Tagged: environment

Komodo National Park: Where Dragons Still Rule [35 PICS]

November 10th, 2011 Permalink

Komodo National Park in Indonesia is another of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. The park has much more than reptiles, but it was founded to protect one of the world’s largest lizards — Komodo Dragons. In time, the national park expanded its conservation goals to protect marine life as well. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and has maintained a high rank in the New Wonders of Nature competition. Komodo National Park includes the three larger islands Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and many smaller ones. [35 Photos]

forked tongue komodo dragon

The Komodo Dragon is the most famous reptile in the national park. These dragons can grow to be over 9 feet (3 meters) long and weigh over 150 pounds. Photo #1 by Richard Wasserman

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Spectacular Scenery of Magnificent Milford Sound [43 PICS]

November 4th, 2011 Permalink

Beautiful Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s most popular destinations. It’s a fjord located in the southwest of NZ’s South Island and is within the Fiordland National Park. Rudyard Kipling once dubbed it ‘the eighth Wonder of the World’ and its natural beauty is internationally renowned. Having been carved by a glacier, hundreds of temporary waterfalls cascade off the steep cliffs after a heavy rain. Milford Sound is another of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. One side note, as a bonus, if you ever have a desire to get away from it all for real, to poof off the radar for the ‘ultimate privacy,’ New Zealand is the most highly recommended place where you can ‘vanish’ without a trace and live a happy life. [43 Photos]

Early morning calm in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

Early morning calm in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand. Kayaking, canoeing, boating and other water sports are highly recommended if you visit here. Photo #1 by Joe Forjette

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Incredible Iguazu Falls: Over, Under, or On a Boat in Devil’s Throat [26 PICS]

November 3rd, 2011 Permalink

Iguazu Falls, in the Iguazu River, is one of the largest waterfalls in the world and a tremendous natural wonder being that there are about 275 separate waterfalls ranging from 200 – 269 feet high. Devil’s Throat is the tallest of these falls which extend for nearly two miles in a huge semi-circle. Iguazu Falls is another of the very popular finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition.The legend behind this giant falls goes like this: A god planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In rage the god sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall. Iguazu Falls is located near the border of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. The area has two National Parks, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. [26 Photos]

Panorama of Iguazu Waterfalls

Panorama of Iguazu Waterfalls. Photo #1 by Martin St-Amant

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Beyond Gorgeous: Great Barrier Reef (46 PICS)

October 27th, 2011 Permalink

This is the planet’s largest coral reef system and it can be seen as far away as outer space! The gorgeous Great Barrier Reef is off the coast of Australia, in the Coral Sea, and stretches for 1,600 miles (2,600 kilometers); it’s made up of about 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands. It is the single biggest structure created by billions of tiny living organisms. The reef supports an extremely rich diversity of life and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. The beautiful Great Barrier Reef is also one of the very popular finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. Although a large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit human impact like fishing and tourists, tourism still generates around a whopping $1 billion per year. With the spectacular seascapes, landscapes, some of the most stunning marine scenery in the world, it’s not hard to understand why. It’s definitely on our bucket-list to see and dive before we die. Visitors often scuba dive and snorkel to photograph the remarkable and natural underwater beauty of the reef. [46 Photos]

You Can Help Conserve Coral Reefs

You can help conserve this gorgeous Great Barrier Reef, a consistently popular choice among the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. According to NOAA, “Even if you don’t live near a coral reef, you can still have an impact on them. Awareness is a big step towards changing behaviors that threaten reefs, and ensuring your impact on reefs is a positive one. Therefore, we all need to be aware of the importance of, and threats to, coral reefs.” Photo #1 by NOAA’s National Ocean Service

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Infamous Mount Vesuvius: One of the World’s Most Dangerous Volcanoes (41 PICS)

October 22nd, 2011 Permalink

East of Naples, Italy, looms the volcano Mount Vesuvius with an elevation of 4,203 feet (1,281 meters). It is a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition; voting trends show it becoming more popular and perhaps one of the winners from the 28 natural wonders. Vesuvius is best known for its eruption in 79 AD that led to the destruction of the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. It has erupted many times since and is today regarded as one of the most dangerous and infamous volcanoes in the world. [41 Photos]

