We’re a conservation organization working to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends — and taking great photographs in Africa!
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Photo by @kaigner. It makes sense that existing information on animals and eclipses is largely anecdotal since most eclipse science is – and always has been – focused almost exclusively on the sky. While eclipse anecdotes may lack quantitative data, they are enormously rich in keenly observed and documented details. In June 2001, astronomer Paul Murdin and about 250 volunteer naturalists set out to make concurrent field observations of African wildlife over “the three days centered on the eclipse.” For his assignment, Murdin observed a pod of hippos living in Mana Pools National Park who tended to spend their days sleeping on a sandbar and their nights grazing on the river banks. On the day of the eclipse, Murdin recorded, as the light darkened, the hippos “stood and shifted and slipped into the river” like they did every evening. But the totality only lasted three minutes, and the sunlight returned before any of the animals had made it to the river bank. The hippos paused and “looked nervous.” Murdin thought they seemed uncertain, as if they were confused by the disruption, and recorded that they stayed in the river for the rest of the day, “eyes and ears alert above the surface.” Other observers in different parts of the park reported that, as the eclipse darkened, many birds stopped feeding and “set off for their nests.” When the light returned to their feeding grounds, so did they. However, others showed no reaction to the eclipse and apparently went about their day, unruffled and unconcerned. The baboons, however, were a slightly different story. As the eclipse progressed, they “stopped feeding” and observers speculated that they might be heading to their roosting sites. But as soon as sunlight returned, they settled down right where they were and went back to whatever amounts to business as usual for baboons. Baboons, Murdin noted, are “rather matter-of-fact.” Ready to go eclipse chasing? Visit bit.ly/notes-from-eclipses-past to find out how you can contribute to eclipse science. All you need is willingness, a couple of apps, a touch of curiosity, and you’re good to go. #hippo#eclipse#science#africa#protectpreserve#livenature
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Photo by @amivitale. All pets can be heroes for elephants. Be one of the first 200 people to turn your furry friend into an Honorary #RangerDog and your action will be matched with funds to help give real-life anti-poaching tracker dogs in northern Kenya everything they need to #SaveElephants in the year ahead. It’s easy: upload a photo of your pet, add a sticker, and share! Learn more and make it happen at nature.org/rangerdogs! Link in bio.
Photo by Krista Lyons. If you’ve ever wished that you could talk directly to government officials in Africa and urge them to #SaveElephants, here’s your chance. The National Environment Management Authority of Kenya has committed to using data gathered from elephants wearing GPS collars (thanks, @savetheelephants!) to make more informed decisions on where to site future development projects. It’s going to require them to make some trade-offs and tough choices. Please leave a note of thanks for NEMA in the comments below to cheer them on and we’ll personally deliver your messages to the head of the agency so you can be sure your voice will be heard.
Photo by Thomas Vijayan. Today, we shine a light on the mighty lion. The drought and grazing conflict in northern Kenya has been affecting everything: people, cattle, wildlife — and Livingstone the lion. Despite having lived in northern Loisaba (@loisaba_conservancy) for 15 years, his pride moved to new territory in March. We know this because Livingstone is under surveillance. Local partners Ewaso Lions (@ewasolions) and Lion Landscapes fitted Livingstone with a GPS collar in January 2017, and he’s been sharing his whereabouts with them ever since. This pride’s recent move so far away from home is somewhat unprecedented. But as incidences of cattle invasions and habitat disturbance increased in Laikipia County this year, many lion prides have been broken up and their "normal" home ranges have shifted. Clearly this is difficult on the lions and often leads to increased human-wildlife conflict as lions are jockeying for position and testing hierarchies within and between prides. But lions can’t keep moving away from people forever. As human populations in any area increase, so do occurrences of human-wildlife conflict. Collars on lions like Livingstone are helping us to learn more about their secret lives, so we can better protect them and the people they live among in this quickly evolving landscape. You can be a part of this pilot project, too: bit.ly/high-tech-lions (link in bio)
Photo by @nickhallphoto. "In the scrublands of the wide, flat Yaeda Valley in northern Tanzania, the sun is just rising, bringing a cacophony of birdcalls like a city slowly waking. Hamisi Hassani and Palanjo Shububu, members of the Hadza tribe, stalk slowly through the high grass. Each man carries a bow strung with giraffe tendon, arrows at the ready. Following Hadza hunters through the bush leaves me feeling like a rhinoceros trailing a panther. Their sandals, made from pieces of old car tires, don’t make a sound, while every one of my steps seems to snap a branch. They slip easily between thorny bushes that snag my clothes like fishhooks. Soon my socks are furry with burrs and I’m dripping with sweat and gasping, yet neither of the hunters seems the least bit winded." Visit bit.ly/great-rift (link in bio) to continue reading this fascinating story and to learn how we’re helping native communities in northern Tanzania secure the right to keep their homelands wild in the face of growing development pressures. #indigenousday#hadza#huntergatherer#tanzania#africa#protectpreserve#livenature#nature#conservation
