39 best pictures of 2016, according to National Geographic

Published: December 20, 2016
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A young Rüppell’s vulture eats a piece of zebra in the Serengeti. More dominant birds have taken their fill of the choice meat, leaving the skin and bones for other birds. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Lounging in inches of warm water, blacktip reef sharks wait for the tide to refill the lagoon at Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll. PHOTO: THOMAS P. PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Kids swim in a river where a bridge collapsed in Port Salut, Haiti. The city suffered serious damage from Hurricane Matthew, with many homes completely destroyed. PHOTO: ANDREW MCCONNELL/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC At Fort Hall, Idaho, Leo Teton stands next to a pole ornamented with bison skulls, representing the spiritual connection between the Shoshone-Bannock tribe and bison. PHOTO: ERIKA LARSEN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A panda keeper in China uses a stuffed leopard to train young pandas to fear their biggest wild foe. A cub’s reactions help determine if the bear is ready to survive on its own. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC With the help of a bloodhound, a ranger tries to track the poachers who killed this elephant and cut off part of its head to get away quickly with its ivory tusks. PHOTO: BEN STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A girl watches as three Kurdish women are photographed with their faces hidden. Two of the women say they were forced to marry ISIS fighters before escaping to a refugee camp. PHOTO: YURI KOZYREV/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Indigenous people farm and hunt in Peru's Manú forest but only for their own subsistence. Spider monkeys are a favorite quarry—and also favorite pets. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Within sight of downtown Seoul, South Korea’s capital and a hub of modern stressful life, salesman Sungvin Hong rests after a hike in Bukhansan National Park. PHOTO: LUCAS FOGLIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC On their first migration to their summer range in southeastern Yellowstone, three-week-old calves of the Cody elk herd follow their mothers up a 4,600-foot slope. PHOTO: JOE RIIS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC These rhinos on a South African ranch have recently had their horns trimmed. Unlike elephant ivory, rhino horn grows back when cut properly. The rancher is stockpiling the horn in hopes that selling it will soon be legal. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Silversides swirl through mangroves in the coral reefs off Cuba. The finger-size fish form large schools to try to confuse predators. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A curiosity, a portent, a looming symbol of the impending change: This May, for the first time in nearly four decades, an American cruise ship sailed into Havana Bay. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The nervous system of this common octopus is larger and more complex than most invertebrates’. Can it think? Is it conscious? Researchers wonder if we’ll ever know. PHOTO: DAVID LIITTSCHWAGER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Villagers in Bagaran, Armenia, sing of cultural endurance and survival while picnicking at night beneath apricot trees—and a giant cross that shines defiantly into Turkey. PHOTO: JOHN STANMEYER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Dressed for Mars, space engineer Pablo de León tests a prototype space suit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre, where fine soil and fans simulate conditions on the red planet. PHOTO: PHILLIP TOLEDANO

Blood drips from a Rüppell’s vulture’s beak. The neck and head are sparsely feathered, which helps keep gore, guts, and fecal matter from clinging in a deep carcass dive. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos, in the Philippines. PHOTO: ADAM DEAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC On a mountainside in Yosemite National Park, photographer Stephen Wilkes took 1,036 images over 26 hours to create this day-to-night composite. PHOTO: STEPHEN WILKES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC To track changes in sea ice, the Norwegian research vessel Lance drifted along with it for five months in 2015, on a rare voyage from Arctic winter into spring. PHOTO: NICK COBBING/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Black rhinos number only about 5,000 today. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON
/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Virunga Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo undergo military-style training, including ambush tactics, due to the constant threat from armed groups. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC In Alaska, a mother grizzly and her cubs cause a “bear jam” on Denali’s 92-mile-long Park Road, open to private vehicles only five days each summer. PHOTO: ARON HUEY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Kirk Odom was convicted of rape after an expert testified that a hair on the victim’s nightgown matched his. He spent years in prison before DNA tests proved his innocence. PHOTO: MAX AGUILERA-HELLWEG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Steven Donovan, flipping into a pool, took a seasonal job at Glacier National Park to sharpen his photography skills. PHOTO: COREY ARNOLD/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The colours of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone come from thermophiles: microbes that thrive in scalding water. PHOTO: MICHAEL NICHOLS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The carcass of a bison that drowned in the Yellowstone River became a feast for this wolf and her two-year-old offspring. PHOTO: RONAN DONOVAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC The capital of Taiwan, Taipei comes to vibrant life when the sun goes down. PHOTO: DINA LITOVSKY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC An American crocodile rises from a bed of turtle grass to return to the labyrinth of mangrove roots that offer near-impenetrable shelter. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A harvested bull elk and its prized antlers are transported the old-fashioned way—by mule. More than 72,000 hunters came to the lands around Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 2014. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Tortoises jockey for shelter from the sun. They will cook in their shells if they remain in the heat for too long. PHOTO: THOMAS PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Twilight bathes the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. Pilgrims in ancient Greece may have offered sacrifices here before consulting the oracle of Delphi. PHOTO: VINCENT J. MUSI/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A baby African white-bellied tree pangolin hitches a ride on its mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organisation in St. Augustine, Florida. PHOTO: JOEL SARTORE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Parts of the Yellowstone region are wilder now than they’ve been in a century. Grizzlies are spreading. This one, in Grand Teton National Park, fends off ravens from a bison carcass. Workers moved it away from the road to keep scavengers and tourists apart. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A refugee family lives amid the rubble in Ramadi, an Iraqi city leveled by ISIS’s destruction and bloodshed. PHOTO: MOISES SAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A pet saddleback tamarin hangs on to Yoina Mameria Nontsotega as the Matsigenka girl takes a dip in the Yomibato River, deep inside Peru’s Manú National Park. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals. PHOTO: TIM LAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Eye-care workers use test-lens frames to conduct eye exams in India’s Sundarbans region. Their goal: to help reduce India’s blind population of more than eight million. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation centre in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC A diver keeps a close watch on a tiger shark in the Bahamas. But the scene may not be as dangerous as it looks: Tigers rely on surprise to hunt prey and are unlikely to attack divers who keep them in sight. PHOTO: BRIAN SKERRY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River. PHOTO: RANDY OLSON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Kirill Vselensky perches on a cornice in Moscow as Dima Balashov gets the shot. The 24-year-olds, risktakers known as rooftoppers, celebrate their feats on Instagram. PHOTO: GERD LUDWIG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Every year, National Geographic sets out to showcase the world’s most evocative photography and 2016 is no exception. Its prestigious annual competitions attract the most talented photographers from across the globe and the pictures never fail to impress.