Ancient Ruins of Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius looms in the distance from the ancient ruins of Pompeii. This volcano is best known for its eruption in 79 AD that buried and destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The towns were forgotten until their accidental rediscovery in the 18th century. Photo #1 by Glen Scarborough

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Amazing Amazonia: Amazon Rainforest [46 Pics]

October 19th, 2011 Permalink

The “lungs of our planet” have been attributed to the Amazon rainforest, also known as Amazonia. This Amazon jungle, or the Amazon basin in South America, covers over 1.7 billion acres acres (7,000,000 square kilometers); the actual tropical rainforest is spread over 1.4 billion acres and 9 countries: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. 60% of the Amazon jungle is contained within Brazil. The Amazon represents over half the remaining rainforests worldwide and contains the largest and most species-rich tropical forest system on our planet. Amazonia grew around the Amazon River which is the longest river, the largest river, and the basin has the largest area in the world. The Amazon River has total flow greater than the top ten world’s rivers combined. The biodiversity of this wet tropical forest could boggle the brain; one in ten animal species lives here and it is the largest collection of living plants on the globe . . . and much of the Amazon is still unexplored. It definitely should be protected for the tropical jungle paradise may hold the keys, yet to be discovered, to cure countless diseases.The amazing Amazon rainforest is one of the 28 finalists in the New 7 Wonders of Nature competition. We love these pics! [46 Photos]

Red-and-Green Macaws DO grow on trees in the Amazon

The biodiversity in these wet tropical forests is mind-blowing. It is home to the largest collection of living plant and animal species in the world. One in ten known species on this planet lives in the Amazon Rainforest. Amazonia is home to around 2.5 million insect species, tens of thousands of plants, and more than 2,000 birds and mammals. So far, at least 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fishes, 1,294 birds, 427 mammals, 428 amphibians, and 378 reptiles have been scientifically classified within this region. One in five of all bird and fish species live here. The Scarlet Macaws above are indigenous to the American tropics. The photographer wrote, “Red-and-Green Macaws DO grow on trees in the Amazon.” Photo #1 by Billtacular

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Kaleidoscope of Autumn Colors is Heaven on Earth [46 PICS]

October 7th, 2011 Permalink

There is no doubt that ISS astronauts have enviable and breathtaking views of Earth, but when the fall season transforms foliage into a kaleidoscope of colors–rich hues of reds, yellows, oranges and browns, autumn is heaven as seen on Earth. As fall bursts upon the forests, changing them from green to vivid autumn colors, the tantalizing seasonal change can be seen from space. Yet astronauts may envy us for our beautiful view. Here’s a look autumn as seen from high above Earth, then zooming down to enjoy Indian Summer and the kaleidoscope of autumn colors that make our great planet a bedazzling fall spectacular. [46 Photos]

Autumn Waterfall at Sunset

Waterfall during an autumn sunset. When scenes are as beautiful as this, it makes us want to dive right into the picture to live in that captured moment. Photo #1 by Forest Wander

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Enchanted Adventure: Alpine Lakes Wilderness (38 PICS)

September 25th, 2011 Permalink

Alpine Lakes Wilderness consists of 390,000 acres of rugged wilderness spanning the Cascade Range of Washington state and parts of Wenatchee National Forest and Snoqualmie National Forest. There are over 700 mountain lakes and over 300 miles (480 km) of Forest Service class one and two streams. The terrain includes craggy peaks and ridges, deep glacial valleys, granite walls and forests that are picture perfect and ready to enchant visitors &#8212 especially in autumn. It is an adventurers’ delight: nature lovers, backpackers, mountaineers, hikers, photographers. We love these pics, but they are but a tiny slice of this Alpine Lakes Wilderness piece of heaven dropped down on earth for adventurers to enjoy. [38 Photos]

Enchantments basin from Prusik pass

Enchantments basin from Prusik pass. Enchantment Basin has been called the crown jewel of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Photo #1 by Jeffrey Pang

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Nature Laughs Last At Glass Beach [38 PICS]

September 20th, 2011 Permalink

After man made a mess by dumping trash directly into the ocean, Mother Nature stepped in to turn the area into one of the most unique beaches you will ever see. What was once millions of old glass bottles have been broken down and rounded off by crashing waves and time. Glass Beach in MacKerricher State Park near Fort Bragg, California, is not covered with sand, but with millions of tiny colored pieces of glass. Oh yes, nature reclaimed the beach and definitely got the last laugh. [38 Photos]

