Happy #worldturtleday. After four talks in four consecutive nights to wonderful audiences around #losangeles, my brain feels like mush and I can’t come up with meaningful words that capture the importance, charisma and fragility of turtles. They are essential and so are you in driving change. Check out the important work that my friends are doing at @lonelywhale @loggerheadmarinelifecenter and @turtleislandrestorationnetwork #gratitude #turtles
I have been on countless trips north documenting the brown bears of Alaska. This bear oasis holds a special place in my heart, and every time I have the opportunity to travel there, I cherish every moment. The proposed construction of the Pebble Mine will have catastrophic effects on salmon and bears of the Bristol Bay watershed. Bears will be displaced and disturbed by the port construction, port activity, and the travel corridor. The travel corridor will cut off vital migration routes for these bears between Lake Clark National Park, Katmai National Park, and McNeil River Sanctuary. Bear mortality will result from bears interacting with vehicles and personnel, and these inevitable negative interactions will destroy the trust relationship between bears and people, which has been fostered since the 1970's. Bears which become food-conditioned or threatened by humans at the Port and on the corridor will become dangerous to people in the surrounding areas. We cannot let this beautiful place turn into another industrial wasteland. The real gold isn't in the ground; it is wildlife that calls Alaska home. With @sealegacy, @cristinamittermeier, @_tomconlin, @ericnixonphoto, @liannanixon & @kyle.roepke
My 12th assignment for @natgeo, called Escape Velocity, appeared in the November 2012 issue of National Geographic Magazine. In concept, the story was simple; go to Antarctica and show how Emperor Penguins release millions of micro bubbles from their feathers which in turn, reduces the friction between their bodies and the water and allows them to accelerate to great speeds. This is ultimately to avoid leopard seals who hide and wait for them under the ice. The story itself was anything but easy and so many made this expedition happen. @goranehlme, Kathy Moran, @sadiequarrier and most of all my friend from Italy Anna Maria Diodori and the Italian team at NG. It took years of back and forth before the Italian Government and their Antarctic research program which ultimately allowed us access to their research base in the Ross Sea. Once there, they could not have been any more accommodating. We lived on the sea ice for 6 weeks and traveled to the ice edge each day by snowmobile to dive in the 29F water. I was accidentally attacked and slightly hurt by a leopard seal (topic of my next field notes-link in bio). But, in the end, we got to experience the beauty, athleticism and science of this majestic bird. More importantly, through the work of so many dedicated people and countries, the world’s largest marine protected area was eventually created in the Ross Sea. #nature #penguin #story #photography
As @SeaLegacy grows beyond my wildest dreams and I switch my attention over to using my camera for marine conservation full time, I am continuing to post about my 23 assignments for National Geographic from a career that spanned 18 years. It was an incredible journey, but I have never been more excited about our path forward. I got to share many of our conservation wins at the Saban Theatre last night. My 11th assignment was both one of the hardest to shoot and one of my favorite. I worked closely with both the Gitga’at and Kitasoo First Nations to find and photograph the incredibly rare, beautiful and charismatic Spirit Bear of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. It is a black bear with a rare recessive gene that turns one in ten black bears, completely white. They are not albino. My good friend, Marven Robinson (@gitgaatspirit) introduced me to one of his favorite bears in his territory, and we got the majority of our story in two days after 70 days of mostly not seeing a thing. Most importantly, this story and these bears were a part of the movement to stop the Northern Gateway Pipeline and oil tankers from existing in this rich and important ecosystem. #Gratitude with @Sealegacy @PacificWild @IantMcAllister @CristinaMittermeier
It has taken me a while but I have finally sent out my next installment of “Field Notes” to your email inboxes. The featured story talks about the time that I sipped scotch next to a large male grizzly bear along a stream in the Arctic. My tech team has found a way to send out the same newsletter to any new subscribers joining over the next week. The link is in my bio, above. The featured fine art print in this month’s newsletter is one of my favorites. I call this image “Majesty Rising” and he is pretty much life size when printed at 60 x 90 inches. #fineart #bw #blackandwhite #grizzlybear #nature #adventure #explore #love #beauty