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Photo by @ggkenya. A recent training course in Zambia caught fire. While it started off in a typical classroom, this wasn't an ordinary class: It ended with all 30 students donning protective gear, grabbing a drip torch, and starting a few small fires. This TNC-led fire training course taught participants from government, local communities, and nearby tourist lodges fire management techniques that can help keep Zambia's Kafue National Park ecosystem healthy for increased wildlife and tourism. Big thanks and high fives to @nature_arkansas for guiding everyone through the training! Click the link in our bio for more.
Photo by @amivitale. There is a group of people that put their lives on the line every day to protect the wildlife we all love and they are the wildlife rangers. Combating poaching is not an easy job. Rangers encounter carcasses of elephants that they have come to know. Elephants that they were trying to protect. It’s not a safe job. These brave men and women are often combating poachers who are heavily armed and highly motivated by the prospect of a hefty cash payout. But it’s a rewarding job. Here, ranger Kamara sleeps with three orphaned baby rhino calves at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (@lewa_wildlife) in northern Kenya. Our heartfelt thanks go out to all wildlife rangers around the world today and every day. THANK YOU. 🦏 #worldrangerday#hero#stoppoaching#stopthetrade#worthmorealive#kenya#magicalkenya#africa#protectpreserve#protectwildlife#livenature#nature#conservation
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Photo by @amivitale. World Ranger Day is right around the corner on July 31 and we’re shining a spotlight on a couple of our favorite elephant-saving rangers: anti-poaching dogs. Warrior and Machine are bloodhound brothers who live and work at @loisaba_conservancy in northern Kenya. They came to Loisaba from @oljogi where they were trained from a young age as sniffer dogs. Bloodhounds make great tracker dogs because they have more than 200 million olfactory cells (or "scent receptors"). That’s about 40 times as many as humans! Warrior is gentle and extremely accurate. Machine is very fast and a little afraid of animals, but loves people. Visit nature.org/rangerdogs (link in bio) to learn more about these two canine heroes and find out how you can help give them everything they’ll need for the year ahead, including food, medicine, security gear, and more. HINT: It involves your pet, stickers, and a whole lot of fun! #SaveElephants#bloodhounds#dogsofinstagram#canine#hero#stoppoaching#worthmorealive#kenya#africa#protectpreserve#protectwildlife#livenature#nature#conservation
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Photo by @amivitale. On the shores of Lake Tanganyika in western Tanzania, life moves fast. Women in colorful clothing hurry around a fishing boat as it arrives at dawn to scoop piles of silver sardines into their empty buckets. Schoolchildren spill out of their classrooms and fly through the village for their morning jog. Mothers quickly wash their families’ clothes in buckets at their feet with babies watching silently from their backs. Friends on motorbikes tear down the village’s main dirt path on their way to a wedding, honking their horns in celebratory satisfaction. It’s with these bustling communities that TNC (@nature_africa) and health services organization Pathfinder International (@pathfinderint) launched the Tuungane Project. The project takes a 360-degree approach to tackle the interconnected challenges of population, health, and the environment to create healthier families, fisheries, and forests. This World Population Day, we’d like to give a special thank you to the incredible volunteer community healthcare workers, including Farida Katunka (right) and Sikitu Mustafa (left) pictured here, who receive training via the Tuungane Project and then go door-to-door educating men and women about reproductive health. Ms. Katunka shares: "I saw many women suffering from lack of education. I knew it wouldn’t be a paid job, but I wanted to help other women." Asante sana. #worldpopulationday#laketanganyika#tanzania#africa#protectpreserve#livenature#nature#conservation
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Photo by Steve Ekwanga. The drought and grazing conflict in northern Kenya has been affecting everything: people, cattle, wildlife — and Livingstone the lion. Despite having lived in northern Loisaba (@loisaba_conservancy) for 15 years, his pride moved to new territory in March. We know this because Livingstone is under surveillance. Local partners Ewaso Lions (@ewasolions) and Lion Landscapes fitted Livingstone with a GPS collar in January 2017, and he’s been sharing his whereabouts with them ever since. This pride’s recent move so far away from home is somewhat unprecedented. But as incidences of cattle invasions and habitat disturbance increased in Laikipia County this year, many lion prides have been broken up and their "normal" home ranges have shifted. Clearly this is difficult on the lions and often leads to increased human-wildlife conflict as lions are jockeying for position and testing hierarchies within and between prides. But lions can’t keep moving away from people forever. As human populations in any area increase, so do occurrences of human-wildlife conflict. Collars on lions like Livingstone are helping us to learn more about their secret lives, so we can protect both lions and people in this quickly evolving landscape. Click the link in our bio for more.