Judges browsed tirelessly through 2,290,225 to shortlist 52 best images of the year.

Here we compiled 39 best pictures from National Geographic’s 2016 gallery.

Kirill Vselensky perches on a cornice in Moscow as Dima Balashov gets the shot. The 24-year-olds, risktakers known as rooftoppers, celebrate their feats on Instagram. PHOTO: GERD LUDWIG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Kirill Vselensky perches on a cornice in Moscow as Dima Balashov gets the shot. The 24-year-olds, risktakers known as rooftoppers, celebrate their feats on Instagram. PHOTO: GERD LUDWIG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River. PHOTO: RANDY OLSON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River. PHOTO: RANDY OLSON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A diver keeps a close watch on a tiger shark in the Bahamas. But the scene may not be as dangerous as it looks: Tigers rely on surprise to hunt prey and are unlikely to attack divers who keep them in sight. PHOTO: BRIAN SKERRY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A diver keeps a close watch on a tiger shark in the Bahamas. But the scene may not be as dangerous as it looks: Tigers rely on surprise to hunt prey and are unlikely to attack divers who keep them in sight. PHOTO: BRIAN SKERRY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation centre in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation centre in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Eye-care workers use test-lens frames to conduct eye exams in India’s Sundarbans region. Their goal: to help reduce India’s blind population of more than eight million. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Eye-care workers use test-lens frames to conduct eye exams in India’s Sundarbans region. Their goal: to help reduce India’s blind population of more than eight million. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals. PHOTO: TIM LAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals. PHOTO: TIM LAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A pet saddleback tamarin hangs on to Yoina Mameria Nontsotega as the Matsigenka girl takes a dip in the Yomibato River, deep inside Peru’s Manú National Park. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A pet saddleback tamarin hangs on to Yoina Mameria Nontsotega as the Matsigenka girl takes a dip in the Yomibato River, deep inside Peru’s Manú National Park. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A refugee family lives amid the rubble in Ramadi, an Iraqi city leveled by ISIS’s destruction and bloodshed. PHOTO: MOISES SAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A refugee family lives amid the rubble in Ramadi, an Iraqi city leveled by ISIS’s destruction and bloodshed. PHOTO: MOISES SAMAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Parts of the Yellowstone region are wilder now than they’ve been in a century. Grizzlies are spreading. This one, in Grand Teton National Park, fends off ravens from a bison carcass. Workers moved it away from the road to keep scavengers and tourists apart. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Parts of the Yellowstone region are wilder now than they’ve been in a century. Grizzlies are spreading. This one, in Grand Teton National Park, fends off ravens from a bison carcass. Workers moved it away from the road to keep scavengers and tourists apart. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A baby African white-bellied tree pangolin hitches a ride on its mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organisation in St. Augustine, Florida. PHOTO: JOEL SARTORE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A baby African white-bellied tree pangolin hitches a ride on its mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organisation in St. Augustine, Florida. PHOTO: JOEL SARTORE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Twilight bathes the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. Pilgrims in ancient Greece may have offered sacrifices here before consulting the oracle of Delphi. PHOTO: VINCENT J. MUSI/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Twilight bathes the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. Pilgrims in ancient Greece may have offered sacrifices here before consulting the oracle of Delphi. PHOTO: VINCENT J. MUSI/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Tortoises jockey for shelter from the sun. They will cook in their shells if they remain in the heat for too long. PHOTO: THOMAS PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Tortoises jockey for shelter from the sun. They will cook in their shells if they remain in the heat for too long. PHOTO: THOMAS PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A harvested bull elk and its prized antlers are transported the old-fashioned way—by mule. More than 72,000 hunters came to the lands around Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 2014. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A harvested bull elk and its prized antlers are transported the old-fashioned way—by mule. More than 72,000 hunters came to the lands around Yellowstone and Grand Teton in 2014. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

