National Geographic

@natgeo 4 months ago
Photo by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | Biologist Debbie Tobin holds the paw of a sea otter taking its last breath on the shores of Homer, Alaska. You could be a wildlife photographer for twenty years and never be prepared for what it's like to walk up to a dying sea otter, wheezing its last breaths. Beginning in 2013, a body of warm water, nicknamed "the blob," formed in the Gulf of Alaska. It morphed and it grew and it stretched all the way to Mexico, until it covered 3.5 million square miles, feeding toxic algae blooms that devastated marine life on the North Pacific coast for years. In 2015, some 300 sea otters were found dead or dying on beaches in Homer, Alaska. I will never forget the sounds they made. Warming water temperatures worldwide are a symptom of the climate crisis—the blob was like a fever. The American government recently announced that it intends to change the Endangered Species Act, making it easier to remove endangered species, like the sea otter, from the list. It also pits the value of protecting species up against the cost of losing revenue from industry. Research tells us that extreme events like the blob will become more common; if we continue to put industry and profit first, things will only get worse. To see a video of the tragic moment when a sea otter takes its last breaths, follow me @PaulNicklen. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #ClimateChangeIsReal #ActNow

Photo by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | Biologist Debbie Tobin holds the paw of a sea otter taking its last breath on the shores of Homer, Alaska. You could be a wildlife photographer for twenty years and never be prepared for what it's like to walk up to a dying sea otter, wheezing its last breaths. Beginning in 2013, a body of warm water, nicknamed "the blob," formed in the Gulf of Alaska. It morphed and it grew and it stretched all the way to Mexico, until it covered 3.5 million square miles, feeding toxic algae blooms that devastated marine life on the North Pacific coast for years. In 2015, some 300 sea otters were found dead or dying on beaches in Homer, Alaska. I will never forget the sounds they made. Warming water temperatures worldwide are a symptom of the climate crisis—the blob was like a fever. The American government recently announced that it intends to change the Endangered Species Act, making it easier to remove endangered species, like the sea otter, from the list. It also pits the value of protecting species up against the cost of losing revenue from industry. Research tells us that extreme events like the blob will become more common; if we continue to put industry and profit first, things will only get worse. To see a video of the tragic moment when a sea otter takes its last breaths, follow me @PaulNicklen . #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #ClimateChangeIsReal #ActNow