A solitary polar bear watches the ice-free sea in August 2013, backed by a glacier at Cape Fligely, the northernmost land in Eurasia. This shot was also captured by @enricsala during our expedition to Russia's Franz Josef Land. Back in August 1895, Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen was able to ski on sea ice and snow between these islands. Even in August 1995, a historian visiting the archipelago photographed abundant sea-ice floes. In August 2013, nowhere in Franz Josef Land—not even at Rudolf, the northernmost island in the archipelago—did we see any sea ice. The loss of sea ice is one of the most dramatic changes on our planet occurring as a result of global warming, and we are starting to understand the consequences for Arctic wildlife.
During a Franz Josef Land summer, walruses aggregate in rookeries: one-ton males, females, and newborns. They feed on clams that live buried in the muddy bottoms close to shore. This image was captured by @enricsala during our 2013 expedition to Russia's Franz Josef Land, the world's northernmost chain of islands. Encased in sea ice for much of the year, these rocky, glaciated islands are home to such species as the Atlantic walrus, bowhead whale, polar bear, narwhal, and white gull. This arctic ecosystem is now protected as part of the largest park in Russia — the Russian Arctic National Park. #NatGeo#pristineseas#conservation#exploration#Arctic#ice#ocean#marine#protection
Palau's coral reefs are famous worldwide for diverse and abundant marine life, including giant manta rays and sharks. But it's not just the large marine creatures we readily think of that thrive as part of these ecosystems. Here, a goby half the length of a fingernail lives among the branches of a sea fan in Palau's reefs, eating tiny invertebrates and hiding from predators.
Shot by @enricsala during our 2014 expedition to Palau's waters.
Blending in with the coral and algal growth, a Mexican hogfish and a starry grouper eye the camera at Roca Partida, the smallest and most remote of the Revillagigedo Islands. Mexico recently committed to create a marine national park around the Revillagigedo Islands, protecting a refuge for a variety of species, from sea turtles and giant mantas to at least nine species of shark. At 148,000 square kilometers, this park will be the largest no-take marine area in North America. Shot by @enricsala.
Table corals (Acropora cytherea) emerge from the reef — one of many species of coral that the Pristine Seas team encountered while surveying the raised atoll of Niue and nearby Beveridge Reef. Announced by Niue's government at the Our Ocean conference in Malta last week, a new large-scale marine protected area will encompass 40% of the island nation's waters, protecting diverse coral ecosystems and the highest density of grey reef sharks in the world.
Shot by @manusanfelix_official.
Today at the Our Ocean 2017 conference in Malta, Chile creates two new fully protected marine reserves, increasing the protected surface area of their waters from 4.4% to 29% — a total area of more than one million square kilometers! The new marine park in Juan Fernández becomes the largest such marine reserve in the continental Americas at 485,000 sq km, and protects a number of endemic species that can be found nowhere else on Earth. The second park extends southward from Chile’s legendary Cape Horn and protects 140,000 sq km, including the world’s southernmost kelp forest ecosystems.
Shot by @enricsala during our expedition to the Juan Fernández Islands in March.
The ocean may seem vast, unknown, and distant to many of us. But it sustains life, from regulating climate change, to providing half of the oxygen that we breathe, to serving as the world's largest source of protein. This week we're excited to be joining the #OurOcean 2017 conference in Malta, where global leaders will come together to respond to the challenges facing our ocean today through innovation, cooperation, and commitment. Stay tuned on October 5th and 6th for more from the conference!
Today is International Coastal Cleanup Day! Shot by @enricsala off the coast of San Ambrosio Island, a short-spined urchin uses the old trick of camouflage, taking up bits of rock, algae and - in this case - a plastic razor, to blend in with the rocky seafloor.
Our debris can end up in even the most remote waters on Earth. So seize the day. Join your local coastal cleanup, or simply head down to the shore and help make it a cleaner place for marine life and people alike.
#TBT to exploring the lower side of this little island. The smallest and most remote of Mexico's four Revillagigedo islands, Roca Partida can be seen as two inhospitable, rocky horns jutting out of the water. Below the surface, it's full of life.
Shot by @enricsala on our expedition to the Revillagigedo archipelago with @maresmexicanos@octavioaburto
Today we are proud to premiere in Mexico City the documentary "Revillagigedo: el México más salvaje," from our expedition to Mexico's wild Revillagigedo Islands in collaboration with @MaresMexicanos@octavioaburto. This unique Pacific archipelago harbors a rich underwater ecosystem, dominated by sharks, whales, giant mantas, and a number of other protected marine species. Here is a sneak preview!
