This kit fox named frankie was photographed at @thelivingdesert in california where their mission is to preserve a portion of the colorado desert, grow populations through captive breeding, raise awareness of plants and animals in worldwide ecosystems and to foster education about the protection of desert species.
kit foxes are the smallest of all wild canid species, reaching just 21 inches (53.3 cm) in length. these little foxes use their disproportionately large ears not just for hearing, but to help them dissipate heat as they roam throughout their desert environments. their fur changes colors depending on the season in order to help them blend in with their surroundings. to protect them from the blisteringly hot desert sand, kit foxes have dense hair between their foot pads, which can also help with traction.
Introducing fabian, a male bearded vulture living in @parconaturaviva with his mate, julia. they are both 12 years old and met for the first time in 2006. although it took a while, fabian and julia eventually developed a strong bond, and now are mates and build nests together. bearded vultures are extremely large: they can weigh up to 7 kg and have a wingspan of 231 to 283 cm. they can be found in mountainous regions, between 300 and 4,500 meters above sea level, in desolate areas containing precipices, gorges or cliffs overlooking pastures and meadows. bearded vultures are known to perform 'sky dances', ascending to high altitudes and rapidly diving down, twisting and rolling past the nesting site.
because bearded vultures feed on the bones of already dead sheep and goats, they were condemned by ranchers and almost completely wiped out by the beginning of the 20th century. now, thanks to tireless captive breeding and reintroduction programs, the bearded vulture is finally making a comeback!
parco natura viva is supporting the vulture conservation foundation for the reintroduction of the bearded vulture in the alps, as well as participating with scientific papers and developing educational activities with the public to raise awareness on the protection of this magnificent bird.
this photo shoot was made possible in collaboration with the @greenteenteam.
check out @natgeo fora video of this vulture.
Sarcastic fringehead fish are aggressively territorial. if they are disturbed they will open their enormous and frightening mouths wide in order to spook a predator away. if they happen to cross paths with another of their kind, a very strange battle will commence during which the fish 'open wide' and press their mouths against one another while using their needle-like teeth as weapons.
Meet poa, a juvenile common wombat photographed at healesville sanctuary, a part of @zoosvictoria, when she was just 10 months old. poa was orphaned in the wild and rescued by the sanctuary after her mother died at the hands of a hunter. because she was understandably frightened upon arrival, poa was raised by keeper amie hindson and went home with her every night. poa loves long walks in the grass, sleeping next to heating vents, and... b**t scratches!
wombats are considered the “bulldozers of the bush” and can be found in southern and eastern parts of australia. they feed mainly on grass and produce cube-shaped scat. at this time common wombat numbers are stable.
The ural owl’s four-foot wingspan allows it to glide gracefully from perch to perch as it scans the ground for smaller animals to hunt. any surplus food the owl catches is stored either in its nest or in nearby spaces for later. males of this species claim their territory by singing from their perch, and mates can be heard dueting during courtship. these beautiful birds of prey live in deciduous forests in northern europe through northern russia and siberia all the way to korea and japan.
thank you to the @greenteenteam for the opportunity to photograph this bird at the monticello center in italy.
Critically-endangered kurdistan spotted newts reside in just four severely-fragmented streams in iran. though they are currently protected by law in iran, they are often illegally exported for the international pet trade. captive breeding now plays a vital role in the continuation of this beautiful species.
@zoowroclaw, where these newts were photographed, is breeding the kurdistan newt, which creates a chance for its reintroduction back into those four streams in the zagros mountains in iran. recent studies estimate that there are approximately 1,000 individuals left in nature. a few dozen individuals hatched at the zoo wroclaw in 2005, giving even more hope that the species will survive in the long term.
to see a video of these newts, check out @natgeo!
On this two year anniversary of the death of the legendary david bowie, meet the david bowie spider. this vibrant spider was named in 2008 by a german arachnologist after he was sent photos of one that some germans were keeping as a pet. instead of capturing prey in a web, the david bowie spider stalks and then lunges onto its dinner before injecting it with venom. these arachnids are found in malaysia, primarily resting on tree bark and leaves, waiting for their next meal to pass by.
