Photo by Pete McBride @pedromcbride | Droughts have put pressure on pastoralists and wildlife across northern Kenya, often leading to conflict between humans and elephants. Thanks to the community-based conservation work of @NRT_Kenya and others, the number of elephants killed in human-wildlife conflicts and/or for poaching their ivory has dropped 97% between 2012 and 2018 in community-managed conservancies. For more on wildlife conservation, follow @pedromcbride #elephants #Kenya #wildlife
Photo by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | What is your connection to the sea? For these three Hawaiian sisters, surfing is their life. Believe it or not, their names are Heavenly, Miracle, and Virtuous. At the crack of dawn, they stand with surfboards in hand at Makaha beach and assess the morning swell. They live and breathe the ocean every day of their lives. To see more from this magical corner of the world, please #FollowMe at @PaulNicklen. With @CristinaMittermeier and @SeaLegacy
Photo by Martin Schoeller @martinschoeller | Adam Eli, activist: «The best way to celebrate queer love is by fighting for those who do not currently have that privilege. The freedom to love openly is inextricably bound with social responsibility. Queer people anywhere are responsible to help queer people everywhere.»
For more stories and portraits, follow me @martinschoeller and @martinschoellerstudio.
Photos by Christian Ziegler @christianziegler and Joris van Alphen @jorisvanalphen | We captured these two leopards in our camera traps—one at an elevation of 2,000 meters in the Himalaya, and the other at sea level, in Royal Manas National Park, Bhutan. Big cats, like these leopards, need large home ranges to hunt sufficient prey. To maintain healthy populations of wild cats, we need to protect large expanses of undisturbed habitat. In Bhutan, more then 50% of the country is under protection, and undisturbed habitat extends from 100 meters above sea level to over 5,000 meters. @insidenatgeo supported me with a grant for this work. #Bhutan #Conservation #Himalayas #RoyalManasNationalPark
Follow me @christianziegler for more wildlife and nature stories.
Photo by Kirsten Luce @kirstenluce | For the June 2019 issue of National Geographic, writer @natashaldaly and I traveled the world to document the state of captive wildlife tourism. We spent a month in Thailand, where an elephant encounter is at the top of most tourists’ lists, and we visited many venues where elephants spent their lives performing for or posing with tourists.
However, Elephant Valley in Chiang Rai, Thailand, was among the most responsible elephant sanctuaries that we visited. Here elephants are allowed to interact with one another and have a large swath of land to call home. Tourists are instructed to observe them from a safe distance, instead of climbing all over them or riding them like they do at other elephant attractions.
Photo by Brian Skerry @BrianSkerry | A shortfin mako shark in New Zealand swims toward the surface in morning light. Makos are one of the fastest fish in the sea, capable of bursts up to 60 mph. Of all shark species, they have one of the largest brains, relative to body size. The numbers of makos have declined worldwide due to overfishing and the demand for shark fins. They are currently listed as vulnerable.
Photographed #onassignment for @natgeo. To see more sharks and ocean wildlife photos, #follow @BrianSkerry #sharks #NZ #savesharks
Photo by Lucas Foglia @lucasfogliaphoto | Seon Jerrick holds a gold doré bar from Canadian-owned Aurora Gold Mine, the largest such operation in the rainforest in Guyana. At the mine, trucks haul ore to be crushed and mixed with cyanide, which leaches out the precious metal. Gold is the biggest threat to the rainforest in Guyana. Gold is the country’s number one export, and there’s more of the metal, as well as diamonds and other minerals, under the forest floor.
Photo by Beverly Joubert @beverlyjoubert | Up close to the dominant male of the infamous buffalo-hunting Tsaro pride in the Duba Plains in the Okavango. Recently the pride has largely changed its go-to prey to the thriving population of red lechwe. The numbers of these swamp-dwelling antelope have increased enormously in the last decade, since hunting ended on this concession. It’s good news for these big cats because the buffalo move seasonally (and are a much more dangerous prey). But the smaller size of these antelope means that the lions need to hunt more often. Dominant male lions (being male lions) will take advantage of the lionesses’ kills, if possible, rather than expend energy hunting for themselves. How do they know when a kill happens? Often it is by following vultures, whose sudden flocks are quick giveaway of a possible meal. Here the male watches vultures fly overhead before deciding whether or not to follow them. #Thisismytrophy#bigcats #okavangolions #lion
Photo by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti @paolowoods and @gabrielegalimbertiphoto | Florence, Italy—Last month we celebrated Leonardo da Vinci, who died 500 years ago. Walter Conti is a street artist authorized by the municipality of Florence to dress up like Leonardo da Vinci. He usually stands near the entrance of the Uffizi Galleries and lets tourists take photographs with him. Being Leonardo takes time: Each day, he spends an hour and a half getting into his disguise. #florence #leonardo #davinci #leonardodavinci
Photo by Robin Hammond @hammond_robin | “I remember the Stonewall riots,” says John Swallow from his home in Florida. “When I heard that it was the drag queens that went out that door after those police, I just stood up and cheered.” This month marks 50 years since the Stonewall riots in New York City—an uprising by the LGBTQI+ community against the discrimination they regularly faced. It is widely considered the most important event leading to the LGBTQI+ liberation movement. John, or Miss JoAnn when in drag, is a gay man. He began performing in drag in the ’70s. Now he lives in a gay-friendly retirement community outside Miami. “In most places you always have to be on guard. Here you’re free to be who you wanna be, love who you wanna love.” The struggle in the U.S. is far from over, as can be seen in our story published today in @natgeo to mark the anniversary. To see more of this series from the U.S. and around the world, follow @whereloveisillegal