This water buffalo (bubalus bubalis) startled me when I first saw it, mostly because I wasn’t paying attention and i stumbled pretty close before seeing it. I’m used to the way you’re supposed to act when finding a lone male water buffalo in the wild while on expedition, which can be a very dangerous situation. These domesticated ones do not pose the same sort of threat, but the way they look at you doesn’t seem much different when you’re in the moment.
Today is #WorldWhaleDay, a day where we can collectively appreciate the magnificent giants of the ocean. This blue whale was one of the best encounters when on expedition in Sri Lanka with @oceanswellorg. It was calm and spent a lot of time on the surface, allowing us these amazing moments where we could see it’s nose and mouth in great detail (check out my story for a closer look).
One of the many things that Peru has given to the world is their wonderfully vibrant collection of chili peppers. These have been an important part of the Incan, Moche, Nazca and Chimú cultures as a cultivated crop for thousands of years. Most people don’t realize that before the 1400s, these peppers only existed in Central and South America. It was the “Age of Exploration” that brought chili’s to the Old World where they became an important part of the spiciness we associate with Asian and South Asian cuisine. The collective name for Peruvian chillies is Ají, and there are about 50 varieties that are used in their national cuisine. They vary widely in size, shape, color, and spiciness. The ones I tried here packed quite a punch despite being very tiny. They were fantastic.
Two years ago today, I became a father. The birth of this curious little explorer has become the defining event of my life. Nothing else has fundamentally changed the way I see the world or my place in it than raising Pearl. She is such a sweet and innocent little pumpkin and her boundless love amazes me every single day. Today we celebrate at Disneyland, but I really look forward to watching every moment as she learns something new, pushes a different boundary, and takes one step towards being the person she will become. I give my deepest thanks to @robinbirdlady for being the most incredible mother to her that I could ever imagine. This hasn’t been an easy two years but I know it will all be worth it.
We are living in the age of plastic. The impact that our daily choices has on waste is impacting our environment in epic proportions. Over nine million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year and that number is expected to double by 2025. To combat that, @insidenatgeo and @skyoceanrescue have announced the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge for problem solvers from around the globe to develop novel solutions to tackle the world’s plastic waste crisis. Teams will compete for $500,000 in prize money and the opportunity for $1 million in aggregate investment from Sky Ocean Ventures. #PlanetOrPlastic
The giant forest scorpion (heterometrus swammerdami) can grow to be the world's largest scorpion species, reaching up to 23 cm (9 inches) in length. The venom in the stinger here is not lethal to humans since they probably rely more on their large pincers to kill their prey.
Around 95% of fishers worldwide are small-scale fishers and it is estimated that as much as 50% of the global landings come from small-scale fisheries. They are characterized by smaller, non-industrial vessels with relatively low-tech gear and low operating costs. Small-scale fisheries are important because they make up the vast majority of fishing employment, providing jobs for hundreds of million of people worldwide. As well as contributing to coastal economies and livelihoods, they are also critical to food security and poverty alleviation.
With an estimated 100,000 in the wild, the Indian peafowl (pavo cristatus) is considered “Least Concern” by the IUCN Red List. It’s likely one of the most intentionally introduced birds in the world, mostly because of its beauty. Legend has it that the creator of the peacock gave it a horrible voice to make sure that it’s beauty doesn’t make the bird overly conceited. If you’ve ever heard their call, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
The green vine snake (ahaetulla nasuta) is a mildly venomous arboreal snake that uses its vine-like camouflage in foliage to hunt. They are rear-fanged, meaning they are at the back of the mouth and not the hollow fangs we usually associate with venomous snakes. This individual in Sri Lanka is starting to shed (you can see it’s former head skin coming off) and is in a threat display with its mouth open.
On the first day on the water our @oceanswellorg research vessel was surrounded by hundreds of spinner dolphins (stenella longirostris). It was an amazing experience to see so many interacting and playing with each other. Anyone who has been on a boat that is being followed by dolphins can attest to how exciting it is to be surrounded by such playful cetaceans. The acrobatic nature of spinners just makes it all so much more entertaining to watch.
A local farmer washes one of his domesticated water buffalos (Bubalus bubalis) on a hot afternoon in Mirissa, Sri Lanka. I watched him do this every day with four of the 20+ water buffalo that he managed in the area. They were used for managing uncontrolled vegetation growth in the local farms and opening up clogged waterways around the rice fields. They also use the buffalo to produce curd, a local yogurt served in a clay pot with treacle or honey. Back in 1997 it was estimated that there were about 750,000 domesticated buffalo in Sri Lanka.