Monday, September 16, 2013

Cheetahs, Kalahari Desert

Cheetah siblings rest on a dune in the Kalahari Desert, which covers much of southern Africa, including parts of Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa. National Geographic Big Cats Explorer Gus Mills is examining Kalahari cheetahs using trackers, radios, and DNA analyses. This data helps park managers ensure the continued existence of the cheetahs and future monitoring.

Salmon and Trout, Alaska

In summer, millions of fish disperse up Bristol Bay's watershed to rivers and lakes that are breeding grounds for five species of salmon. A proposed gold mine would transform the region, possibly jeopardizing the fishery. Far upstream in unprotected Upper Talarik Creek, near the mine site, researchers found these young salmon and trout.

Caterpillar, Borneo

A lichen-colored caterpillar disappears into its surroundings in Sarawak, Borneo. Staying alive in the tropics, where nearly everything is food for something else, often calls for such trickery to fool a predator's eye.

Hyena, India

Photographer Yashodhan Bhatia, a member of National Geographic's Your Shot community, was visiting Velavadar National Park (also known as Blackbuck National Park) in Gujarat state when he came upon this hyena. "The trip was on the verge of absolute failure because of the scorching summer heat," he writes. "Coincidentally, some luck prevailed the last evening."

Jameson’s Mamba, Cameroon

Jameson's mambas, like the one here in Cameroon, have hollow fangs that deliver toxins that can lead to respiratory paralysis—and a person's death within hours. But scientists are working to unlock the medical potential of venom, and soon the toxins from snakes like the mamba may combat heart disease or other ailments.

Lion Pride, Serengeti

A pride of lions rests on a kopje, or rocky outcrop, near a favorite water hole in the Serengeti. Lions use kopjes as havens and outlooks on the plains. When the rains bring green grass, wildebeests arrive in vast herds.

Moose, British Columbia

A camera trap catches two moose crossing Ealue Lake in northwestern British Columbia, Canada. National Geographic Explorer Paul Colangelo set up the camera on a land bridge between the lake and a fen, where wildlife frequently pass. "In the three weeks that the camera was set, it captured images of about 12 moose, two wolves, and a grizzly. On the morning both of these shots were taken, I was actually canoeing back to the spot to take down the trap," he says. "While I was canoeing through the mist you see in the background, I saw the flashes pop and two moose trot away. Had I left five minutes earlier, I would have botched the two best shots!" Colangelo's camera trap was part of the Sacred Headwaters project, a five-year effort to document a largely unknown wilderness area in northern British Columbia before gas and mining projects change the area forever. The efforts to protect the region resulted in the permanent ban of oil and gas exploration in the Sacred Headwaters.