Photos by @carltonward / My obsession with setting camera traps for panthers began in 2015 in the Fakahatchee Strand. During the first year, dry season trails gave me two months before they filled with water and drowned my camera. The effort yielded one bear, one panther walking away from the camera, one alligator, and a number of lessons about pursuing photos of panthers in the Florida swamps. First was patience. After my initial attempt, the forest stayed flooded for the next 18 months. When the water receded in early 2017, I set a camera on a nearby swamp trail, pictured here, where our @pathofthepanther team kept it going off and on for nearly four years. The ever-changing swamp challenged me and drew me into a hidden world that, through six years of struggle, I have fallen in love with. During the final month of the project, this site produced the panther photo I had in my mind's eye from the beginning. I will share that image here in the coming weeks. In this post I'm sharing photos from another lesson: the diversity of species that rely on the same trails as the panthers, including American alligator (with a giant salamander in its mouth), bobcat, raccoon, Florida black bears, opossum, otter, marsh rabbit, egret, and alligator again.
Be sure to check out "Return of the Panther," by @douglas_main in the April issue of @NatGeo magazine. The @PathofthePanther project is supported by the National Geographic Society, working to inspire the protection of the Florida Wildlife Corridor—the statewide network of public preserves and private farms, ranches and forests that the panther needs to survive. Thanks to the field team Malia Byrtus @leyoho @alexofthewild and volunteers who kept this camera going across over the years and @USFWS for permitting the work. @insideNatGeo #FloridaWildlifeCorridor #KeepFLWild
Check out Nat Geo's link in bio for more on this story.
Photo by @paulnicklen / When photographing wildlife, I rarely opt for slow shutter speeds, as I did with this story. But opening myself up to the unexpected by attempting moodier exposures, playing with light, and going against the traditional rules of composition almost always yields an interesting result. I remember feeling a ton of pressure to capture images during this assignment. Despite being out of time for the day, I opted to put my telephoto away and mount a shorter lens on my tripod so I could shoot two-second exposures that would blur the water and create a moody feeling. I took hundreds of images before one worked out— thankfully, it was a waiting game worth playing.
Follow me @paulnicklen to hear more behind the scenes stories of my favorite images. #bear #spiritbear #kermodebear #canada #waitinggame
Photo by @beverlyjoubert / For much of our lives, we have worked and advocated for the protection of elephants and what they represent: their enormous value to ecosystems, their time-honored place among the last of the planet’s megafauna, the invaluable lessons we continue to learn from their complex social worlds … and so much more. Throughout this time, we have seen warnings about the future survival of these magnificent animals grow louder and more urgent. The latest comes from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which recently classified forest elephants as critically endangered and savanna elephants as endangered. We can no longer afford to ignore these warnings. Unless we act with speed, determination, and genuine conviction to stem poaching and protect habitat, future generations will not see these giants roaming across Africa’s plains.
#elephants #endangered #everyelephantcounts #endpoaching
Video by @bertiegregory / A three-month-old polar bear cub plays with a stick, having recently broken out of the den with its mother. This cub might look small, but it was born much smaller. The polar bear’s active gestation period of just 60 days means they come out the size of a squirrel and weigh less than two pounds. Follow @bertiegregory for more wildlife adventures. #bear #arctic #cold #snow #cute
Photo by David Chancellor @chancellordavid / Three weeks ago I was called to witness an operation to treat a bull elephant with a severe limp. We were concerned that it had broken its rear leg. Once tranquilized, we discovered a wood splinter about the size of a rolling pin embedded in its knee joint. This was likely caused when the elephant slid down a steep bank and simply picked up a splinter. The vet removed the wood, and treated the wound. He said at the time that the injury had possibly occurred less that 24 hours earlier, and the reason the elephant survived (and the leg joint was not infected beyond saving) was due to the vigilance of the rangers who discovered it. They have continued to monitor it, and last night we returned to take another look, as the elephant was still limping. Big shout out to @kenyawildlifeservice and Michael Njoroge @savetheelephants, the veterinarian who traveled from Nairobi (six hours) and then treated the elephant under car headlights after dark. The rangers will stay with it and observe from a distance. Extraordinary work from all concerned. To see more from here follow me @chancellordavid.