Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wildlife. Show all posts

Video: Rare Drone Footage of a Blue Whale

Blue whales are amongst the rarest and most elusive animals on the planet, and while they had been brought to the brink of extinction, they seem to slowly be making their way back from the edge. This video gives us an amazing look at one of these creatures from a drone's eye view. The clip shows us how the blue whale eats as it goes about its life in the ocean. As the largest creature ever known to inhabit the Earth, it is quite a sight, and one that I was fortunate enough to see on my recent visit to the Southern Ocean. Check it out for yourself below.

Video: The Colors of Africa

It's no secret that Africa is one of my favorite places to visit, and if you wonder why, you only need to  watch this video. It is a colorful, majestic place that is filled with life and energy. In this clip, you'll catch a glimpse of the people, landscapes, and wildlife that make Africa such a special place. Just watching it makes me long to go back. Enjoy.

Colors of AFRICA by Avichai Wechsler from אביחי וקסלר צילום on Vimeo.

North Pole 2017: Barneo Closes for the Season, More on Polar Bear Shooting

The 2017 North Pole expedition season has come to a close. The Barneo Ice Camp, which is temporarily built on an ice floe in the arctic each year, shut down once again over this past weekend, with all staff, visitors, gear, and supplies now evacuated from the ice. By all accounts, it was another successful season, with a number of teams using the base as a gateway to and from the Arctic. And while there were no full-distance skiers to the North Pole this year, there were plenty of "last degree" expeditions that covered the final distance to the top of the world.

For the most part, the Arctic season came and went without too much to report. It was generally business as usual this season, with only groups of travelers and some researchers coming and going from Barneo. But, if you read this blog with regularity, you may recall that last week I wrote a story about an incident that left a polar bear wounded (and potentially dangerous) in the Arctic. That story had now blown up into a full-fledged controversy with clients accusing the guide of wrongdoing, contradictory statements from those involved, and a lot of questions as to what actually happened.

When I posted the article last week, the news was that a bear had wandered to close to a last degree ski team and that in an attempt to scare it away, they actually shot the animal, leaving it injured. A wounded bear can be extremely dangerous, and there were conflicting reports as to whether or not the guide for the expedition – polar vet Dixie Dansercoer – actually reported the incident to the team at Barneo, who could then relay that info on to other teams on the ice. At the time, the base manger Irina Orlova claimed that Dansercoer had failed to disclose the info fully, creating a bit of a stir as a result.


Now, the story has become a full-blown controversy. Dixie told his story to ExWeb, relaying the incident has he saw it. But one of his clients, a woman named Evelyn Binsack, shot a video of the entire incident, and it apparently contradicts much of what Dixie claimed. Binsack says that Dixie only fired a single warning shot at the animal and urged another member of the team to shoot the creature directly without giving it much of a chance to leave on its own. She also says at the time the bear was behind an ice block about 30 meters away and was not being aggressive at all.

According to reports the bear was shot in the shoulder, head, or possibly the jaw, and fled at a high rate. Dixie attempted to follow, but couldn't keep up and was unclear at the time whether or not the animal had been wounded. He claims that he reported the entire story to Barneo at his regularly scheduled sat phone call later that evening.

Apparently, Binsack has turned over the video to the police and an investigation into the matter is being conducted. Dansercoer has spoken with officials and has admitted that her video footage contradicts some of the statements he made early on. Where the story goes from here is anyone's guess, as there are no hard and fast rules with how to deal with a polar bear in the Arctic. Still, the situation is a precarious one, as the animal was clearly injured and could have been dangerous to others as well. The International Polar Guides Association is investigating the story and will likely try to suggest new rules and guidelines moving forward.

North Pole 2017: Skiers Shoot and Wound Bear Near the North Pole

It has been a relatively quiet and non-eventful season at the North Pole. With no full distance skiers on the ice, the expeditions to the top of the world have been limited to first and second degree ski journeys to 90ºN. But, just as the season is starting to wind down, comes some disturbing and potentially dangerous news out of the Barneo Ice Camp.

According to an update posted to the Barneo Facebook page, a team of skiers on their way to the North Pole encountered a polar bear while en route. That isn't completely uncommon, as the bears have been known to stalk explorers in the Arctic. One of the skiers was carrying a gun and felt threatened enough to shoot the bear, which is pretty unusual for these kinds of circumstances. Usually just firing into the air is enough to scare off most bears that wander too close. In this case however, the skier in question pointed the gun directly at the animal and shot it. The bear then limped off, wounded but not fatally so.

Nearly everyone knows that a wounded bear is a dangerous one, and there are now reports of others in the area seeing bear prints and blood on the snow. The animal appears to still be following teams as they make their way north, and could cause a potential safety hazard to others. To make matters worse, the guide for the group that shot the bear – Dirk Dansercoer – failed to inform the Barneo team, which could have warned North Pole skiers to be more vigilant while on their way to that destination.

At the moment, the incident is still under investigation, which is made all the more challenging since Dansercoer has already depart the Arctic for the season. Hopefully the teams that are still skiing will stay safe as they wrap up the remainder of their journey.

