Peter Houlihan @peter_houlihan

Expedition Leader • Conservation Scientist • Photographer @natgeo Explorer | 📸 @natgeoimagecollection @patagonia Gear Tester | Director @brincc_borneo

Peter Houlihan photos and videos

3 days ago

Photo by @christianziegler // A team of biologists camp on a remote island within Panama’s Coiba National Park to document its biodiversity. Excited to be reunited with members of this 2015 team of Panamanian scientists for the next week for a jaguar conservation expedition on the mainland. #panama #conservation

4 days ago

Moonlight. Lightning. Lightning bugs. . A spectacular display of light on my final night in the field in the US for the foreseeable future. @corkscrewswamp w/ @macstonephoto #fireflies #moon #twanight

2 weeks ago

Nature is always full of surprises. Even after exploring the same forests for years, every day has a different sunrise and sunset; each tree has a different canopy; the water in the swamp rises and falls; the otters come and go. There’s always more to observe, experience, and learn. For me, the more immersed I am somewhere, the more I am connected to the minutiae that make these places so special; consequently we are able to more effectively enact change as conservationists and comprehensively communicate this work as storytellers. That is true for these swamps. It’s been a privilege to work in the majestic wild places of Florida for so many years since I first moved to the state in 2012 to work @floridamuseum I am eternally grateful to the park staff and colleagues at Fakahatchee @fl stateparks and @corkscrewswamp who have welcomed and supported me on so many projects for so many years. We accomplished amazing work that benefits endangered species and the conservation of the Greater Everglades. For that, and for these relationships, I am proud. I look forward to sharing more from this work in the near future. After yet another successful week of adventures and really admirable teamwork with @macstonephoto , I am now prepping to head back abroad for a series of exciting and diverse expeditions and conservation projects for the remainder of the year. Thank you for following along. I hope that sharing this work inspires people to care about these environments and our planet. 🙏🏼 . #conservation #Florida

2 weeks ago

Special thanks to @reddigitalcinema for all of the continued support for filming in #Panama ! Here are some stills taken from 8K video from recent expeditions for a documentary film production. . #Repost @reddigitalcinema // Stills from motion shot in Panama by Photographer and Conservation Scientist @Peter_Houlihan on the #HELIUM8K camera. Follow his expeditions  @Peter_Houlihan #ShotonRED

3 weeks ago

Just over a year ago,  @macstonephoto reached out to me asking if I could help rig some trees to climb in the swamps of Florida. Little did we know, what would result was the most epic joining of forces in a ridiculous summer of nonstop adventures, unreal photography missions that simply shouldn't have been possible, exciting research, and a friendship that supported me through the most challenging of times. All profound understatements. A year later, we reunited to continue Mac's remarkable longterm work documenting swamps of the southeastern United States, and I couldn't be more proud of him or excited that his work is now supported by a grant from  @insidenatgeo It's an honor to work together. The level of combined efficiency, creativity, and success with extremely complex projects is insane. If you don't already have his book, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of "Everglades: America's Wetland," and go ahead and give @macstonephoto a follow to stay tuned with his work while I'm away in the jungles for the rest of the year. . #climbing #treeclimbing #cypress #swamp #photography #climb #natgeo

3 weeks ago

Nature's fireworks. Photographing on the east coast of the US this past week was reminiscent of my childhood growing up in the mid-Atlantic. I found myself reconnecting with familiar habitats that I used to explore, reacquainting with tree species that I hadn't seen in many years, and appreciating the wildness that exists throughout this country - oftentimes not that far away at all. Growing up, we used to call this connection to nature "playing outside" - something that everyone could relate to (before the advent of smartphones and social media ). These spaces were my education and the foundation for my passion for conservation. The closer and more intertwined you are to nature, the more you understand our dependency on it, and the more you care about preserving it. Today, many live very distant from this reality - in areas with so much light pollution that we cannot even see the stars to know our place in the universe - disconnected from the planet that is our one true home. If everyone was invested in maintaining our environment as their only home, how might we treat this planet differently? How might you change your behavior for the better of our species? Would you eat differently? Would you vote differently? Would you treat others differently? How often do you contemplate your relationship with your home? When was the last time you made a point of just sitting out under the stars? . Photo and cosmic ramblings from a recent shoot w/ @macstonephoto for  @openspaceinstitute @natgeoimagecollection #milkyway #beach #usa #stars #atlantic #conservation #twanight

3 weeks ago

Coastal marshes along the Atlantic coast of the US are remarkable environments. In recent decades, much of these shorelines have been developed into monstrous beach towns and cities, making these wetlands that are crucial for local livelihoods, fisheries, and wildlife increasingly rare. It was a pleasure documenting one special stretch of natural and undisturbed coastline with @macstonephoto this past week in the hopes of ensuring its future conservation. . #conservation #beach #atlantic #wetland #sunset

3 weeks ago

Eastern coast of the United States. . Reflections from a whirlwind beach to swamp shoot with @macstonephoto over the past few days. . #beach #sunset #atlantic #ocean

