Join us as we take a look through the lens at some environmental events and moments from around the world over the past week. From beauty to tragedy, the natural world tells its own story.
Santa Claus could face problems delivering gifts in the future. Researchers have found that wild reindeer herds are becoming smaller and weaker, and think climate change may be the culprit. A team from Scotland's James Hutton Institute found that adult reindeer living on the Arctic island of Svalbard in Norway born in 2010 weigh on average 12 percent less then those born in 1994.
On Tuesday, British endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh took a dip in the icy cold waters of the Antarctic to campaign for the creation of marine parks there to halt overfishing. It's not the first time Pugh has braved freezing waters to raise environmental awareness. Last year he undertook a swim in the polar region for the world's largest marine protection area in the Ross Sea off Antarctica. The media called his efforts "Speedo diplomacy" after he helped to negotiate the creation of the MPA with a number of nations. In the above picture he is seen diving into the water before completing the challenge of becoming the first man to swim at the Geographic North Pole.
Indian scientists have discovered a new spider species that looks suspiciously like the sorting hat in Harry Potter. They decided to name the discovery – made during a survey of the Western Ghats mountain range in south-west India – Eriovixia Gryffindori after the hat's owner Godric Gryffindor. In the beloved series of author J.K. Rowling's books about the boy wizard, the magical millinery assigns students to their houses at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The internet was delighted.
These are dangerous times for wildlife rangers who dedicate themselves to protecting animals from poachers. In the past decade, more than 1,000 have died in the line of duty. Last week, a Cameroonian ranger fell to the same fate. Ivory poachers ambushed and killed Bruce Danny Ngongo on the last morning of a 10-day patrol to protect elephants and gorillas in Lobéké National Park. The picture above shows two members of the Black Mambas, Africa's first all-female anti-poaching unit. They patrol unarmed within the Balule nature reserve in South Africa's Greater Kruger National Park.
Last week, thousands of snow geese died after touching down on a toxic artificial lake high in the Rocky Mountains during their migration season, reported local newspaper the Montana Standard. The acidic lake, which is laden with sulfuric acid and toxic heavy metals, has formed over the years in an old open pit copper mine in Montana, highlighting the dangerous environmental legacy of such operations.