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With Crowds Gone, Yosemite Is Teeming With Wild Animals Enjoying The Park For Themselves

The iconic park is teeming with wild animals living their lives as if they never encountered us pesky humans.

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Yosemite
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) — The United States of America is usually filled with gorgeous places to visit for domestic sightseers and international tourists alike, with the country’s glorious national parks topping the list for most travellers’ destinations.

Ranking at the top is Yosemite National Park. With its dazzling 1,189 sq. mile (3,080 sq. km.) park teeming with massive waterfalls, unique ecological zones, and over 800 miles of trails nestled in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, the park is one of the most unique and beautiful places in the Western hemisphere.

However, during the spring and summer, Yosemite can often resemble any other tourist trap. With parking lots crammed with buses and cars, trails spilling over with swarms of hikers, and the park’s scenic majesty cluttered with snap-happy selfie-takers, it’s often anything but the idyllic escape from society that you would expect.

But with the coronavirus shutting down most national parks, some of the most amazing displays of Mother Nature have become off-limits to us, including Yosemite—that is, unless we’re willing to settle for the webcams scattered across the enormous park.

However, the closure has also resulted in much of the park’s landscape reverting back to its natural state.

In a video recently shared by Yosemite National Park, the park can be seen entirely free of tourists. The iconic park is instead teeming with native residents living their lives as if they never encountered us pesky humans.

Young deer can be seen strolling along normally car-choked roads in a carefree manner, coyotes peacefully hang out, and bobcats slink about in the underbrush while the sound of cascading waterfalls and babbling brooks can be heard in the background.

Stillness in Yosemite Valley

While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks, it's reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has. Spring seems to be slowly creeping into the valley, the sun finally emerging after a week or two of rain and snow. Waterfalls are gradually picking up momentum, and wildlife is becoming more active, perhaps enjoying having the park mostly to themselves. Relax with us for a moment as we share a peek into Yosemite Valley during the current park closure.

Yosemite National Park paylaştı: 1 Nisan 2020 Çarşamba

The video’s post reads:

“While so much has changed for humans in recent weeks, it’s reassuring to see that nature carries on as it always has.

Spring seems to be slowly creeping into the valley, the sun finally emerging after a week or two of rain and snow. Waterfalls are gradually picking up momentum, and wildlife is becoming more active, perhaps enjoying having the park mostly to themselves. Relax with us for a moment as we share a peek into Yosemite Valley during the current park closure.”

Yosemite was one of the first parks to be shut down as local health authorities urgently advised the measure to be taken to slow the CoViD-19 pandemic. From March 20 onwards, the few humans residing on the park have been its essential rangers and staffers.

Before parks were subject to lockdown, many of them offered discounted entry fees so that people could exercise and enjoy the park while maintaining their safe social distance from one another. Health officials soon realized that with most other recreational spaces being closed, the crowds who flocked to the park would be a massive public health liability resulting in the park’s indefinite closure.

Of course, the park won’t always remain closed—nor would anyone want that to be the case. The foundations for the National Park system were laid in the early 20th century by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was concerned about the creeping over-exploitation of the natural resources of North America, eradication of its wildlife, and disappearance of its natural beauty. During his presidency, Roosevelt established 230 million acres of public land that was meant to be conserved for public use and enjoyment.

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Incredible Photos Of A Rare Black Panther Roaming In The Jungles Of India

Jung explored the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India and captured stunning film and photographs of the elusive and majestic black cat of the forest.

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Photo Credit: Shaaz Jung

(TMU) – After studying Economics at the Utrecht University in Europe, wildlife filmmaker and photographer Shaaz Jung returned to the forests of south India where he spent most of his childhood.

His lifelong fascination with the jungle and its wild cats, leopards and the mysterious black panthers in particular, was instrumental in changing his career path from corporate to conservationist and photographer extraordinaire.

Jung’s goal was to discover and understand the lives of the masters of darkness, the black panthers. To fulfill his dream, Jung explored the Kabini Forest in Karnataka, India over the past couple of years and returned not only wiser, but also with stunning film and photographs of the elusive and majestic black cat of the forest.

“I spent two and a half years in the Kabini Forest, between December 2017 and January 2020, on a filming permit. This filming permit allowed [me and the team] to make a documentary on the black panther for National Geographic.”

According to Jung, every day was like a journey into the unknown and their attempts to discover the panther’s secrets ended up being one of the most challenging projects he had ever worked on.

“This black panther is a leopard with an abundance of melanin. Unlike other cats in the Kabini Forest, there is only one black panther,” Jung explained. “This of course makes him far more difficult to photograph. However, since 2015… photographers have been fortunate enough to see him and take pictures. We are, however, the first to make a dedicated movie on him.”

Patience is definitely one trait all wildlife photographers need to learn early in their careers and it’s probably safe to say the entire team on the project have mastered this particular art during their time in the jungle.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Jung said. “I would like to thank the Karnataka Forest Department for protecting these forests. Their hard work enables us to catch glimpses of these beautiful animals that are thriving in our Indian forests.”

Raised in South India, with jungle forests on his doorstep and several of India’s best national parks in the area, Jung grew up in wonder and respect for the jungle. “The jungle is a labyrinth riddled with secrets that are waiting to be uncovered. Every day in the forest was like a puzzle and I had to put the pieces of this puzzle together in order to successfully unlock its secrets,” he said of his 30 month jungle journey.

Unlock the secrets he most assuredly did, capturing these stunning moments on film. “The camera allowed me to take photographs, immortalizing these moments, relishing life, and inspiring the world. Wildlife is unpredictable and I love the challenge of tracking your subject before you can photograph it. It feels far more rewarding,” Jung said.

