Photo by @PaulNicklen | Have you ever looked into the mouth of a humpback whale? I had not either until I took this photograph in Monterey Bay, California. I knew that baleen lined the edges of the mouth, but I never realized that it lined the roof of the mouth also. Once a whale engulfs a school of fish and hundreds of gallons of water along with it, they use their massive tongue to expel the water while retaining these fatty little fish called anchovies. This is what I love the most about photography. It forces me to stay longer, wait for the right moment, watch, observe, learn, wait some more and then voila in a fraction of a second, there is a moment in time, recorded, never to be lost, to share, educate and make us care a little more for these leviathans of emerald seas.
Photo by @lucianocandisani // Hyun Sun Jik, pictured first, is 91 years old and one of 4500 women divers known as Haenyeo on the island of Jeju, South Korea. Years ago, forced by socio-political circumstances, these pioneer sea women went to the sea in search of sustenance to feed their families and unknowingly founded a strong tradition. Today, Hyun and her colleagues, most between 65 and 90 years old, keep alive this 400-year-old cultural tradition of sustainable extractivism, freediving up to 15 meters below the surface to gather seafood. The universal values carried within this practice was awarded and recognized by the @UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage (ICH). These pictures are part of my new exhibition "Haenyeo: women of the sea" opening on August 31st, at 10 am, in the Sound and Image Museum, located in São Paulo, Brazil. This is a project with @vento.leste (editora Vento Leste), @mis_sp (MIS) and @ateliermarkobrajovic (Marko Brajovic).
Photo by @shawnheinrichs // This weekend the protection of endangered mako sharks and 17 other shark and ray species is up for a vote at #CoP18. We have the potential to ensure that these species, critical to the health of our ocean, earn the management and protection they need to recover. You can start #TurningTheTide for mako sharks today by signing the #CITES4Sharks petition linked in our bio, asking Canadian Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to switch their vote from "NO" to "YES," ensuring the fastest shark in the world wins its race against extinction. We are SO CLOSE to reaching our goal! Sign now and support the mako shark's @CITES Appendix II listing. #TurningTheTide with @shawnheinrichs @bluespherefoundation @thelifeofrileynz @thewcs @sharkconservationfund
Photos by @daisygilardini | After three months spent in a small maternity den, polar bear cubs really enjoy playing in the open. The cubs don’t seem to care about the cold, even with temperatures dropping as low as - 40 °C. They love chasing each other and play-fighting. Playing is important as it helps develop the various skills and agilities necessary to survive the extreme Arctic environment. This past March, I had the privilege of observing this family for after they emerged from their den. From the cubs’ behaviour we could guess that one was a male and the other a female. The female was much more shy, always following and cuddling with mama, while the male was always bugging the little sister and biting mama’s ears. A real trouble-maker! It just fills my heart with hope to see these healthy, newborns play so joyfully! Follow me @daisygilardini for more images and behind-the-scenes stories.
Photo by @PaulNicklen // What story do you think this photo tells? @PaulNicklen keeps a delicate balance of art, science, and conservation in mind when working to strengthen the world's attention and connection to the ferocious but fragile polar environments. Each photo can start a conversation or spark an interest to take action that makes lasting changes to our planet and our mindset - but only if you, the viewer, stops and asks why or what that photo means. Take a moment to bring life, understanding, and emotion to nature, and stay connected to our global movement to protect and restore our ocean by joining #TheTide, linked in our bio.
Earlier this year, an assessment from @IPBES_ and @UNenvironment detailed the stark reality of the environmental crisis: nearly 1 million plant and animal species face extinction within just a couple of decades. Strengthening proven protection like the #EndangeredSpeciesAct, which has seen the survival of 99% of its listed species, is badly needed if we want to prevent this from happening. We stand with those who denounce the Trump administration's changes to the Endangered Species Act. These changes allow economic factors to be taken into consideration when deciding the listing a new species and also weaken the protection of already listed threatened species. Join us and let administrations around the world know that #ExtinctionEndsHere. Take action right now, sign your name in support of #CITES4Sharks and fight for the protection of 18 shark and ray species in the lead up to #CoP18. Link in bio. Photo by @shawnheinrichs
Photo by @chrislinderphoto // A male Adélie penguin points its beak skyward to perform the ‘ecstatic vocalization’, a loud, staccato call advertising to females that he has made a pebble nest and is seeking a mate. Penguins also use their unique calls to find their mate/young in the colony, pair-bonding, and defending their territories from predators.