Encountering polar bears is one of the challenges that comes with travel in the Arctic. The creatures live and hunt in that environment, and nearly every veteran explorer of that part of the world has at least one or two tales to tell of encountering the massive animals in the wild. Guns are often carried to scare them away, but rarely are they used to actually shoot the creatures. This is a very rare case where the bear was actually shot for one reason or another.

In other news, Barneo is getting close to wapping up for the season. According to ExWeb, the team there has begun breaking camp and disassembling unused tents, packing gear, and so on. That means that the season is nearly at an end. That may be a good thing with a wounded bear in the area.

Video: Beautiful South Africa by Drone

If you want to know why I love Africa so much for a travel destination, all you have to do is take one look at this video. Shot using a DJI Mavic Pro, this short but sweet clip provides an amazing look at an amazing country. From landscapes to wildlife to breathtaking sunsets, this has it all.

SOUTH AFRICA - A Mavic Tale from Rind-Raja Picture Company on Vimeo.

Video: Rare Snow Leopards Caught on Film in the Wild

Snow leopards are amongst the most endangered creatures on the planet, and spotting them in the wild is a rare feat indeed. In this clip, we catch a glimpse of these incredibly elusive cats thanks to camera trap footage captured by National Geographic. These leopards were found in the Altai Mountains of Russia, not far from the border with China and Mongolia, a place I was fortunate enough to see last years. Sadly, there were no snow leopards to be found on my journey, but this video makes up for that.

Video: A Visit to South Georgia Island

I haven't had a chance to share any stories from my visit to South Georgia Island earlier in the month, but I'll have plenty to write about soon. As I'm busy catching up on other work however, I thought I'd share this video which provides an amazing overview of this wild, remote, and incredibly beautiful place. South Georgia is one of those destinations that you always hear others talk about in hushed, almost mythical tones. For me, it lived up to all of the hype, and then some, providing some amazing opportunities for adventure, interacting with wildlife, and history. Here's a glimpse of what this place is all about.

Video: Searching for the Perfect Shot with Wildlife Photographer Michel d’Oultremont

What does it take for a photographer to get the perfect wildlife shot? Patience. Lots and lots of patience. In this video we head out into the wilderness with wildlife photographer Michel d’Oultremont of Belgium. He sometimes spends days at a time in the wild hoping to get that elusive image that no one else has seen before. It is often frustrating, demanding, and even boring work, but that moment where his patience finally pays off can be exhilarating and extremely fulfilling.

Video: A Red Octopus Takes on a Swimmer Crab – with a Surprise Ending

This clip has been making the round on the Internet for the past week, but I thought it was worth sharing for anyone who hasn't seen it yet. It was shot by a couple of divers who watched an epic clash between a red octopus and a swimmer crab on the bottom of the ocean, with the octopus being very aggressive. But just before you think you know what is about to happen, nature intervenes in an unexpected way.

Video: Mongolia's Eagle Hunters in a Modern World

Have 15 minutes to spare and want to see a unique way of life from a remote corner of the globe? This video is a short documentary bout the eagle hunters of Mongolia, a group of nomads who have lived in basically the same fashion for hundreds of years. But now, their numbers are dwindling, and modern life is starting to creep in on their corner of the world. How much longer will they continue to hunt and live in this fashion? Watch the video to find out more about these amazing people.

Last year when I was in Mongolia I had the chance to meet one of these extraordinary men. It was one of the highlights of an amazing trip and it is sad to think that these traditions may vanish.

Video: Elephant Chases Visitors For Miles in Kruger National Park

South Africa's Kruger National Park is one of the most iconic safari destinations on the planet, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with some of the most spectacular wildlife imaginable. But recently, a group of tourists found out first hand just how close they can get when a bull elephant decided to chase their safari vehicle for several miles. The massive creature didn't take too kindly to the travelers being there and expressed his feelings quite plainly. I had a similar experience while I was in Kruger a few years back too. The elephants there are very large and quite aggressive, with one chasing our vehicle as well. This can certainly be scary when you're in the moment, so take my advice and avoid the situation altogether. Just watch this video instead.

Video: Watch Wild Bison Being Reintroduced to Banff National Park

In an effort to improve the ecosystem of Banff National Park, the Canadian government has decided to reintroduce wild buffalo to that place. On February 1, 16 of the animals – which were relocated from Elk Island – were set free in the park, marking the return of those creatures for the first time in over a century. You can see this historic release as it took place in the video below. Hopefully in the years to come, the bison population in Banff will grow to large numbers and visitors will see them roaming the region as they once did.

Video: Explore the Underwater Kaleidoscope of Cortes Banks

Located 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, Cortes Banks has become a refuge for a stunning array of wildlife. In this video, we travel to that place, and dive with underwater explorer Brian Skerry, who takes us into this amazing place of vibrant colors and beautiful sea creatures. It is an extraordinary spot that few people ever get the chance to see, but you can spend three minutes there with his video.

