The July 1906 issue of National Geographic featured its first ever wildlife photographs. Editor Gil Grosvenor printed 74 photos snapped by U.S. Representative and early conservationist George Shiras, beginning a long tradition of featuring wildlife photos in the magazine.
Primatologist Jane Goodall bends forward as Jou Jou, a chimpanzee, reaches out to her in Brazzaville, Congo. Goodall revolutionized primatology with her 1960s studies at Tanzania’s Gombe Stream Game Reserve, where she observed chimpanzees making and using tools, a landmark discovery in wildlife studies.
Photographed by Dr. George Schaller in the early 1970s, the first shots of snow leopards in the wild include this female Panthera uncia perched on a snowy crag in Pakistan's Chitral Valley. National Geographic published the first photographs of snow leopards in the wild in its November 1971 issue.
In Canada’s northernmost reaches, an arctic wolf gingerly tests the water near Ellesmere Island. As polar exploration heated up in the early 20th century, first with Robert Peary’s North Pole expedition and then with Roald Amundsen’s South Pole trek, audiences demanded photographs of the new lands and their creatures.
A Hawaiian monk seal rests on the sand, seemingly unaware of the Crittercam attached to its back. Developed by National Geographic's Greg Marshall in 1986, Crittercam is a camera system that collects video, sound, and environmental data and allows scientists to remotely observe animal behavior and see the world from the animals' perspectives.
A camera trap snapped this picture of a tiger cooling off in a watering hole in Bandhavgarh National Park, India. Consisting of an unmanned camera set on auto and tripped by an animal crossing an infrared beam, camera traps allow wildlife experts and photographers to track numbers of endangered species and get pictures of elusive animals at close range.
Bending in graceful unison, six lionesses drink from a watering hole in Savuti, Botswana, where conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert have lived for more than 25 years, exploring, researching, and filming wildlife. Decades of life in the African wild have earned the Jouberts unprecedented access to wildlife, which they share with others through books, films, and lectures.
A remotely operated camera trap captures the tail end of a crocodile slinking to its den in Zakouma National Park, Chad. Triggered by infrared sensors tripped by the movement of a passing animal, camera traps have evolved from the trip-wire photography George Shiras pioneered in the late 1880s to high-tech digital traps with greater storage and memory capacity.