How to tell if a wild baby animal needs your help—and what to do about it by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

[–]nationalgeographic[S] 35 points36 points  (0 children)

Baby animals are adorable, and when we see one that appears to be in trouble, it’s not surprising that we want to help. Here’s what to do—and what not to do—if you see a critter you think might be in trouble.

➡️ Watch from a distance. If a person approaches a baby animal, it may flee and create new and stressful hurdles for a parent trying to locate its young.

➡️Consider if the animal’s injured and how long it’s been alone. When an animal’s visibly injured, the best approach is to call a local game and fish department, veterinarian, or a licensed local wildlife rehabilitator to get advice about next steps.

➡️Know when to intervene. There are some exceptions to the rules. An often-repeated myth is that handling a baby animal, particularly a bird, may cause its mother to refuse to take it back. If you accidentally knock a bird’s nest out of a tree or observe a baby bird fall, you typically can gently return the bird to its nest. And If you see a turtle crossing the road and it’s safe to stop your car and traffic, it’s fine to help the animal get to its destination.

Read more about if—and how—to help an animal in trouble: https://on.natgeo.com/42mYIT5

These violent undersea volcanoes harbor a secret: life by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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Words by Laurent Ballesta: The place is almost unreal—black rocks, columns of bubbles, red sediment, hot water. Depending on when and where the last eruption of an undersea volcano occurred, you can find a desert of rock or black sand that is almost ashes. Then, a few meters away, there is a flamboyant ecosystem rich with sea fans, corals, sponges, and fish. Here in the Aeolian archipelago, the heart of the most active volcanic system in the Mediterranean, life survives despite difficult, destructive conditions.

In very shallow waters or at depths of more than 80 meters (260 ft) below the surface, an extraordinary scene comes into view. Hot gases escape through undersea vents and release particles that crystallize in the cold sea, forming chimney-like structures. Some of them grow to as high as four meters (12 ft) and can disintegrate in an instant when the hot gases subside. Such a dramatic destiny, for the terrain as well as for the marine life, underscores the place’s ephemerality. The underwater scenery I see before me today might not exist tomorrow.

Life’s tenacity amid powerful undersea volcanoes is striking, a far cry from all the talk about the fragility of nature. In reality, nature is incredibly robust. Nature never complains. It will be destroyed, and it will be born again. Of course nature suffers—with all the pollution and exploitation we subject it to. But life begins anew, again and again. The only really fragile being is us. Diving at the foot of a life-destroying volcano makes you realize how vulnerable we are—and how wildlife will continue after us.

Read more about Ballesta's explorations of undersea volcanoes (and use this link for a free 30 day digital subscription to National Geographic): https://on.natgeo.com/3OnD4KV

Video by Roberto Rinaldi, excerpt from "Fire Under the Sea"

How can you tell if a photo is AI generated? Here are some tips. by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

[–]nationalgeographic[S] 133 points134 points  (0 children)

Did you get it right? The image on the left was AI generated. This image was produced with the DALL·E 2 using the prompt “a National Geographic style profile photograph of a cheetah in Africa.” AI tends to have difficulty creating eyes that look real, and it also struggles with the physics of light, including reflections.

Image manipulation has been around just about as long as photography itself. Take, for example, this photo from 1860 with Abraham Lincoln’s head attached to another man’s body—it took painstaking work and skill to make it convincing.What’s changed is how easy it is for someone without expertise to create something that appears genuine—resulting in an intimidating volume of synthetic images. But there’s no need to panic.

Here’s are a few ways to use your natural instincts to find things that aren’t quite right:

  • Slow down. It only takes us 13 milliseconds to process an image. That may be enough to register what it is, but not enough time to think about whether it’s real. An image surprises you when it contradicts what you know to be true, so don’t ignore that instinct.
  • If there is a person in an image, try looking at their hands and eyes. Current AI programs aren’t good at producing lifelike hands—they may have six fingers, or fingers that are all the same length or in a strange pose. AI also often produces strangely shaped shadows in the center of the eye and light reflecting off the eyes should be in the same place on each eye—something that current AI struggles with.
  • Use tools like Google’s reverse image search, where you can upload an image and see if there are conversations happening around its creation.

Learn more about how to keep up with the lightning speed of AI advancement: https://on.natgeo.com/3ALMMi9

Can you spot the statistics woven throughout this watercolor elephant painting? by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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From National Geographic Explorer Tara Keir: As a creative storyteller, I believe art holds such power as a storytelling medium. When paired with thought-provoking words and hard-hitting facts, we can creatively connect people with conservation stories in ways that help them deeply resonate, particularly those exploring how humans and wildlife intersect.

