vogelkop superb, red, Wilson’s, and western parotia. See more @TimLaman as we celebrate this Earth Day! Birds of paradise are the global ambassadors for conservation of the forests of Papua. #conservationprovince #TanahPapua #papua #Indonesia #birdofparadise @BirdsofParadiseProject
natgeo More than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and humans have only explored a fraction of it. With waterproof cameras, National Geographic photographers have figured out how to merge our world with the mysterious one below.
To celebrate reaching 100 million followers, we’re resharing a few photos taken at sea level you’ve liked most. Remember to post your best Nat Geo-inspired photos using the hashtag #natgeo100contest for a chance to win a Nat Geo photo safari to Tanzania. Carousel photos by @paulnicklen, @daviddoubilet, @paulnicklen, @thomaspeschak, @jenniferhayesig.
natgeo How do you prevent plastics from entering the ocean? Tell us your solutions, and staff writer Laura Parker -- who specializes in covering climate change and marine environments -- will respond with thoughts and suggestions in the comments. These recent images represent the 9 million tons of plastic waste that end up in the ocean every year. Our Planet or Plastic? initiative aims to prevent 1 billion items from reaching the ocean by 2020. Take the pledge to help at natgeo.com/plasticpledge. Photos by Justin Hofman @justinhofman ; Maarten Wouter ; and Jasper Doest @jasperdoest.
natgeo Photos by @TimLaman | Who says penguins can’t fly? An Adélie penguin leaps from the water to catch a breath and check the shoreline as it approaches Devil Island in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. See the story behind how I captured this photo @TimLaman.
This behavior, known as porpoising, is how penguins catch a breath without slowing down. Penguins actually “fly” underwater; unlike other seabirds that paddle with their feet, penguins power themselves with their small but powerful wings, thus flying through water. More @TimLaman from my recent shoot in Antarctica for @NatGeoExpeditions. #penguin #antarctica #TL_wildlifephototips
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