Photo by @daisygilardini | Belugas are one of the smallest species of whales distributed widely throughout the Arctic regions. They are social animals. They live in small pods and are very vocal. Their vocalizations consist of clicks, whistles, and clangs, which can resemble birds singing. Because of that, they’re sometimes called ‘canaries of the sea’ or ‘sea canaries.’ Photographing them from the surface is extremely challenging. When they emerge to breathe, you usually only see a small part of their back. To capture these beautiful creatures, it’s best to go with underwater or aerial photography. Follow me @daisygilardini for more images and behind-the-scenes stories. Shot with drone permit n. RPAS 4503, issued by Civil Aviation Authority – Norway.
Photos by @PaulNicklen // When someone says the phrase 'climate crisis' to you, what do you picture? Do you see the loss of sea ice or glaciers? The extinction of over 1,000,000 species over the next hundred years? Ocean acidification and the complete loss of coral reefs? Over the next ten years, what we do to preserve the ocean's integrity and its ability to provide for us — 70% of our oxygen, drawing down carbon, and food for billions of people worldwide — may be the most important thing we do for ten thousand years. Come with us on our journey to protect our earth’s ocean. Start #TurningTheTide through the link in our bio and tap through to our stories to hear more from our co-founder @PaulNicklen on @NPR's #FreshAir.
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // We had a big win for ocean conservation earlier this year when Canada became the first G20 country in the world to ban the import and export of shark fins. But now, Canada has announced that they will vote ‘NO’ to the proposed global trade protections of mako sharks, a critically endangered species, at #CoP18 this month. Help us ensure that the continued trade of mako sharks is both legal and sustainable — providing them the protection they so desperately need to survive. Sign the petition link in our bio asking Canadian Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to switch their votes from ‘NO’ to ‘YES,’ in favor of adding mako sharks to Appendix II of @CITES. Thank you for helping us reach over 30,000 signatures so far! With @shawnheinrichs @bluespherefoundation @vulcaninc @thewcs @sharkconservationfund @thelifeofrileynz
Photos by @PaulNicklen // Earlier this week, the Canadian government, working closely with the Qikiqtani Inuit Assocation (@qikiqtani_inuit), established a new marine protected area (MPA) in the Arctic that supports Inuit livelihoods, while protecting Arctic wildlife. With this new MPA, Canada went from protecting 4% to protecting 14% of its coastline, helping the country fulfill its promise to protect at least 10% of its coastline by 2020. Success in conservation always takes longer than it should, but patience and collaboration is crucial - and always worth it. The highest rate of warming around the world is happening in the Arctic where ice, once thought stable, is melting at rates faster than scientists originally forecasted.
Photos by @ShawnHeinrichs [Warning Graphic Content] // As regulators of the ocean, an abundance of sharks in a concentrated area usually indicates that things are working as they should. But when you start removing these apex predators, this can lead to an imbalance in that ecosystem -- everything below them will go into disarray. We are killing over 11,000 sharks every single hour, 100 million each year. A proposed @CITES Appendix II listing could help turn the tide on this needless killing, ensuring that sharks are protected from unsustainable harvesting and trade, including this endangered mako shark. Yet Canada is on the verge of voting against that protection at this month's #CoP18 conference. We need your help to persuade Canadian Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to change their vote and stand up for sharks and the ocean. Please sign the #CITES4Sharks petition, linked in our bio.
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier // From the air we breathe, to the food we eat, to the climate we live in, we all depend on a healthy and abundant ocean. So help the ocean earn the stage at this year’s @SXSW conference, vote to have our co-founder @CristinaMittermeier’s two panels, featuring global change-makers working to save our earth and ocean today, added to the lineup. Tap through to our stories to vote for both panels; “The World Is Not F’ED (Yet)” and “Powerful Influencers, Big Ocean Conservation Wins.” PS - you’ll have to make your profile before you can vote!