Harry and kamili are two l’hoest’s monkeys living at @parconaturaviva. harry, aged 15, and kamil, aged 5, met each other in parco natura viva, where they immediately developed a strong bond, engaging in mutual grooming and food sharing. in the wild these primates are found in montane tropical rainforests of the albertine rift in central africa at altitudes ranging from 900 to 2,500 m. although more terrestrial than most other guenons, they forage and sleep as a group in the canopy, where they participate in mutual grooming.
l’hoest’s monkeys are threatened by deforestation on the eastern edge of their main range as a result of agricultural expansion. parco natura viva is supporting the european ex situ conservation programme (eep) of the l’hoest’s monkey and developing educational activities with visitors to raise awareness on the protection of african primates and their fragile ecosystems.
sending a big thank you to @greenteenteam for the opportunity to photograph these monkeys.
I’m honored to have one of my photo ark images of this beautiful secretary bird featured on the cover of this month’s @natgeo magazine. secretary birds, like this one photographed at @thetorontozoo have very long legs, a curved beak, and vibrant orange patches around their eyes. these birds, among many other species, are suffering great losses in their population due to development of their habitats and disturbance by humans. the story why birds matter in this month’s @natgeo magazine explores the significance of birds and why these magnificent creatures deserve to be protected.
This yellow-bellied glider named shy was photographed at the @tarongazoo in sydney, australia. gliders have a membrane of loose skin between their wrists and ankles which help them glide through the air from tree to tree. this is quite an efficient mode of transportation, especially for yellow-bellied gliders like shy who are capable of gliding 100 meters (328 feet) in a single leap! although they consume pollen and insects, the main food source for these little marsupials is tree sap that they lap up out of wounds in trees that they make with their teeth. because these gliders depend on large forest areas for food and shelter, they have been listed as near threatened on the #iucn red list as their habitats are becoming more and more fragmented.
Red spitting cobras live in east africa and get their name from their striking red coloration. they can spit venom almost 10 feet and are very good at aiming at eyes. they only spit when they feel threatened and will typically use this as a last option when encountered by a potential predator-- first hooding up to look bigger and then hissing loudly. they would much rather use their venom to subdue their prey, which in the wild are amphibians and rodents. red spitting cobras are very shy snakes and spend most of their time hiding in burrows.
this cobra, photographed at the @stlzoo, is 10 years old and is quite defensive, like most cobras. though he very rarely spits venom, he will sometimes spread his hood in a defensive posture.
the conservation status of red spitting cobras has not been widely evaluated, but they are often killed by humans who fear them and they are losing habitat to agriculture every day. the saint louis zoo is an advocate for the conservation of snakes around the world and is actively working to ensure snake survival. learn more about the @stlzoo by clicking the link in their bio!
This philippine water monitor photographed at @zoowroclaw is an adult male who serves as an ambassador for his region. they inhabit rainforests and mangroves on most of the larger island in the archipelago. these monitors, though widely distributed, are often illegally harvested for their highly prized meat. additionally, their prime habitats are disappearing at an alarming rate due to deforestation and conversion of mangrove flats into fish and shrimp farming areas. though these reptiles are protected by national legislation, there is a need for increased control of the hunting and trading of this species in order to ensure its safety.
to see a video of this monitor, check out @natgeo!
Mottled owls like this one photographed at the monticello center in italy can be found from mexico through central america and in forested parts of south america. they are strictly nocturnal birds who spend the night hunting, preening, yawning, stretching, and combing their heads with their claws. to claim his territory, the male will sing in a series of short guttural hoots. often the female will respond with a much higher, drawn-out call.
this photo shoot was made possible in collaboration with the @greenteenteam.
to see a video of this owl, check out @natgeo!
This endangered proboscis monkey named jaka was the 6,000th species to board the photo ark and currently lives in a beautifully renovated exhibit with his brother jeff at the singapore zoo (@wrs.ig). proboscis monkeys are the most aquatic of all primates and tend to live close to water. they love to swim and can dive as deep at 20 meters! only males have large, pendulous noses like jaka’s, which help resonate their calls. the bigger the nose, the more dominant the male.
the singapore zoo (@wrs.ig) is currently supporting a project to protect and conserve one of the largest known populations of the proboscis monkey in balikpapan bay, east kalimantan, indonesia. this project focuses on community education and evaluating the importance of regenerating secondary forests to the species.
for a video of this monkey, check out @natgeo.