Close-up view of the colored glass beads mixed in the sand at Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, CA

Close-up view of the colored glass beads mixed in the sand at Glass Beach near Fort Bragg, CA. The photographer noted, “Glass Beach is not an official park or attraction – there are no signs pointing the way to the shoreline.” He added, “In addition to the polished glass, Glass Beach provides an excellent point of access to the rocky northern California shoreline, with the furious waves crashing against the craggy outcrops.” Photo #1 by Matthew High

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Wonder of Nature: Galapagos Islands [36 PICS]

August 10th, 2011 Permalink

The Galapagos Islands are made up of 18 main volcanic islands in an archipelago of Ecuador. These islands and the surrounding waters make up a national park and a biological marine reserve. The young naturalist Charles Darwin developed his theory of natural selection explaining evolution after researching the Galapagos Islands. These amazing islands are part of the ongoing series for finalists in the New 7 Wonders of the Nature competition. In 2007, UNESCO put the Galapagos Islands on the “List of World Heritage in Danger” due to the threats posed by invasive species, unbridled tourism and overfishing. Time and again, poachers have come into the Galapagos National Park and slaughtered sea lions. However in July 2010, the World Heritage Committee removed the Galapagos Islands from the “endangered” list because significant progress had been made by Ecuador in addressing threats. Yet in July 2011, Ecuadorean authorities seized 357 dead sharks from a boat that was fishing illegally in the protected waters of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Since the Galapagos Islands have 170,000 visitors each year, new regulations have been introduced to protect the unique wildlife. Starting February 1, 2012, these new tourism regulations will limit vessels visiting the same site to no more than once during a 14-day period which may impact on travelers planning to visit the beautiful islands. So what do you think? Should the Galapagos Islands become one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature? [36 Photos]

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island in the Galapagos

A squirming baby sea lion (less than 6 weeks old) on the beach of Espanola Island. Sadly, the beautiful Galapagos Island which are rich with diverse wildlife has battled with human beasts as a huge threat. In 2008, Galapagos National Park officials announced that 53 sea lions (13 pups, 25 youngsters, 9 males and 6 females) were killed at Pinta, Galapagos Islands nature reserve, with their heads caved in. In 2001, poachers killed 35 male sea lions. Photo #1 by sly06

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Rare Rainbows in the Dark [24 PICS]

August 1st, 2011 Permalink

Rare rainbows in the dark of night, midnight moonbows, are an amazing natural phenomena. A rainbow in the moonlight is several hundred thousand times less bright than a rainbow during the day. A true lunar rainbow is lit by the moon itself. To the naked eye, they can appear white and are also called “white rainbows.” There are a few places in the world where “spray moonbows” are so-called “frequent phenomena” such as near waterfalls in Yosemite National Park, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, and Victoria Falls in Australia. Here is a collection of these wonderful lunar rainbows and well as a few other natural phenomena that appear a bit like rainbows in the dark. [24 Photos]

Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow

Upper Yosemite Falls Moonbow. Rainbows in the dark have been delighting the few who are fortunate enough to witness the phenomenon since Aristotle’s time. Photo #1 by Teddy Llovet

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Erupting Volcanic Paradise: Lava Rivers & Spatter Fountains of Hawaii [48 PICS]

July 30th, 2011 Permalink

Volcanic activity is spiking in Hawaii and people are flocking there to see the spectacular show. Visitors, both regular folks and scientists, to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are able to witness the active volcanic personality and the formation of new cinder cones, glowing pit craters, rivers of lava and fountains of spatter. This volcanic paradise shows off 70 million years of volcanism, but was only established as a National Park in 1916. It stretches over 333,086 acres (505.36 square miles) and has two active volcanoes. While Kīlauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been in nearly continuous eruption since 1983, Mauna Loa is the world’s most massive volcano. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park has seven ecological zones, was designated an International Biosphere Reserve in 1980 and became a World Heritage Site in 1987. Welcome to the Big Island and volcanic paradise! We love these pics! [48 Photos]

Lava erupting from the Pu`u `O`o vent

View at dusk of the young Pu’u ‘O’o cinder-and-spatter cone. The fantastic fountain on Kilauea, Hawaii, is shooting up about 40 m high. Photo #1 by G.E. Ulrich/USGS

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