This is my favorite quote of all time. When it comes to wildlife and nature, no truer words have ever been written. I love to read this out loud. . . “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” . Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod
This giant bird with a 7 foot wingspan is called a Giant Petrel. I photographed him or her in Antarctica a few years ago. They specialize on feeding on dead things. I used that to my advantage to get close by lying motionless in the icy cold water for a long time. This all seemed like a genius idea until it jumped on top of my back and began using its heavy bill as a battering ram to crack open my skull to access the juicy meat inside. Between the pain with each blow and the ridiculous fits of laughter as I realized my predicament I had to roll over and get it off of my back. At least I have this photograph to show for it. #adventure #nature #beauty #antarctica
Endangered species day is a day for reflection and spreading awareness. I feel a great sense of urgency and I am immensely proud of my team at @SeaLegacy and of everyone #TurningTheTide with us to create healthy and abundant oceans - but we all need to do more. What can we do about the 1 million plant and animal species that are facing extinction? I believe that the biggest threat to our environment is the assumption that someone else is doing something about it, so let’s all step up whatever we are already doing. This means buying local, recycling, educating your neighbours and your children and your friends. Know that every time you make a healthy choice for our world, you're making a healthy choice for yourself too, and for critically endangered animals like this blue shark. As members of #theTide, I hope that you feel empowered to make a difference for the future of our earth everyday with the changes that you can make at home. You can find more information about threatened species around the world on the IUCN Red List (https://www.iucnredlist.org/), link in my bio.
When we did our big feauture story in @natgeo on the #Hawaiian surfing culture, we were shown true respect, kindness and treated like Ohana!! @sunnygarcia was at the top of the list and now he is fighting for his life in hospital. He is a warrior like none other but he needs our thoughts, love and prayers. Hang in there my friend. You will be barrelled again. Photo of @sunnygarcia by @sunnygarcia and @cristinamittermeier. Yes, he is that good.
Hello Los Angeles!! On May 19th I will begin a four-day run of speaking events in Los Angeles. Specifically, Beverly Hills, Redondo Beach, Thousand Oaks and Pasadena. I am honored and humbled to be concluding the 2018-2019 Distinguished Speaker Series. I always get nervous following up big names, in this case, Alan Alda, Chris Wallace, Annie Leibovitz, James Comey, and Jon Meacham, but I am grateful for the opportunity. I am going to bring you on a journey with me to the ends of the Earth, and there will be some laughter, some tears and even some cringing. But, most importantly I am confident everyone will leave caring a little deeper for this tremendous but ailing planet of ours. Sadly the events are all #soldout and I can’t wait for the experience. #speaking #losangeles #bethechange
Hands-on experiences with wild animals are thriving due in part to social media—but there is often a darker reality behind the scenes. In this photo by Kirsten Luce, an injured four-year-old tourist attraction elephant suffers with an injured leg underneath a performance stadium in Thailand. Learn more about the perils of Wildlife Tourism in the June issue of Nat Geo magazine. https://on.natgeo.com/2JlxNmi #NatGeoWildlifeTourism
Up for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be immersed in and directly support conservation work? You could join @CristinaMittermeier and myself on an epic and ethical excursion, swimming with whale sharks off the coast of Mexico. Experience and learn about conservation efforts in Isla Mujeres, where shark fishing has started transitioning into environmental tourism. You will become an expert in whale sharks and the ins and outs of ethical diving. You will also gain first-hand knowledge about the value of blue tourism to conservation efforts. Eco-tourism initiatives have changed the ways that people make their livelihoods around the world; transforming shark fishermen into ocean guardians and tour guides in Isla Mujeres, and boosting economies on a global scale. However, as it gets easier to travel the world and eco-tourism becomes more accessible, it is important to implement regulations for the health and safety of both animals and humans. Enter through my bio link or at omaze.com/oceans #onlyatomaze @omazeworld