A biologist uses a specialized, painless “photographer’s grip” to observe this florida grasshopper sparrow at kissimmee prairie preserve state park.
the critically-endangered florida grasshopper sparrow lives among expanses of grasslands and treeless prairies. this makes housing them for captive breeding a challenge. but @whiteoakconservation foundation, a partner in saving the sparrow from extinction, has worked tirelessly to make the birds feel right at home. the birds are cared for in a way to maximize natural behaviors and minimize human interactions. to mimic naturally-occurring events the birds would experience in the wild, the white oak team conducts prescribed burns around the florida grasshopper sparrows’ habitat each february. wildfires in its natural habitat encourage growth of native plants, seeds, and insects that the sparrow requires for its survival. these efforts and many others being developed and implemented at white oak are giving the florida grasshopper a fighting chance for survival. to learn more about @whiteoakconservation and to donate to this effort please visit the link in their bio!
This male white-headed duck's bulbous blue bill certainly attracts attention, but the decline of this species in the wild went unnoticed until it was almost too late. currently, this bird is endangered worldwide. in the 1980s, the spanish population had been reduced to fewer than 40 birds. the problem? farmers were diverting water from wetlands, drying up the white-headed duck’s critical breeding habitat. conservationists and farmers worked together to reach a solution that would allow the farmers to irrigate their crops, while leaving enough water in the wetlands for the birds. once the habitat improved, biologists initiated a captive breed-and-release program. spanish populations today have increased to around 2,500 birds, proving that when conservation groups and local landowners collaborate, a species can be saved!
@sylvanheights_birdpark, where this duck was photographed, has one of the most biologically significant breeding populations of endangered waterfowl, carrying out propagation programs for some of the most threatened species in the world, including the white-headed duck. sylvan heights bird park's founder, mike lubbock, helped lead the effort to restore the spanish populations of white-headed ducks in the 1980s. the park is dedicated to educating the public about the importance of conserving birds and their habitat, with a focus on waterfowl and wetlands. please visit the link in their bio to learn more!
This giant red hermit crab at @gulfspecimen marine lab is wearing a custom, man-made glass shell. when we see hermit crabs, only their eyeballs on stalks, a bunch of claws and sputtering mouth parts are visible. by providing this crab with a transparent home, the people at gulf specimen marine lab are able to observe and educate the public about the rest of the the crab’s body without having to c***k its shell open (which often kills the crab).
giant red hermit c***s are the largest and most distinctive hermit crab in the western atlantic. they occur in the carolinas and on both sides of florida, into the tropics.
for decades, @gulfspecimen has been running a public education center in panacea, fl, educating thousands of school kids each year about the wonders of marine creatures from the gulf of mexico and beyond.
this image was taken using a nikon d4. iso: 200 shutter 1/200 aperture: 10
This is inti, a 37-year-old red uakari monkey photographed at @thelosangeleszoo. he was confiscated from a private collector in brazil at age 12 and is now well-loved and taken care of by his keepers at the zoo.
red uakari monkeys may have evolved their bright red faces in order to attract mates. in the animal kingdom, sick and malarial primates can develop pale faces, so the redder the face, the healthier the monkey will appear. these primates live in large troops of up to 100 individuals. during the day they split up and forage for food, rejoining at night to sleep high up in the forest canopies of the western amazon of brazil and peru.
this species is currently listed as vulnerable on the iucn red list mainly due to hunting and destruction of their habitats. since females only give birth to one infant every two years, it’s quite difficult for these monkeys to keep up with the rate at which they’re being killed.
Meet piper, a brazilian porcupine photographed at the @stlzoo. she loves bananas and spending time outside. she’s very smart and will sit by the door that can access the outdoors almost every night waiting to be let out. by the morning she can always be found back inside, sound asleep in her enclosure. her keepers say piper is the prettiest porcupine they’ve ever had - and one of the sweetest! in april of 2016 piper made her modeling debut on the cover of @natgeo magazine.
These mourning dove nestlings were found as newborns and would have surely perished if @wcasacramento did not help them. these hatchlings were rehabilitated at the rescue center and are now flying free in the wild! mourning doves are quite common throughout california and all of north america, and can be seen in fields, patches of bare ground, and perched on telephone wires.
wildlife care association has helped more than 5000 animals in 2017 and will continue to help the sick, orphaned, and injured wild animals brought to them, as they have done since 1975. a volunteer-based organization run primarily by donations from the public, their goal is to help preserve the wildlife in the greater-sacramento area.