Video: A Man Amongst Wolves in Yellowstone

We have another beautiful video today courtesy of National Geographic. This time we travel to Yellowstone National Park with photographer Ronan Donovan, who has gone to that place to capture images of the wolf population that lives there. If you know anything about the recent history of Yellowstone, you know that the reintroduction of the wolves back in the mid-90's was highly controversial, but has also brought a balance to the ecosystem there, making it much more healthy all around. Of course, this being Yellowstone, Ronan doesn't just capture images of the wolves, as some of the park's other amazing inhabitants put in an appearance as well. A beautiful video of one of my favorite places on the planet.

Video: Reminder - Hippos are the Most Dangerous Animals in Africa

It has often been said that hippos are the most unpredictable and dangerous animals in all of Africa. That is further underscored by this video in which a man was driving across a bridge near Kruger National Park in South Africa when he came across a hippo. The massive creature didn't take too kindly to anyone else being there apparently, as it promptly turned an charged the truck. The results are pretty impressive. And scary.

Video: The Landscapes and Nature of the Czech Republic

Take a journey to Eastern Europe in this video that explores the landscapes and nature of the Czech Republic. Judging from the clips in this three-minute short film, which were shot in the country's numerous protected parklands – it is a beautiful place to behold. You'll find stunning mountain ranges, lush forests, wonderful wildlife, and much more. I haven't personally been to the Czech Republic yet, but it is on my list now.

Landscape and Nature of Czech Republic from ORCHIS FILM on Vimeo.

Video: Climbing Mountains to Save Snow Leopards in Kyrgyzstan

The snow leopard is one of the most endangered animals on the planet, with less than 4000 believed to still exist in the wild. But as you'll see in this video, efforts are being made to protect these amazing big cats which roam the Himalaya and other high mountains of Central Asia. In this clip, we travel along with conservationists in Kyrgyzstan and witness first-hand their efforts to save these beautiful animals from poachers. You'll also get a rare glimpse of the leopards themselves thanks to camera traps strategically placed in the mountains.

Team of British Explorers Heading to Bhutan in Search of the Yeti

The existence of a strange ape like creature living in the Himalaya is one of the more enduring (and endearing) myths of the past century. The animal, which is commonly known as the yeti or the abominable snowman, has been a part of the local lore for centuries, but managed to capture the imagination of westerners as explorers from other parts of the world delved deep into the mountains looking to climb peaks like Everest and Annapurna. Over the years, men like Sir Edmund Hillary and Reinhold Messner have gone looking for this mountain ape, but other than uncovering a few stories and legends, everyone who has searched for it has come up empty. That hasn't stopped others from trying of course, including a new team of yeti hunters that is heading to Bhutan to find mythological beast.

According to this article in the Daily Mail, the team will be led by British adventurer Alastair Humphreys, who will take the group into Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary on a trekking expedition with the hopes of spotting the elusive creature. The remote setting, which is situated at 3530 metres (11,581 feet), is believed to be one of the yeti's habitats amongst the Bhutanese people. The rugged mountains there would be the perfect place for a rare animal to remain hard to spot.

For his part, Humphreys tells the Daily Mail that while he would love to find the yeti, he is a realist when it comes to these kinds of expeditions. He compares the Himalaya creature to Britain's own Loch Ness monster, which has continued to spark interest for decades as well. For him, this is just another chance to head out on an adventure, and to visit a place that is difficult for independent travelers to visit on their own. From the interview in the article linked to above, it seems that experienced traveler and adventurer is looking forward to the local cuisine as much as he is the thought of finding an animal that most believe doesn't exist. As far as excuses for launching an adventure, I've certainly heard of worse.

The expedition is being sponsored by the car manufacturer Škoda, with updates being posted to @ŠKODAUK or with the hashtag #YetiBhutan. I'm sure Alastair will also post updates to his website  and Twitter as well.


Video: The Official Trailer for Planet Earth II

Way back in 2006 – when this blog was still in its infancy – a groundbreaking television show called Planet Earth was released. Narrated by the incomparable David Attenborough, it went on to capture the imagination of millions of viewers, and set a high-water mark for nature documentaries that has yet to be surpassed in my opinion. Now, the BBC is back at it and will release Planet Earth II in November. We recently got a sneak peek at what we can expect in the form of a 2+ minute long trailer, which you'll find below. When it was released a decade ago, the original series was filmed in high definition, revealing to the public just how stunning that format could me. Now, the show has been filmed at 4K resolutions, which is just as dramatic of a leap forward as HD. As you'll see, the team behind this program looks like they delivered on the epic heritage of the original. I can't wait to see it.

Video: Nat Geo Tells Us Why it is so Hard to Catch Poachers

As the world's population of elephants and rhinos wanes dramatically, many countries across the globe have stepped up their efforts to combat poaching in Africa and elsewhere. This is a battle that has been raging for sometime however, and yet we continue to hear how poaching is having a dramatic impact on the number of these creatures that roam the wild. Why is it so hard to stop these illegal activities? In this video from National Geographic Live, Naftali Honig – founder of the EAGLE Network – tells us why it is so hard to bring these people to justice.