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier // I'm enamored with the power of imagery and its ability to transcend language, to invite people into a dialog about the ocean. I get up every day knowing that my images have the ability to drive change and find solutions for our dying world. @PaulNicklen and I are both @Sony Artisans of Imagery and we are excited to share with you an opportunity to win a Sony RX0 II camera; an incredible little camera that is waterproof up to 33ft underwater without housing, and this print from my collection taken in Cuba. Enter by following both @SeaLegacy and @SonySquareNYC and by tagging a friend in the comments with the hashtags #oceandreams and #sweeps. If you are in New York City, stop by #SonySquareNYC to see the new Ocean Dreams exhibit! See the link in our bio for official rules.
Photo by @cristinamittermeier // It's easy to forget that as individuals, we have the power to change the world and that collectively, we can go further faster. Thanks to the action and passion of over 200k people, and a coalition of organizations working together, whale hunting in Iceland has not taken place this summer - the first time in nearly 17 years. There is still much work left to ensure the protection we advocated for to #StopTheHunt is permanent, but this was a critical first step. Now, can we do it again, this time for sharks? Tag three friends in comments who you'd like to join you and sign the petition (link in our bio) to protect endangered #mako sharks by adding them to @CITES Appendix II. Link in bio and our stories. #CITES4Sharks
Photos by @ShawnHeinrichs and @thelifeofrileynz // The sharks approached our vessel fast and furious, frenetic with their jaws agape, creating the impression that one would have to be crazy to enter the water! But patience and understanding prevailed, and with @thelifeofrileynz’s experience and guidance, we dropped into the water and I finally met the king of the pelagic realm: the mako shark. Any remnants of that primal fear immediately transformed into a deep respect and appreciation. This shark was highly intelligent, curious yet cautious, not seeking to harm but rather establish her territory and discern whether we were predators or prey. Quickly recognizing we were neither, she accepted us, becoming more at ease with each pass and allowing us to interact with her for hours. If you have not spent time in the company of sharks, especially large ‘predatory’ sharks, it is hard to let go of the irrational fear that media has fuelled for so long. People protect what they love, and how do we expect delegates, many of whom may even fear or even despise sharks, to rally behind a proposal to protect them? We need to turn that fear into understanding, that hatred into compassion. Join me, @ShawnHeinrichs, in asking Canadian Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to stand up for sharks and switch their vote from "NO" to “YES," supporting the proposal to add mako sharks to Appendix II of CITES next month at #CoP18. It could mean the difference between this incredible shark's survival - or their extinction. Click the link in @sealegacy’s bio to learn more and add your voice. #CITES4Sharks
Photos by @cristinamittermeier // In all my years of diving, I have encountered many whale sharks in many places around the world. One of the things that struck me in the Galapagos was seeing how large these fish can get when protections are put in place. I also didn’t see a single whale shark sporting propeller marks. Did you know that silky sharks rub themselves on the skin of the larger sharks to clean off parasites? Scroll to the last image to see a silky shark following a whale shark. With @paulnicklen @shawnheinrichs @mishajannard @luksth
Photo by @NickHawkinsPhotography // The brilliant cobalt of a blue shark is reflected by the oceans surface off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. It is estimated that 10-20 million blue sharks are killed each year by global fisheries, much of this as a result of bycatch. We can greatly reduce this number by banning the wasteful and destructive practice of shark finning and implementing existing innovations in fishing methods that reduce the unintended catch of sharks. #TurningTheTide
Photo by @simonagerphotography // On a deep dive at Dirty Rock on Cocos Island, Costa Rica; laying patiently, barely breathing and camera lights off. The ever-skittish Hammerheads glide in from the haze, gracing us with their presence at the cleaning station. The classic image of hundreds of these highly endangered, intelligent, beautiful sharks before our eyes. A dive to remember! #TurningTheTide
