Saturday, August 31, 2013

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.

Sparring Foxes, Alaska

Fox kits spar along the Ugashik River in the Alaska Peninsula. This area, in the southeastern part of the 49th state, is home to waterways, volcanoes, and a variety of wildlife.

Beaver, Vancouver

A North American beaver (Castor canadensis) waterproofs its fur by combing through it with its claws, spreading natural oils. Vancouver's urban Stanley Park is home to Beaver Lake, a small body of water that supports waterfowl, fish, and its eponymous mammals.

Dovekies, Svalbard

Small auks called dovekies dive for copepods and nest on rocky shores in Svalbard, Norway's Arctic archipelago. The birds deposit guano and carcasses on land, fertilizing a mossy garden that provides ideal lurking ground for arctic foxes and other hunters.