Photo by @ferodriguezfoto. In the United States, fireworks help celebrate the Fourth of July. In Africa, fireworks can #SaveElephants. Really! It’s a little after midnight on a Tuesday in June and a young bull elephant is foraging in near silence. There is no way for him to know that he’s wandered out of the boundaries of Tarangire National Park and is currently munching on corn in a family farm. It doesn’t take long before a bright flashing light appears in the distance, followed by the screeching of an air horn. While these unfamiliar lights and loud noises are usually enough to get an elephant to leave, this male seems unfazed. A few minutes later, an object shoots through the air, bursts open with a bang, and a cloud of chili powder overtakes the elephant’s senses. He quickly turns, and disappears into the grassland. Why are these men throwing chili powder at elephants? In order to save their lives. As more and more people turn to farming in corridors where elephants range, conflicts between the two cause huge problems. When an elephant wanders onto a villager’s farm, it can have a devastating effect: A single elephant can destroy someone’s food supply for the entire year in one night, trample property, and threaten a family’s safety. In the past, when an elephant made a wrong turn and ended up in a community garden, a villager used the only defense he had against a five-ton animal: a spear. A direct hit was always enough to chase her away … And make sure she would never come back. More than likely, she retreated into the park before succumbing to her wounds after a few days. But these villagers now have a better — if slightly unorthodox — way to redirect elephants away from their crops. Honeyguide (@honeyguide_tz), with critical support from The Nature Conservancy (@nature_africa), has created a unique, four-step elephant alarm system to protect a villager’s food source without harming the elephant. Link in bio for more. #happy4th#elephant#tanzania#africa#protectpreserve#protectwildlife#livenature#nature#conservation
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Today is the last day to vote for the Top 100 "What’s Your Nature?" photo contest submissions! Head on over to nature.org/photocontest (link in bio) and make it happen. This is one of our favorites called "Near and Far" by @yswildlifephotography: "I spotted a herd of approximately 80 elephants walking through the fields of the Serengeti. It was a dream of mine to capture a bull up close. I waited quietly for hours till one of the larger bulls marched head-on towards me while the rest kept their distance. It was as if he were their protector, and when he sensed I wasn't a threat, he turned and allowed them to march peacefully by. I laid on the floor of the car hoping to capture his magnificent profile with elephants between his legs." We’re not sure what we like more: the photo or the story behind the photo! They’re both fantastic! Vote, vote, vote. And good luck, finalists!
Only two more days to vote for your favorite Top 100 photo from our "What’s Your Nature?" photo contest! These lions mating in Kenya’s beautiful Maasai Mara submitted by Yun Wan blow us away. Way to capture the moment, Mr. Wan. Cast your vote at nature.org/photocontest. Link in bio.