Photo by Andy Casagrande @abc4explore // If you have ever been lucky enough to watch a great white shark in full predatory mode while hunting seals, ironically, it might help you to see past the negative “JAWS” stereotype that has plagued these polite predators for decades. I know this might sound illogical to most people, and many of my good sharky friends are totally against these types of images, but when you actually witness first hand a creature doing absolutely everything it can to survive, you begin to see past that JAWS hype. You can start to see into the mind and soul of an animal that is simply trying its best to survive. My entire existence is based on great white sharks, and it all started when I was just a boy who fell in love with them because I was blown away by their predatory abilities and their biological tools of survival: their jaws and teeth. The next time you see a shark with its mouth open and the “avalanche of razor blades” in full pursuit, just remember, it’s simply a prehistoric predator doing everything it can to exist. Please reevaluate your perspective of these animals, regardless of whether or not you can see their teeth. 🦈
Photo by @Ladzinski // A #GreatWhiteShark powerfully cuts through the crystal clear waters outside Guadalupe Is, Mexico. Averaging 17 feet long and lined with over 3,000 teeth, seeing one of these beautiful animals tear through the water is an unforgettably bad ass experience. Photographed alongside @andy_mann @cainedelacy @calstrin @ianvaso last summer. 🦈
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier // We all have an inherent connection to the ocean, yet some cultures embrace and celebrate it more than others. On Makaha Beach, local Hawai'ian surfers constantly feel the pull of the ocean, crave the caress of the swell and hear the waves whisper their names, as if salt water ran through their veins. Traditional Hawai'ian culture is one of protection and preservation, acting as stewards for both sea and land. We are discouraged by the events currently happening in Hawai'i around the sacred summit of Mauna Kea. Like our founders, @PaulNicklen and @CristinaMittermeier, we support the rights and voices of the Kānaki Ōiwi people, who do not want the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) built on their land. Mauna Kea is not a battleground for culture versus science, as it is often portrayed, but instead a moment to recognize the interconnectedness of the two. Join us in standing with the Kānaki Ōiwi people, tag a friend in the comments and ask them to start #TurningTheTide for #MuanaKea. @protectmaunakea @puuhuluhulu @kakoo_haleakala @kanaeokana @tiare4maui @prideofgypsies @therock
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier // With its massive pectoral fins, the oceanic whitetip shark is one of the most beautiful sharks in the world. A frequent victim of long-lines, this shark has gone from being THE most abundant predator on the planet, to critically-endangered, in less than 40 years. In a visionary move, The Bahamas protected all sharks in their waters, so small populations of whitetips persist here and it is one of the few places where you can swim with these elusive creatures. We're celebrating #SharkWeek this year with a lineup of shark photography and videos from our founders, friends and SeaLegacy Collective members. Stay tuned! 🦈
Photo by @PaulNicklen // For me, it is incredibly refreshing when a country like Ecuador realizes the true value and importance of its wild ecosystems. The rules are strict, the protections are deep and here, the wildlife comes first. To walk or dive around these islands is a chance to go back a thousand years in time. This newborn Galapagos sea lion with a face full of sand has been born into a bright future with clean beaches, waters abundant with fish and a park service that puts its rights first. Of course, like everywhere, it is not perfect and there is still work to be done but we are grateful for the opportunity to have a chance to turn our cameras towards these jewels of the sea. With @cristinamittermeier and @luksth. Gracias @metropolitantouring.
Photo by @chrislinderphoto // Adélie penguins pour down the 'penguin superhighway' on Ross Island, Antarctica. Adélies are all business during the brief four months of the year they spend on land: build nest, mate, lay eggs, feed chicks. Like little wind-up robots, they toddle mechanically to the sea to forage, unfazed by high winds or whiteout storms.
Photo by @justinhofman // Killer whales will occasionally hunt penguins. However, I doubt it makes up a large percentage of their diet. For all the times I've been fortunate enough to witness this behavior, it appears to be associated with play and social interactions more than a drive to eat. Regardless of the reason, it's an exciting and interesting behavior to witness.
Photo by @Andy_Mann // Either they’ve discovered a brilliant way to sit upright or it's a nasty disagreement. I’m not one to say. How would you caption this?