To be in the presence of elephants is to feel deeply connected. These quirky, charming, complex beings hold a magic that beautifully blurs the separation we've constructed between humans and wildlife. Emotions that were once thought to exclusively define our human experience–love, grief, empathy, and joy–are emotions that we undeniably share. Given the profound similarities connecting us, it is difficult to swallow the truth that humans are currently the greatest threat to wild elephant’s survival. Between poaching for their ivory tusks, habitat destruction and human encroachment, African elephant populations continue to dramatically decrease. To ensure a future with living, thriving elephants, perhaps there are lessons in coexistence to be found within these deep human-wildlife connections. 

Video and art by Tara Keir

Elephants are learning to live with us. Can we do the same? by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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Asian elephants once ranged across Asia, into China and as far west as the Euphrates. Now an endangered species, they hang on in only about 5 percent of their historic range.

Living peacefully with such an intelligent and adaptable animal requires a thorough understanding of its social structures, and the Asian elephant is far less studied by scientists than the African savanna elephant—especially in the wild. So over the past two decades, a dedicated group of researchers has been filling in these gaps, revealing an animal that’s different from its African cousins.

With possibly only about 50,000 wild Asian elephants left, including 30,000 in India, researchers and conservationists agree that if the species is to survive, people and elephants need to get along. And there’s still a long way to go.

Read more: https://on.natgeo.com/3KVP8ky

Buffett the Manatee | Manatee Appreciation Day by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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Happy Manatee Appreciation Day! Buffett (shown here smooshing his nose against the glass) and his half brother, Hugh, are part of special manatee research projects at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.

Born at the Miami Seaquarium, Buffett and Hugh were brought to Mote in 1996. As animal ambassadors, they introduce thousands of visitors to manatees each year. They're the only sea cows in the world trained to participate in projects designed to help scientists understand how manatees perceive their natural environment. Researchers have studied everything from their hearing and eyesight to their body temperature and physiology—including the tiny hairs, called vibrissae, that cover their bodies. Resource managers will use the knowledge to better protect this endangered species in the wild.

Read more (and use this link for a free 30 day digital subscription to National Geographic): https://on.natgeo.com/3lMOM67

Video by Gena Steffens 

500 Baby Sharks to be Released in an Unprecedented Mission by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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This team is raising endangered zebra sharks and reintroducing them to the wild in an attempt to save them from extinction.

While scientists often reintroduce rare captive animals on land—think California condors or giant pandas in China—nothing quite like this has ever been tried with sharks, which are disappearing around the world at an alarming clip. But some of the top shark scientists in the world believe this effort has a shot at working. And zebra sharks may be just the beginning. 

Read more (and use this link for a free 30 day digital subscription to National Geographic): https://on.natgeo.com/3LCz7Az

Video by Jennifer Hayes, photo by David Doubilet.

Mushroom Hunting with Nat Geo Reporter Alejandra Borunda by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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California is having an epic 'supershroom' season. Here’s why—and how to start shroom-hunting: https://on.natgeo.com/3FrLnQN

Video by Michael Christopher Brown and Alejandra Borunda

Photographer Dan Winters On Assignment Covering a NASA Moonwalk Simulation by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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To safely return humans to the moon, NASA's Artemis program went to the Arizona desert last October and tested the tools and procedures that astronauts will use on future moonwalks.

The main goal of this mission and other analog missions is not to train the astronauts, but to test everything else—from the chisels the moonwalkers will wield to the documentation that scientists back on Earth will use to catalog each excursion on the lunar surface.

As NASA and its international partners prepare to return to the lunar surface, they are also readying technologies that could enable a whole new era of exploration. In 2020, Japan’s space agency partnered with Toyota to build a crewed, pressurized moon rover. But before astronauts can scoot around lunar craters, engineers on Earth need as much data as possible on the astronauts’ needs.

So in mid-October, a team of astronauts participated in an analog mission called the Desert Research and Technology Studies, or Desert RATS (D-RATS). The astronauts, as well as a team of engineers, lived for about a week in groups of two within a NASA test rover, driving around Black Point Lava Flow near SP Crater.

Photographer Dan Winters followed—and photographed—both of these missions while on assignment for Nat Geo. Read more: https://on.natgeo.com/3F8eisO

See How We Photographed Microscopic Creatures by nationalgeographic in u/nationalgeographic

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At the microscopic level, soil from Germany’s Black Forest is a fantastical realm—one that’s mirrored in wooded ecosystems worldwide. Here's how we photographed microscopic creatures hidden in the forest's soil.
Video by Oliver Meckes.