Big thanks to everyone who submitted their nature photos to our "What's Your Nature?" photo contest. Now it's time to vote for your favorite! Click the link in our bio to view the Top 100 and vote your hearts out. @s.c.laskey shared this beautiful portrait and story about what it was like to meet a family of mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda: "After trekking for almost three hours through Bwindi, our guides prepared us as we neared the habituated gorilla family, Habinyanja. We cleared a path through the dense jungle, and found ourselves face-to-face with the family's black back, Kavuyo. After catching my breath from the realization we were now among a family of gorillas, I lifted my camera and snapped one photo before lowering it again to allow myself the opportunity to take in my surroundings and our new hosts. Kavuyo's demeanor was reminiscent of someone ruminating and lost in his own thoughts. Sharing this moment with him was unforgettable." #whatsyournature#photocontest#gorilla#wildlife#bwindi#forest#uganda#africa#protectpreserve#protectwildlife#seetheworld#livenature#nature#conservation
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Hope all of the proud papas out there had a wonderful Father’s Day weekend. Let’s carry that love with us today and every day. #Regram from @pantheracats: "Happy #fathersday! Today, be sure to thank a dad or dad-like figure in your life for giving you guidance or watching over you when you were young. This sweet photo out of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, shows how important a father's role can be. A pride of #lions sets off to eat dinner: a nyala (spiral-horned antelope) that the lionesses had hunted while the male lion babysat the six cubs. #bigcats#wildcats#wildlife#southafrica@christiansperkaphotography"
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Photo by @mia_collis. A portrait of the Zebra Warriors and their trusted camels from Kenya's northern rangelands, where @nature_africa is working with partners to protect nature and improve lives. A team of ten Samburu and Rendille warriors from the @grevyszebratrust track, protect, and monitor some of the last 2,800 Grevys zebra remaining in the world. Asante sana for following my takeover. Be sure to visit my Instagram page if you like what you see!
Photo by @mia_collis. The Grevy’s zebra is the largest zebra in Africa and also one of the most endangered. There are an estimated 2,800 remaining in the world. It is distinguished from the plains zebra by its large fuzzy ears, fine intricate stripes, its gleaming white belly, a soft brown muzzle, and a charcoal dorsal stripe bordered by a white space at the rump. Hence the Samburu name for Grevy’s zebra "Loiborkurum" meaning "white-rumped". I took this picture for the Zebra People project in collaboration with @grevyszebratrust.
Photo by @mia_collis. Bao is a game traditionally played by cultures in East Africa, where @nature_africa is working with partners to protect nature and improve lives. Bao means 'board' or 'board game' in Swahili and can be a strategic and complex game that is usually played on a wooden board using hard seeds or nuts. In this case, the Samburu warriors for the @grevyszebratrust I was photographing didn't have the board or seeds and inventively used sheep pellets and the Earth.
Photo by @mia_collis. On the last day of a five-day walk with the Zebra Warriors from @grevyszebratrust on a remote plateau of northern Kenya, this little zebra turned up! Lekureya, one of the warriors, was walking to camp late at night and stumbled upon a pack of hyenas chasing a Grevy's zebra and her one-week-old baby. In the commotion, the mother ran away and escaped the hyenas but left her baby. Knowing the foal was certain to be eaten, the warrior took her back to camp. The warriors then had a 24-hour window to try and reintroduce the foal back into a herd. If the plan failed – a very likely situation – she would have to be reared by humans until she was strong enough to survive. The next day, the warriors missioned to find a herd for the baby. Amazingly, they found the mother’s tracks, followed them, found her, and reintroduced the baby who immediately began suckling. #grevyszebra#zebra#wildlife#kenya#magicalkenya#africa#protectpreserve#protectwildlife#livenature#conservation
Photo by @mia_collis. Part of a team of ten Samburu and Rendille warriors in northern Kenya from the @grevyszebratrust who track, protect, and monitor some of the last 2,800 remaining Grevy’s zebra in the world. Here in the northern rangelands of Kenya, @nature_africa is working with partners to improve lives and create a safe haven for Grevy’s zebra, elephants, lions, and hordes of other wildlife through community-based conservation.
Photo by @mia_collis. I get to travel to some awe-inspiring places, but without organizations like @nature_africa working hard to protect them, that just wouldn't be possible. I took this photograph in northern Kenya’s Milgis ecosystem. The early morning light was breathtaking as I looked over the dry riverbed just before the rains began.