#turningthetide

Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @Mitty | A crabeater seal snoozes in the sun in Antarctica. Despite its name, this toothy marine mammal feeds on krill, a small shrimplike crustacean, which is the keystone species of the Antarctic food chain. The krill population in Antarctica has declined 80% since the 1970s, a direct consequence of both climate change and overfishing. In architecture, the keystone is the last piece placed in the construction of a vault or an archway. Placed at the top, it locks all other stones into position and holds them in place, enabling the arch to bear the weight of heavy loads. If you take the keystone away, the archway fails, and the walls they were built to support come crumbling down. Without a healthy and sizable krill population, the Antarctic ecosystem as we know it will fall apart. Follow me @Mitty to learn more about the ways that we can work together in 2020 to establish more marine protected areas in the Antarctic Peninsula. #MPA #CCAMLR #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere
Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @Mitty | A crabeater seal snoozes in the sun in Antarctica. Despite it...
Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @Mitty | It was a lucky shot to fit an 80-foot long whale into a single frame. I took this photograph on my first immersion in the Azores, and I remember thinking to myself, boy, this is easy! I was wrong. Sleek and surrounded by nothing but the dark waters of the open ocean, the blue whale resembles a rocket ship suspended in space. They dive deep and they swim fast, so getting in the right place at the right time without disturbing their feeding is really hard. Blue whales are the largest animals to have ever existed, reaching mind-boggling dimensions of 100 feet long and upwards of 200 tons—and all on a diet composed almost exclusively of krill, tiny shrimplike crustaceans! Blue whales don't have any natural predators, but in the 1800s and early 1900s, they were hunted to the edge of extinction at the hands of humans. Today, they remain endangered, and we are still fighting to protect them. Follow me @Mitty to find out how you can join our movement at @SeaLegacy and support a healthy and abundant ocean. #Whale #History #TurningTheTide #Ocean #Conservation
Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @Mitty | It was a lucky shot to fit an 80-foot long whale into a singl...
Video by @paulnicklen | This is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen underwater, filmed on expedition with @SeaLegacy last year. The veil that separates the ocean from the air is as thin as a dream, and to swim with sperm whales is to feel as though you've fallen into one. These gentle leviathans have thrived in complex family units off the Dominican coast for generations, probably for millions of years. Sperm whales hold the record for largest predator, largest brain, and loudest animal on earth—capable of making noise louder than a rock concert! Scientists have only just begun to understand these massive marine mammals. Follow me @PaulNicklen for more videos that showcase the beauty of the natural world and for updates from my next trip to the Dominica to swim with the sperm whales. #Whales #Science #Ocean #TurningTheTide
Video by @paulnicklen | This is perhaps the most beautiful thing I have ever seen underwater, filmed...
Photo by @paulnicklen | A humpback whale descends into the depths of Gerlache Strait, in Antarctica, to gorge on krill. Much further north in the opposite hemisphere, this past spring and summer saw over 121 grey whales washed up dead on shores in North America, from California to Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia. This was the highest recorded whale die-off in 20 years. Scientists believe massive oceanic animals are starving to death and speculate that it’s because food sources are vanishing, or changing their behaviors, in the dramatically warmer waters triggered by climate change. The global effects of climate change are no longer a discussion for the future, we are experiencing a radically and rapidly changing planet. Follow me @PaulNicklen to learn how you can make a difference for the health of the ocean and the future of our shared planet. Shot on assignment for @NatGeo. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #WhaleTail
Photo by @paulnicklen | A humpback whale descends into the depths of Gerlache Strait, in Antarctica,...
Video by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | I often find that the best way to have a life-changing wildlife experience is to let the animal dictate the encounter. That way, they get to work within their own comfort zone and, generally, stay relaxed. That is exactly what happened during this moment in Tonga. A humpback whale calf decided to go explore while her mother slept, its pectoral flukes nearly one third of its overall body length—a perfect measuring stick. This gorgeous little female swam over to me and then reached out with her pecs to assess distance. Just like any baby, she'll need to learn everything she can, as quickly as she can, to get ready for her long migration back to Antarctica. I was more than happy to be part of her education process. Follow me @PaulNicklen for more footage from expedition; past, present and future. #Gratitude #StayHumble #TurningTheTide
Video by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | I often find that the best way to have a life-changing wildlife...