An American crocodile rises from a bed of turtle grass to return to the labyrinth of mangrove roots that offer near-impenetrable shelter. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

An American crocodile rises from a bed of turtle grass to return to the labyrinth of mangrove roots that offer near-impenetrable shelter. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The capital of Taiwan, Taipei comes to vibrant life when the sun goes down. PHOTO: DINA LITOVSKY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The capital of Taiwan, Taipei comes to vibrant life when the sun goes down. PHOTO: DINA LITOVSKY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The carcass of a bison that drowned in the Yellowstone River became a feast for this wolf and her two-year-old offspring. PHOTO: RONAN DONOVAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The carcass of a bison that drowned in the Yellowstone River became a feast for this wolf and her two-year-old offspring. PHOTO: RONAN DONOVAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The colours of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone come from thermophiles: microbes that thrive in scalding water. PHOTO: MICHAEL NICHOLS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

The colours of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone come from thermophiles: microbes that thrive in scalding water. PHOTO: MICHAEL NICHOLS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Steven Donovan, flipping into a pool, took a seasonal job at Glacier National Park to sharpen his photography skills. PHOTO: COREY ARNOLD/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Steven Donovan, flipping into a pool, took a seasonal job at Glacier National Park to sharpen his photography skills. PHOTO: COREY ARNOLD/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Kirk Odom was convicted of rape after an expert testified that a hair on the victim’s nightgown matched his. He spent years in prison before DNA tests proved his innocence. PHOTO: MAX AGUILERA-HELLWEG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Kirk Odom was convicted of rape after an expert testified that a hair on the victim’s nightgown matched his. He spent years in prison before DNA tests proved his innocence. PHOTO: MAX AGUILERA-HELLWEG/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

In Alaska, a mother grizzly and her cubs cause a “bear jam” on Denali’s 92-mile-long Park Road, open to private vehicles only five days each summer. PHOTO: ARON HUEY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

In Alaska, a mother grizzly and her cubs cause a “bear jam” on Denali’s 92-mile-long Park Road, open to private vehicles only five days each summer. PHOTO: ARON HUEY/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Virunga Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo undergo military-style training, including ambush tactics, due to the constant threat from armed groups. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Virunga Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo undergo military-style training, including ambush tactics, due to the constant threat from armed groups. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Black rhinos number only about 5,000 today. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON /NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Poachers killed this black rhinoceros for its horn with high-caliber bullets in South Africa’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park. Black rhinos number only about 5,000 today. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON
/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

To track changes in sea ice, the Norwegian research vessel Lance drifted along with it for five months in 2015, on a rare voyage from Arctic winter into spring. PHOTO: NICK COBBING/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

To track changes in sea ice, the Norwegian research vessel Lance drifted along with it for five months in 2015, on a rare voyage from Arctic winter into spring. PHOTO: NICK COBBING/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

On a mountainside in Yosemite National Park, photographer Stephen Wilkes took 1,036 images over 26 hours to create this day-to-night composite. PHOTO: STEPHEN WILKES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