Photo by @macstonephoto // A baby American crocodile catches some sun on the shell-lined coast of East Cape in @evergladesnps. After hatching, crocodile hatchlings will stray from their mother and fend for themselves after only five weeks; braving vultures, crocs, and large fish - it’s a tough world out there, even for a baby dragon. #everglades #florida
Photo by @daisygilardini // People quite often ask me if I'm afraid of bears. I find that spending time among these powerful creatures simply gives me a sense of peace. Being with them, I feel the oneness of the universe coming together. I feel part of the greater picture. Humbled to be accepted, I feel an obligation to bring their peaceful voices to the public and make people aware of the issues that face them on a daily basis, including habitat loss, fragmentation of their territories, poaching, trophy hunting and other forms of human-wildlife conflict.
Photo by @francisperez000 // Today is the last day to #ActForHope; sign the petition at the link in our bio to protect marine wildlife on the coast of the Canary Islands. We'd like to take this time to thank all of you for standing up for our oceans. The Tide is at the heart of everything we do at SeaLegacy, and we are so proud to be #TurningTheTide with all of you. 🌊 WAYS YOU CAN HELP: 1. Tag 3 friends in this post 2. Sign the petition (link in our bio 👆) 3. Share this post with the #ActForHope hashtag
Photo by @FrancisPerez000 // A whale without its tail is vulnerable and helpless in the open ocean. They become inert, unable to feed or protect themselves from predators, and cannot escape the inevitability of death. A right whale on the eastern coast of North America was discovered dead this July, killed by an encounter with a ship that left a six-foot laceration in her lower back. In the Canary Islands, a little pilot whale named Hope became a symbol for the protection of marine life in the area after her tail was severed by a boat propeller; it clung to her body by nothing but shredded tissue. Right now, there is a petition to stop construction of a macro-port that would increase both pollution and boat traffic off the coast of Tenerife, where Hope was injured and later euthanized. There are just a couple of days left to sign, but its not too late to #ActForHope! The link is in our bio. #TurningTheTide
Photo by @FrancisPerez000 // Hope was a young pilot whale euthanized after a collision with a propeller almost completely severed her tail from the rest of her body off the coast of the Canary Islands. Local environmentalists and marine conservationists are concerned about plans to build a macro-port in Tenerife - a port that would increase both pollution and boat traffic in the sensitive wildlife corridor where Hope lived with her family, which also means increased potential for more dangerous ship-strikes with sea turtles and whales, like the Bryde's whale in this photo. There's still time to make sure your voice is heard before the petition to stop the port closes next Monday. #ActforHope by signing at the link in our bio. #TurningTheTide
Photo and words by @nickhawkinsphotography // [Sensitive content warning] "It was a surreal and sad experience to photograph the body of 9-year-old right whale “Wolverine” under the stars on Miscou Island. It was 1am and I was all alone with his gargantuan body which dwarfed my own as I worked in complete darkness to light the scene with a flashlight. As a calf, Wolverine had been struck by a ship’s propeller and left with three parallel scars on his back, which reminded researchers of the comic book character of the same name. In his short life, Wolverine had survived three known entanglements in fishing gear, but he managed to free himself each time. On June 4th, a survey plane spotted him floating in a pool of blood in the Gulf of St. Lawrence." Tap through to the link in our stories to read the recent @natgeo story, written by @tomcheney, on the current mortality crisis of North Atlantic right whales, and follow Collective member @nickhawkinsphotography in his commitment to improving this situation. Ready to start #TurningTheTide with us? Follow the link in our bio to join The Tide.
Photo by @iantmcallister // The fairly recent and successful reintroduction of sea otters after the fur trade extirpated them from the BC coast is seeing profound ecosystem benefits. Kelp forests are flourishing now that the otters are keeping the kelp-eating urchins in check. In turn, these marine forests increasingly provide a nursery for countless species of fish.
Photo by @chrislinderphoto // Tucked up against their parent's protective belly, Adélie penguin chicks beg for their next meal. The tiny potbellied chicks hatch in December and grow quickly on a diet of regurgitated Antarctic silverfish and krill. In about a month they are big enough to toddle around the colony in small groups of chicks called crèches. By the end of February, their gray down feathers have been replaced with the sleek black and white feathers of an adult penguin, and they are ready to strike off on their own into one of the last great wildernesses on Earth: the Southern Ocean.
