National Geographic photographers have always captured animals in nature at their most beautiful, fascinating, and mysterious. In 2019, a different theme dominated our photojournalism: animals, as they’re affected by us.
In the Bolivian Amazon, John Paul Ampudia photographed a man soothing an injured armadillo rescued from a forest fire. In Vietnam, Brent Stirton captured a pangolin’s little face peering out of a wooden box as his caretakers bring him to a remote mountainside, where he’ll have a second chance at life after being rescued from poachers. At a clinic in South Africa, Nichole Sobiecki photographed a veterinarian as she crawled with formerly neglected lion cubs, patiently helping them learn to walk again.
The photos illustrate just how much animals’ lives intersect with our own—how some humans hurt them, and how others try to undo the damage.
“What is really striking this year is that we really made a shift from natural history storytelling to conservation storytelling,” says Kathy Moran, National Geographic’s deputy director of photography. “When y