Every other breath we take comes from the ocean. Yet only 2% of it is fully protected. This week we are at the 4th International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Coquimbo, Chile, where global leaders are coming together to take crucial steps in ocean conservation. Tune in to @natgeo.la to join us at the conference and see what's happening in real time!
Shot and text by @octavioaburto | As nature photographers, there is a lot to think about when capturing the perfect photograph. For the September 2017 @natgeo.la cover shot, it involved keeping a good distance off the wall while making sure not to scare off the animals from inside the cave. The final step was to wait until the animals were relaxed and undisturbed. An hour later, the stars aligned and this moment was captured. Photo shot in Roca Partida, Revillagigedo Archipelago. .
Como fotógrafos de naturaleza, hay mucho que pensar mientras capturamos la foto perfecta. Para la portada de la edición de septiembre de la @natgeo.la, esto involucró mantener una buena distancia de la cueva para que no se asustaran los animales que estaban dentro de ella. El paso final fue esperar hasta que estos animales estuvieran tranquilos y relajados. Una hora después, se alinearon las estrellas y se capturó el momento. Este imagen fue tomada en Roca Partida, una isla del archipiélago de Revillagigedo con @natgeopristineseas.
From our expedition to Mexico's remarkable Revillagigedo islands, in partnership with @maresmexicanos.
Kingman Reef and neighboring Palmyra Atoll are two tiny specks of land surrounded by untouched, healthy coral reefs, a thousand miles south of Hawaiʻi. Belonging to the United States, the waters around them and the rest of the Northern Line Islands are protected from fishing and drilling as the Pacific Remote Islands National Monument. Now this extraordinary monument is at risk. Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of Interior, is reviewing this and 20 other national monuments on land and at sea in response to an Executive Order by President Donald Trump, and his review to the president is due this week, on August 24. Mr. Zinke professes admiration for Theodore Roosevelt, who signed the Antiquities Act in 1906 to allow presidents to create national monuments. If he wants to emulate Roosevelt’s legacy, he should recommend leaving the national monuments as they are. Our national monuments are havens for marine life, serve as extraordinary scientific laboratories, and provide assurance for Americans and world citizens that the ocean will continue to provide for us.
Thank you to everyone who made their voice heard to protect our marine national monuments and sanctuaries! Of the hundreds of thousands of comments submitted, 99% were in support of protecting these extraordinary areas (thanks to @savingoceans for the analysis). Shot by @enricsala | A manta glides through the water at Kingman Reef in the northern Line Islands, which are now part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
Text by @pelayosalinas | Two days ago the Galápagos National Park and Ecuadorian Navy seized a Chinese flagged vessel transporting thousands of sharks inside the Galápagos Marine Reserve. This is likely the biggest seizure in the history of the Galápagos and highlights the global tragedy of illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries. Less than 2% of our oceans are totally protected, yet every day thousands of fishing boats fish illegally these protected waters. Now more than ever, use your voice to speak out against this nonsense and support the creation of more protected areas.
The above shot shows hammerheads as they should be seen- in healthy populations in their habitat. Check out @pelayosalinas bio to learn more about the seizure and how you can support the Galápagos National Park's efforts to keep their marine reserve safe from illegal fishing. #NatGeo#pristineseas#marine#conservation#exploration#expedition#monument#sanctuary#ocean#protection#wildlife#sharks#Galapagos#illegalfishing
Giant clams exhibit an intense color palette in the waters of the northern Line Islands, paving the lagoons of pristine reefs like Kingman. Each pair of curves shells harbors a delicate animal that filters microbes from the water, helping to keep the reef healthy. These were shot by @enricsala during our expedition to the northern Line Islands, which are now protected by the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument.
America's ocean monuments, including Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Pacific Remote Islands, Papahanaumokuakea, Marianas Trench, and Rose Atoll are currently under "review" by the Department of Commerce. The people have until tomorrow, August 15, to weigh in and make sure monuments stay protected. Use the link in our profile to submit a comment to the DOC today. #NatGeo#pristineseas#marine#monumentsforall#conservation#exploration#expedition#monument#sanctuary#ocean#protection#clams#coral#reef#PRIMNM
In the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles islands harbor important nesting sites for both hawksbill and green sea turtles. Though both species have been legally protected in the Seychelles' waters since 1994, across the globe their populations are declining due to foraging and nesting habitat destruction, marine pollution, hunting, and fishing bycatch. Indeed it is already a journey for these little hatchlings to survive and thrive into adulthood. Protecting key marine ecosystems is critical to keeping endangered sea turtles from disappearing.
Video shot by @neilgelinas during our expedition to the Seychelles Outer Islands in 2015.