Photo by @PaulNicklen // "There is magic in nature, and the nature of my work has taken me all over the world, but working in my own country is always a highlight for me. Mexico is where I was born and raised and where I feel most at home," says @CristinaMittermeier, SeaLegacy co-founder. "Paul took this photo of me while we were working on a @NatGeo assignment on the sacred rituals of the Maya. The tannins from the roots of trees dyed the water yellow, and the light shining down from above makes it look as though I am swimming through liquid gold." Nature's #magic is compromised everyday by the plastic that clogs our rivers and infests our oceans. For #PlasticFreeJuly we're joining our friends at @LonelyWhale to ask - how do you hydrate? Join us and @CristinaMittermeier; take the pledge to #HydrateLike a diver and keep our oceans and waterways #PlasticFree. Say no to single-use plastic water bottles and reach for more sustainable alternatives. Go to the link in our bio or visit hydratelike.org to learn more! 🌊
Photo by @CristinaMittermeier // Not every photograph requires an adventure. Sometimes all you need is a little know how. The brightly-colored Sally lightfoot crabs are very abundant on some of the islands in the Galapagos and they can easily be seen off the pier in San Cristobal, where @PaulNicklen and I sat down for a weekend cocktail right next to where the waves were battering the rocks. Blissfully entertained with their beauty and their ability to hold on to the rocks, even as the water rushed around them, I couldn’t resist making a few frames. 🦀
Photo by @francisperez000 // [Sensitive content warning] En el medio natural del océano abierto, las hembras de calderón o ballena piloto pueden vivir hasta los sesenta años. Hope no tenía más de cuatro años cuando fue golpeada por la hélice de un barco frente a la costa de Tenerife, Islas Canarias, que le seccionó casi completamente la cola; sostenida por finos hilos de tejido muscular, se agitó inútilmente detrás de Hope mientras luchaba por nadar. Hope tuvo que ser sacrificada por los veterinarios. Su familia es la población más grande de calderones de aleta corta en Europa y reside en las aguas del suroeste de Tenerife durante todo el año. Ella se ha convertido en un símbolo para la protección de la vida marina en el área. La costa suroeste de Tenerife está mayormente protegida por ley como Área Especial de Conservación (SAC Teno-Rasca), pero hay un lugar que se quedó fuera: Fonsalía, donde hay planes para construir un nuevo macropuerto. Fonsalía es parte del mismo corredor de vida silvestre sensible donde vivía Hope con su familia, y que alberga una abundancia natural de otras especies marinas, desde delfines hasta tortugas verdes y colonias de aves marinas. Un puerto en estas aguas destruiría los hábitats y aumentaría la contaminación: química, acústica y luminosa. También aumentaría el tráfico de barcos en el agua, lo que significa incrementar el potencial de colisiones peligrosas con ballenas y tortugas marinas. Estamos levantando nuestra voz junto a Francis Pérez, miembro de SeaLegacy Collective, en apoyo de un movimiento para #actforHOPE y para detener la construcción del macro-puerto en Fonsalía. ¡Firma la petición en el enlace en nuestra biografía! #TurningTheTide #Tenerife
Photo by @francisperez000 // [Sensitive content warning] In the wild of the open ocean, female shortfin pilot whales can live to be as old as sixty years. Hope, pictured here, was no older than four when she was struck by a boat propeller off the coast of Tenerife, Canary Islands, that almost severed her tail from the rest of her body; it held on by thin threads of muscle tissue, and flailed uselessly behind her as she struggled to swim. She was euthanized after she was found. Hope's family is the largest population of shortfin pilot whales in Europe that resides in the waters off southwest Tenerife year round. She has become a symbol for the protection of marine life in the area. The southwest coast of Tenerife is mostly protected under law as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC Teno-Rasca), but there is one place that was left out: Fonsalía, where there are plans to construct a new macro-harbour. Fonsalía is a part of the same sensitive wildlife corridor where Hope lived with her family, and which hosts a natural abundance of other marine species from dolphins to green turtles to nesting seabirds. A harbour in these waters would destroy habitats and increase pollution: chemical, acoustic and light. It would also increase human traffic on the water, which means the potential for more dangerous ship-strikes with whales and sea turtles. We're raising our voice alongside Francis Pérez, SeaLegacy Collective member, in support of a movement to #actforHOPE and stop the building of the macro-harbour at Fonsalía. Sign the petition at the link in our bio! #TurningTheTide #Tenerife