Shaaz Jung followed his dream, a dream turned into reality, taking him all over the world to capture the amazing creatures that roam Earth. Now also an ambassador for Nikon India and Samsung, Jung runs Safari Lodges in South India and in East Africa, where he also guides private safaris.

More info: shaazjung.com | Instagram

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Elusive Sand Kittens Caught On Video In The Wild For The First Time Ever

After years of searching, researchers have finally given the world a look at these adorable cats.

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Elusive Sand Kittens
Photo Credit: Grégory Breton/Sand Cat Sahara Team

After years of research, the elusive “sand kittens” have been captured on camera for the first time ever.

Sand cats, a species of feline that lives exclusively in the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, are notoriously difficult to find, and their kittens are even rarer. These stealthy cats travel only under the cover of night, and their camouflaged, sand-coloured fur makes them even more difficult to spot. Furthermore, their furry paws do not leave prints in the sand and they clean up after themselves to avoid being tracked by predators.

However, a big cat organization called Panthera spotted these seldom-seen kittens while they were driving back to camp in the Moroccan Sahara earlier this year. They had been in the area to document sand cats, but never imagined that they would discover this cache of sand kittens.

Finding these kittens was astonishing,” said Grégory Breton, managing director of Panthera France. “We believe this was the first time researchers ever documented wild sand cat kittens in their African range.”

Watch the video from this historic event:

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Scientists Confused By Hundreds Of Dead Elephants In Mysterious Mass Die-Off

Scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the mass deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana, but are still unsure about what is causing it.

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Botswana dead elephant
More than 350 elephant’s carcasses have been spotted in the Okavango Delta in recent weeks.

(TMU) – Scientists are growing increasingly concerned about the mass deaths of hundreds of elephants in Botswana, but are still unsure about what is causing the problem. According to the Guardian, at least 350 elephants have died in the African country in the past few months.

Researchers first realized that something was wrong in the Okavango Delta, where 169 elephants were reported in the month of May. By mid-June, that number had doubled to over 300.

Dr. Niall McCann, the director of conservation at UK-based charity National Park Rescue, said that a mass die-off like this is highly unusual.

“This is a mass die-off on a level that hasn’t been seen in a very, very long time. Outside of drought, I don’t know of a die-off that has been this significant,” McCann said.

It is unclear exactly what is causing these animals to die, but there are a few clues. Local sources told reporters that about 70% of these animals have died around waterholes. Some researchers think that perhaps the water might be somehow poisoned or tainted, but the government of Botswana has not tested any samples from the water holes yet.

When we’ve got a mass die-off of elephants near human habitation at a time when wildlife disease is very much at the forefront of everyone’s minds, it seems extraordinary that the government has not sent the samples to a reputable lab,” McCann said.

McCann also said that the researchers were able to determine that many of the animals had to die very quickly, judging by how they had fallen straight down on their faces. However, a large number of the animals also appeared to die more slowly.

So it’s very difficult to say what this toxin is,” said McCann.

McCann said that Covid-19 has even been suggested as a possible cause, but most researchers find this possibility highly unlikely. Oddly, this seems to be somewhat localized, as neighbouring counties have not reported mass elephant deaths.

There are reportedly about 15,000 elephants in the delta, which is nearly 10% of the total population for the entire country. A large portion of the country’s GDP, an estimated 10-12%, is generated through eco-tourism. This is the second most lucrative industry in the country, surpassed only by the diamond industry.

Last year, the government of Botswana lifted its ban on hunting wildlife, and has since begun selling expensive hunting rights to international poachers.

Botswana has the largest elephant population in the world, with an estimated 130,000 elephants within its borders. The newly elected government says that the ban was revoked because the large elephant population was beginning to have an impact on people’s livelihoods as the animals increasingly came into contact with humans.

Despite their relatively high numbers in Botswana when compared with the rest of the world, Elephants are generally thought to be an endangered species, especially in places like Asia, where they are officially listed as such. In Africa, elephant populations are listed as vulnerable, but they have been on a rapid decline due to overhunting and loss of habitat.

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Animal World

Hummingbirds Turn Into Rainbows In Amazing Photos By Christian Spencer

Who knew hummingbirds’ wings turn into rainbows when photographed against the sun?

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Hummingbirds
Photo Credit: Christian Spencer

Australian artist and photographer Christian Spencer made an amazing discovery while standing on his verandah in Rio de Janeiro. When he photographed the black Jacobin hummingbird flying in front of the sun, a beautiful prism effect occurred.

At that very moment, the hummingbird’s feathers turned into a perfect rainbow of colours.

WINGED PRISM © Christian Spencer

Spencer has been following hummingbirds with his camera for years, and his film recording of the phenomenon was included in his 2011 short film, The Dance of Time.

The movie received 10 international awards and three best film honours. But that wasn’t the end of his fascination with the rainbow hummingbirds. Years later, Spencer returned to the subject.

THE ECLIPSE © Christian Spencer

I decided to try and photograph the same phenomenon with my camera,” he told Collective Spark. The resulting series, Winged Prism, reveal “a secret of nature that cannot be seen with our eyes.”

“Nearly all of the photos were taken in 2014. I have tried many times unsuccessfully to take similar photos but I think it depends on the atmospheric conditions and how much magic is in the air,” he added.

Despite the fact that we live in an age of post-production and image manipulation, these photos were never manipulated digitally. The visual affects you see here occur naturally.

WINGS OF LIGHT © Christian Spencer
WINGS OF LIGHT © Christian Spencer
CLOUD ANGEL © Christian Spencer
VITRAL © Christian Spencer
VITRAL © Christian Spencer
COSMIC ANGEL © Christian Spencer
HUMMINGBIRD GEOMETRY © Christian Spencer
HUMMINGBIRD GEOMETRY © Christian Spencer

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