Photos by Cristina Mittermeier @mitty | I have been lucky enough to experience the Amazon firsthand and to spend time with some of the indigenous people who call it home. People like the Kayapó have been stewards of the rainforest for centuries. Since Jair Bolsonaro was elected as president of Brazil last year, the Kayapó have been fighting to protect it from a president who has compared indigenous communities to animals living in zoos and who has allowed industry cut down more of the rainforest this summer alone than in the last three years combined, according to data released by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Trees are cleared to plant soy or to make room for cattle pastures. Setting fires is one of the fastest ways to make space. There have been more than 74,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon since the beginning of this year—a staggering 84% increase over the same period last year. This could be just the beginning of an even bigger tragedy if we don't come together today and start #turningthetide. The Amazonian rainforest is a priceless carbon sink that helps draw carbon dioxide out of the air to help us in our fight against the climate crisis. Follow me @mitty for more from the front lines of conservation. #Kayapo #Amazon #Rainforest #TakeAction
Photos by Cristina Mittermeier @mitty | I have been lucky enough to experience the Amazon firsthand...
Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @mitty | A friend told me she can't grasp which part of the animal she's looking at in a  picture like this. Sometimes I take for granted the things I know—and I fail to explain them to those that might be seeing an animal for the first time! What we see here are four humpback whales feeding together. Their mouths are open and their throat pleats distended to accommodate the large volume of water they must displace in order to filter fish and krill through their baleen. It is an incredible spectacle to watch when these large animals emerge from the water with such force. I can only imagine what goes on underwater, but it must be amazing. Humpback whales were almost completely wiped out by whaling. They made a fabulous comeback when they received protection by mechanisms such as the Endangered Species Act, a crucial piece of legislation that has recently become endangered itself. Follow me @mitty and @SeaLegacy if you want to make a difference in the life of endangered species. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #Expedition #ESA
Photo by Cristina Mittermeier @mitty | A friend told me she can't grasp which part of the animal she...
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...
Photo by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | A baby fur seal conceals itself in a pot to avoid a stampede of adult fur seals on South Georgia Island, Antarctica. At first glance this moment might seem cute, but there is a both an irony and a dark history here: These pots were used to boil the fat off of elephant seals, a pinniped like this fur seal, in the early 20th century, only a hundred years ago. Elephant seals were hunted for their body fat, and fur seals were nearly wiped out for their fur. When the killing eventually stopped, fur seals rebounded to their historic numbers, and today elephant seal populations are also healthy and thriving. Follow me @PaulNicklen to find out how you can join a movement striving to create healthier, more abundant oceans. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere #History #Seals
Photo by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | A baby fur seal conceals itself in a pot to avoid a stampede of...
Photos by Paul Nicklen @PaulNicklen | When someone says the phrase "climate crisis," 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? While the Amazon burns and ice melts faster than ever in recorded history, what we do over the next ten years to preserve our 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 the next ten thousand years. Join me @PaulNicklen on a journey to protect our Earth's ocean with @SeaLegacy. #turningthetide #climateaction #savetheplanet #bethechange
Photos by Paul Nicklen @PaulNicklen | When someone says the phrase "climate crisis," what do you pic...
Photos by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | One of the things that fascinates me most about the ocean is how little we know. So many mysteries and secrets are hidden in the depths of the sea, so many things still to be discovered. Narwhals are sometimes called the unicorns of the sea, and the males are most recognizable by their ivory tusks, a long canine tooth covered in thousands of nerve endings and pores that protrudes from the upper jaw. The recent establishment of the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area in northern Canada is a huge conservation win for many reasons. Perhaps most important is the prohibition of human activity in the area. This means no commercial fishing. No mining. No oil or gas development. Their absence will mean safe migratory paths for the whales who pass through these waters. Follow me @PaulNicklen for more stories about success in conservation. #TurningTheTide #BornToIce #narwhal #marineprotectedarea
Photos by Paul Nicklen @paulnicklen | One of the things that fascinates me most about the ocean is h...
Photos by Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier | A quarter of all shark species are at risk of extinction. Around the world, we are fishing many shark species faster than they can reproduce, and once over-fished, sharks will take a long time to recover—if they can recover. We can be angry and heartbroken, but we also can go deeper to understand why this problem exists and rectify it. We need stronger management and legislation in place to protect them. Thankfully, the world is starting to wake up to the crisis sharks face, but we need more voices to join us. Please help me in preserving their beauty and start #TurningTheTide for sharks at @cristinamittermeier. #ocean #conservation #CITES4Sharks
Photos by Cristina Mittermeier @cristinamittermeier | A quarter of all shark species are at risk of...