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // 🦈⚡️ Shortfin makos are the fastest shark and one of the fastest fish on the planet. However, these beautiful animals can’t out-swim the impacts of unsustainable fishing practices. The IUCN shark specialist group recently increased their threat status to Endangered. The heightened extinction risk for one of the ocean’s most iconic sharks is a stark warning that urgently requires a suite of conservation measures to prevent the species being lost. In August, world governments will consider listing a record number of seriously at-risk shark and ray species, including makos, on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ( @CITES). SeaLegacy, @bluespherefoundation and @vulcaninc are supporting an unprecedented push with key countries to gain the two-thirds majority needed for their inclusion. Stay tuned for how you can continue #TurningTheTide for sharks. 🌊
Photo by @macstonephoto // Black vultures get a bad rap in the Everglades. They’re known to tear apart rubber seals on windshields and doors within the National Park and when approached they make unflattering grunting and hissing sounds. But, they’re also one of the best recyclers we have. They feast on large and small, filling a crucial role in the complex web of life. Beauty can be found anywhere if you know how to look.
Photo by @PaulNicklen// Walking among giant tortoises in the Galapagos feels like a scene out of Jurassic Park. At up to 900 pounds the Galápagos giant tortoises are the largest living species of tortoise and with lifespans of over 100 years, it is also one of the longest-lived vertebrates. One lived for at least 150 years in captivity. We watched this huge male tortoise mount this female and at an estimated 600 pounds there was no getting away. And, I can tell you, nothing happens quickly with this species. Tortoise numbers declined from over 250,000 in the 16th century to a low of around 3,000 in the 1970s. This decline was caused by over-exploitation of the species for meat and oil, habitat clearance for agriculture, and introduction of non-native animals to the islands, such as rats, goats, and pigs. 10 species of the original 15 survive in the wild. Conservation efforts in the Galapagos have resulted in thousands of captive-bred juveniles being released onto their ancestral home islands, and the total number of the species is estimated to have exceeded 19,000 at the start of the 21st century. Despite this rebound, the species as a whole is classified as "vulnerable” by IUCN. #nature #naturelovers
Photos by @ladzinski // I’m excited to be heading out for my next photo assignment for @natgeo, one I’ll be working towards on & off through-out the year. Shooting stories for National Geographic Magazine is a polarizing feeling of excitement and anxiety. It’s a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure when a magazine like this instills trust in you to deliver photos that are intended to cultivate awareness and hopefully change. One I’m sincerely grateful for and don’t take lightly. This story, like so many, is filled with a myriad of issues, some large in scale and others small yet equally critical. Giving each a voice can often be a creative challenge. This carousel here is photos from of a story I worked on back in 2015/2016. Most of the photography for the story was of grand places, however the focus here was of a smaller ecosystem. The images are of Ocra Sea Stars, a species that suffered a wide scale die-off at the time due to rising ocean temperatures. These sea stars are critical predators in tide pools; without them certain species, generally preyed on by sea stars, flourish and dominate the ecosystem. It becomes impossible for other organisms to survive, which creates an ecosystem out of whack. It’s the classic predator and prey balancing act, but on a smaller and easily over looked scale.
