COVID-19 and Wildlife in Kenya: Crisis and Hope

A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya,Africa
A white rhinoceros female (Ceratotherium simum) with an enormous horn stands protectively next to her small calf, The Aberdares, Kenya, Africa

Story & photos by Jami Tarris

Each of us is drawn to nature photography for our own personal reasons. Some for commercial reasons — to make money. Others because they enjoy sitting in the peace and quiet of nature, waiting for beautiful light. Still others who perhaps enjoy the thrill of capturing animal behavior in front of their very eyes. For me, at the beginning, it was all of the above but, as I spent more time in the field and grew older, it became more about being a champion for innocent and beautiful creatures who needed protecting from, ironically, humans like me. In the midst of a pandemic, it’s easy to see the effects of the COVID-19 virus on humans, but it is also significantly affecting the animal kingdom.

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Weekly Wow! Week of April 20, 2020

Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: "A Black Bear Fishes for Salmon” © Jennifer Smith. A black bear fishing in a stream under a waterfall.
Showcase 2020 Top 100 winner: “A Black Bear Fishes for Salmon” © Jennifer Smith.

All of this week’s Weekly Wow! images can be seen in the slideshow on the NANPA homepage at nanpa.org.

The following Showcase images have been selected to appear on the NANPA home page for the week beginning Monday, April 20, 2020.  To view all of the top 250 photographs from NANPA’s 2020 Showcase competition, see the photo gallery on the NANPA website. The 2020 edition of Expressions contains all of the top 250 photos from the Showcase competition as well as interesting and insightful articles. Order your copy here!

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Showcase 2020 Winner Profile – Scott Trageser

2020 Showcase, Best in Show: Conservation. "Desperate Deals, Mro Village, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh" © Scott Trageser. Villiager holding two birds that will be sold.
2020 Showcase, Best in Show: Conservation. “Desperate Deals, Mro Village, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh” © Scott Trageser.

How I Got the Shot

The area within the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh, that our conservation programs are focused and where this shot was taken is a restricted area. I was required to apply for the permit, stay in a designated area for a very limited timeframe, and also to be accompanied by four policemen at all times. We were guided by our indigenous parabiologists to this small, remote Mro village and luckily were able to convince them to pose with these hornbills which were being reared by the family. This photo was taken to demonstrate the challenges for both wildlife and the local people.

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Penguins, Seals, and Icebergs, Oh My!

The MV Ushuaia cruising off South Georgia Island.
The MV Ushuaia cruising off South Georgia Island.

Story and photos by Debbie McCulliss

I spent weeks preparing and packing for my “Epic South Georgia” voyage, a photographer’s dream bucket-list trip, run by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris. One of my main priorities was having proper clothing and photography gear.  That and staying healthy before and on the trip, especially because there is no airstrip, rescue or other emergency service on the island, nor is there cell or Wi-Fi service.

By the time I left home the first week of October 2019, I had watched plenty of YouTube videos and seen enough Facebook and Instagram posts from South Georgia Island to make me vividly imagine returning home with memories and images of magical experiences. In reality, I had no idea what to anticipate. Nor could I assume I would get great images, having only two years of experience in nature photography. Little did I know I’d go as a hobbyist wildlife photographer and return as a budding conservation photographer and advocate.

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NANPA Foundation Awards Philip Hyde Conservation Grant to Clay Bolt

Photo of bees in a high-altitude field of flowers.
Photo © Clay Bolt

Clay Bolt of Livingston, Montana has been named the 2019 Philip Hyde Conservation Grant recipient by the NANPA Foundation. Bolt’s award of $2,500 will be used to continue his study of bumble bees, specifically the effect of climate change on bumble bees in the Sky Islands in south-central New Mexico.

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Last Chance to Apply for Grants

Photo by Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner
“Candlight Grow” All that glitters is not gold. Each light represents marijuana plants that once grew within this stretch of the High Sierra National Forest in California. A single grow can range from a thousand to tens of thousands of plants. © Morgan Heim 2017 Philip Hyde Grant winner.

Among many important projects, the NANPA Foundation offers two grants each year: the Philip Hyde Conservation Grant and the Janie Moore Greene Scholarship Grant. The deadline for both grants is 11 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, October 31st, 2019. Although that’s not a lot of time, the grant application forms are not onerous and can be completed with a few hours effort. So, if you are a student studying photography in college or are either planning or in the midst of a conservation photography project, this is your chance for some financial assistance that can have a real impact on what you’re doing!

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Words Matter: Photos and Interview Transcripts Are Key in Conservation Project

Ethiopia, Omo River Valley, village of Tourmi, after Hamar bull-jumping initiation ceremony.  Halewijn Scheuermann, Dutch tour guide, transports ititiate and his friends in his truck back to their homes. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.
Ethiopia, Omo River Valley, village of Tourmi, after Hamar bull-jumping initiation ceremony. Halewijn Scheuermann, Dutch tour guide, transports initiate and his friends in his truck back to their homes. Photo by NWNL Director and Lead Photographer Alison M. Jones.

Sometimes a really critical piece of a conservation project isn’t the photography, the charismatic megafauna or stunning plants. Sometimes it’s something much more mundane or prosaic, like transcripts.

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Dramatic Decline in Bird Numbers in North America

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s new study documents widespread decline in bird numbers.

“If you were alive in 1970, more than one in four birds have disappeared in your lifetime.”  So begins a Cornell Chronicle article about a new study by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  That loss represents about three billion birds, across the US and Canada and across all biomes. Researchers examined decades of data on 529 species and found massive declines (53% loss) in the numbers of grasslands birds as well as big drops (37%) in shorebirds. As Ken Rosenberg, lead author of the study said, “It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife. And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”

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Documenting the River of Redemption: An update on the Anacostia Project

Sunset over the Anacostia River in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Sunset over the Anacostia River in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Story & photos by Krista Schlyer

In 2010, as part of the International League of Conservation Photographers’ Chesapeake Bay RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition), I found myself on the Anacostia River in Washington DC. The Anacostia is one of the most imperiled watersheds within the Chesapeake Bay watershed, a sprawling eco-region spanning most of the Mid-Atlantic. The Anacostia is also my home watershed, where the water that drains off my house and yard ends up.

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New Conservation Category in NANPA’s Showcase Competition!

Monarch caterpillar. Monarch butterfly numbers have been declining at an alarming rate.  A meadow planted with milkweed, a favorite of Monarchs, helps provide suitable habitat for the annual migration of these majestic butterflies.  Several citizen science projects encourage people to help track the migration, reduce pesticide use and plant butterfly-friendly flowers and other vegetation. Photo by Frank Gallagher.

NANPA’s Showcase competition includes a new category this year:  conservation!  In addition to birds, mammals, ‘scapes, macro/micro/other and altered reality, you can enter photos that speak to conserving species, ecosystems and places. So get your conservation images ready to enter!

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