On a mountainside in Yosemite National Park, photographer Stephen Wilkes took 1,036 images over 26 hours to create this day-to-night composite. PHOTO: STEPHEN WILKES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos, in the Philippines. PHOTO: ADAM DEAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos, in the Philippines. PHOTO: ADAM DEAN/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Blood drips from a Rüppell’s vulture’s beak. The neck and head are sparsely feathered, which helps keep gore, guts, and fecal matter from clinging in a deep carcass dive. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Blood drips from a Rüppell’s vulture’s beak. The neck and head are sparsely feathered, which helps keep gore, guts, and fecal matter from clinging in a deep carcass dive. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Villagers in Bagaran, Armenia, sing of cultural endurance and survival while picnicking at night beneath apricot trees—and a giant cross that shines defiantly into Turkey. PHOTO: JOHN STANMEYER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Villagers in Bagaran, Armenia, sing of cultural endurance and survival while picnicking at night beneath apricot trees—and a giant cross that shines defiantly into Turkey. PHOTO: JOHN STANMEYER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A curiosity, a portent, a looming symbol of the impending change: This May, for the first time in nearly four decades, an American cruise ship sailed into Havana Bay. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A curiosity, a portent, a looming symbol of the impending change: This May, for the first time in nearly four decades, an American cruise ship sailed into Havana Bay. PHOTO: DAVID GUTTENFELDER/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Silversides swirl through mangroves in the coral reefs off Cuba. The finger-size fish form large schools to try to confuse predators. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Silversides swirl through mangroves in the coral reefs off Cuba. The finger-size fish form large schools to try to confuse predators. PHOTO: DAVID DOUBILET AND JENNIFER HAYES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

These rhinos on a South African ranch have recently had their horns trimmed. Unlike elephant ivory, rhino horn grows back when cut properly. The rancher is stockpiling the horn in hopes that selling it will soon be legal. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

These rhinos on a South African ranch have recently had their horns trimmed. Unlike elephant ivory, rhino horn grows back when cut properly. The rancher is stockpiling the horn in hopes that selling it will soon be legal. PHOTO: BRENT STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

On their first migration to their summer range in southeastern Yellowstone, three-week-old calves of the Cody elk herd follow their mothers up a 4,600-foot slope. PHOTO: JOE RIIS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

On their first migration to their summer range in southeastern Yellowstone, three-week-old calves of the Cody elk herd follow their mothers up a 4,600-foot slope. PHOTO: JOE RIIS/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Within sight of downtown Seoul, South Korea’s capital and a hub of modern stressful life, salesman Sungvin Hong rests after a hike in Bukhansan National Park. PHOTO: LUCAS FOGLIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Within sight of downtown Seoul, South Korea’s capital and a hub of modern stressful life, salesman Sungvin Hong rests after a hike in Bukhansan National Park. PHOTO: LUCAS FOGLIA/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Indigenous people farm and hunt in Peru's Manú forest but only for their own subsistence. Spider monkeys are a favorite quarry—and also favorite pets. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Indigenous people farm and hunt in Peru’s Manú forest but only for their own subsistence. Spider monkeys are a favorite quarry—and also favorite pets. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A girl watches as three Kurdish women are photographed with their faces hidden. Two of the women say they were forced to marry ISIS fighters before escaping to a refugee camp. PHOTO: YURI KOZYREV/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A girl watches as three Kurdish women are photographed with their faces hidden. Two of the women say they were forced to marry ISIS fighters before escaping to a refugee camp. PHOTO: YURI KOZYREV/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

With the help of a bloodhound, a ranger tries to track the poachers who killed this elephant and cut off part of its head to get away quickly with its ivory tusks. PHOTO: BEN STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

With the help of a bloodhound, a ranger tries to track the poachers who killed this elephant and cut off part of its head to get away quickly with its ivory tusks. PHOTO: BEN STIRTON/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A panda keeper in China uses a stuffed leopard to train young pandas to fear their biggest wild foe. A cub’s reactions help determine if the bear is ready to survive on its own. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A panda keeper in China uses a stuffed leopard to train young pandas to fear their biggest wild foe. A cub’s reactions help determine if the bear is ready to survive on its own. PHOTO: AMI VITALE/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Kids swim in a river where a bridge collapsed in Port Salut, Haiti. The city suffered serious damage from Hurricane Matthew, with many homes completely destroyed. PHOTO: ANDREW MCCONNELL/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Kids swim in a river where a bridge collapsed in Port Salut, Haiti. The city suffered serious damage from Hurricane Matthew, with many homes completely destroyed. PHOTO: ANDREW MCCONNELL/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lounging in inches of warm water, blacktip reef sharks wait for the tide to refill the lagoon at Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll. PHOTO: THOMAS P. PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lounging in inches of warm water, blacktip reef sharks wait for the tide to refill the lagoon at Seychelles’ Aldabra Atoll. PHOTO: THOMAS P. PESCHAK/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A young Rüppell’s vulture eats a piece of zebra in the Serengeti. More dominant birds have taken their fill of the choice meat, leaving the skin and bones for other birds. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

A young Rüppell’s vulture eats a piece of zebra in the Serengeti. More dominant birds have taken their fill of the choice meat, leaving the skin and bones for other birds. PHOTO: CHARLIE HAMILTON JAMES/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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Reader Comments (2)

  • Ali S
    Dec 20, 2016 - 10:02PM

    The picture of the dead rhinoceros just makes me sad. Humans are terrible creatures.Recommend

  • Christine warren
    Mar 7, 2017 - 8:26AM

    Love all the picsRecommend

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