Photo by @jim_abernethy // The Atlantic spotted dolphin is known for being one of the friendliest dolphins in the world. To interact with them on their terms in their world is humbling and life-changing. In fact, I'm almost speechless trying to come up with words describing how it makes me feel to swim alongside them. This image was shot in the Bahamas during the summer, on a day when the water was calm and crystal clear. Moments like these are valuable beyond measure. Join SeaLegacy and me as we continue #TurningTheTide for healthy and abundant oceans. Link in bio. 🌊
Photo by @andy_mann // Of all the ways to say “hello,” I generally prefer this one. Intimate wildlife encounters are both exhilarating and immeasurably difficult to get. A little luck goes a long way. During a 2017 climbing expedition to Greenland, we encountered a curious polar bear from our zodiac boat. As it approached, I dunked my camera-housing in the frigid water as it took a dive, swam under our boat and away into the ice forever. And in the end, luck would have it. 😉
Photograph by John Weller // Emperor Penguin and Icebreaker: On Oct. 28, 2016, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources declared the world's first large-scale international marine protected area (MPA) in the Ross Sea, Antarctica. It is the world's largest MPA, and it protects the last large intact marine ecosystem on Earth. The final deal was struck, and when it was announced the room erupted. People were standing, clapping, cheering, crying. Nations were literally hugging other nations. This was not just a massive win for Antarctica. It was not just a massive win for the conservation of our global oceans, though it was both. This was also a peace treaty. If we all work together, we believe it is a blueprint for the future of our oceans. @bluespherefoundation
Photo by @ShawnHeinrichs // PRESENCE - Gazing down into the blue abyss, my eyes were transfixed on the beautiful, loving, and protective connection between a mother humpback whale and her tiny newborn calf. And then she slowly turned and began to rise towards the surface just beneath me! I caught my breath and floated motionless, my heart pounding as her massive form rose toward the surface. First her barnacle encrusted nose, then her deep dark curious eye, followed by her powerful pectoral fin; then her huge body, and finally her mighty tail the width of a school bus. Her massive tail passed just inches from my face, and with a gentle pump that almost spun me in a vortex, she glided into the distance with her most precious little cargo tucked in safely by her side. 💙🌊🐳🌊💙
We are excited to announce Francis Pérez ( @francisperez000) as the newest member of The Collective — a trusted group of SeaLegacy’s esteemed friends who have pledged to use their talents and voices to amplify the message of ocean conservation. Francis Pérez is a wildlife and conservation photographer specializing in cetacean imagery. A diver for twenty-five years, born in the Canary Islands, Francis has explored and documented the intricacies of marine life from the Red Sea to Malaysia, from Indonesia to South Africa, and from Mozambique to the Galápagos. Francis believes in the power of beautiful imagery to inspire action on behalf of the ocean - to help protect the ocean; a place that he describes as a fragile and breathtaking "world of silence." He is a multiple award-winning photographer featured in National Geographic Spain and the first prize winner of the 2017 World Press Photo contest. Estamos orgullosos de estar #TurningTheTide contigo, @francisperez000 ! 🌊
Photo by @daisygilardini //After all day waiting at the river's edge in the rain, we finally saw some movement in the forest. I felt a lump rise in my throat when this spirit bear appeared like a ghost out of the forest. A really emotional and mystical experience. Recent studies suggest coastal bears survived through the last glacial era. Their white fur probably served as camouflage. The recessive gene has survived to this day, due to the isolation of British Columbia’s coastal islands. Contrary to what many people think, bears are not great fishermen. Their success rate is only around 25%, one in four. Interestingly, studies have shown that spirit bears' white coat is less visible to salmon in daylight. This gives them a slight advantage while fishing, and raises their success rate to 30%, nearly one in three. This makes it easier for them to gain the fat reserves necessary for hibernation. It might also explain why the gene has not receded over time.
Photo by @PaulNicklen // Change is possible for the smallest to the most charismatic species we share the planet with. Did you know that the bald eagle almost went extinct in the lower continental United States? At one point in time, their population was reduced to 418 breeding pairs across the lower 48. Concentrated conservation efforts and the ban of a harmful pesticide called DDT, which entered the food chain through groundwater that flowed into rivers and lakes where bald eagles fished, changed what could have been a tragic ending for these large and powerful seabirds into a resounding success story. Bald eagle populations soared into the 21st century, and they were removed from the "List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife." Shout-out to our friends and followers in the United States - may all of your Independence Day celebrations be fun and ocean-friendly and as glorious as a bald eagle in flight. Happy 4th of July! 🇺🇸 With @LonelyWhale, @BlueSphereFoundation, @DuneIves, @ShawnHeinrichs