4 weeks ago

At 2:30am this morning, @SpaceX & @NASA launched a Falcon Heavy megarocket from @nasakennedy in Florida, carrying 24 satellites into orbit. This was the first ever night launch of this rocket - the most powerful in the world (and only its third launch overall ), in which @SpaceX successfully landed two first-stage boosters back at Cape Canaveral - seen here initiating thrusters on re-entry and again upon landing. I’m still in awe from witnessing this remarkable mission - the sensation of seeing, hearing, and feeling a rocket launch of this magnitude is unreal. This image is a single long exposure. Photo by @peter_houlihan #NASA #SpaceX #falconheavy #rocket #capecanaveral #cocoabeach #florida #space #spacecoast #rocketscience #kennedyspacecenter #nightlaunch #hellofrom #twanight #liftoff #STP2

5 weeks ago

Last night in the swamp, greeted by some new friends. . @corkscrewswamp #Florida #corkscrew #deer #swamp #southflorida #floridawild #keepflwild

5 weeks ago

The field vehicle in Cuba’s Zapata swamp, a “Wetland of International Importance” and the the largest protected area in the Caribbean. Our 1950s Jeep here had its radiator held in by a wire, and got the job done. . 2017. #archives #Cuba #Zapata #cienaga #playalarga #matanzas #jeep #caribbean

last month

A fiery sunset ignites the sky over camp as the rainy season begins in full force on Panama’s Pacific islands. This time of year has the most dramatic sunsets - you just have to survive the storms... . May 2019. #Panama #Coiba #pacific #island #beach #sunset #playa #isla

last month

Bats pursue a Madagascan comet moth in the night sky above the rainforest canopy. Using its long tails to interfere with the echolocation of bats (wispy streaks ), the massive yellow moth (Argema mittrei ) escapes and dives back into the forest. Single exposure, with animals painted by a flashlight, while researching the behavioral ecology of bats and insects in 2015, supported by @insidenatgeo #Madagascar #Ranomafana #cometmoth #milkyway #bats #rainforest #lepidoptera #canopy #predatorvsprey #biology #stars #kintana #natgeo

last month

Fishermen stop to watch as Mount Agung begins erupting at sunset, before heading out to sea, on the northeastern coast of the Indonesian island of Bali. December 2017. . #indonesia #bali #gunung #agung #volcano #amed #eruption #pulau #sunset #mountains #pantai #hatihati #baliindonesia

last month

My office for several months during our 2011 BRINCC expedition in central Borneo, which also served as my listening post from which to study gibbon vocalizations from 3-9am every morning. . / @brincc_borneo #Borneo #Kalimantan #hutan #ekpedisi #konservasi #indonesia #KalTeng #BRINCC #rainforest #office

last month

A moment of rest after portaging our klotok, motorized canoe, around rapids that had become far too dangerous in the months since the rains began. Pak Bani, the head of the nearest community, and Kursani, an expert Dayak botanist, have a drink and wash off their hands and feet before donning our life jackets and navigating further down river. . 0°N at the montane center of Borneo, in 2011. One of several long expeditions here over the past decade for our NGO, @brincc_borneo Looking forward to returning. . . #Borneo #Kalimantan #hutan #ekpedisi #konservasi #sungai #klotok #indonesia #KalTeng #rainforest #BRINCC

last month

Madagascar is home to more than half of the world’s chameleon species. Here, a male short-horned chameleon (Calumma brevicorne ) rests at the end of a branch in a threatened and isolated tropical forest; documented during nocturnal biodiversity surveys on a series of scientific research expeditions supported by grants from @insidenatgeo & @rainforesttrust #Madagascar #chameleon #conservation #biodiversity #herps #chameleonsofinstagram #rainforest #natgeo

last month

Face to face. An egret catches a small catfish in the swamps of central Florida. . #Florida #egret #fishing #swamp #fl #birds #birdsofinstagram #floridawild

last month

Looking before leaping, an endangered black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi ) hangs from its tail to look ahead through the forest while swinging through the canopy. In order to sustain their highly energetic lifestyle, spider monkeys feed on fruits rich in sugars. They cover an impressive range, using their prehensile tail as a fifth limb in navigating the treetops with remarkable agility. Spider monkeys often hang solely from their tail while foraging, freeing up both hands and feet for feeding. Due to their large swaths of old growth forest that they require in order to roam, spider monkeys have suffered greatly from habitat loss throughout the Americas, where they are one of the largest monkeys. As a result, several recognized subspecies are considered Critically Endangered. . . #tortuguero #costarica #puravida #nature #rainforest #monkey #ateles #spidermonkey #conservation #mono

last month

Watch where you step. A venomous cottonmouth sits in a defensive posture, advertising its namesake cotton mouth and fangs. Endemic to the southeastern United States, these pit vipers (Agkistrodon piscivorus ) are encountered frequently in the swamps of south Florida. This was one of my very first encounters, one of thousands, many years ago when starting what turned into a long term field study in the Fakahatchee Strand, in many respects the most biodiverse sliver of forest in the country. . #florida #fakahatchee #cottonmouth #watermoccasin #snake #viper #swamp #everglades #southflorida

last month

A capuchin monkey relaxes while being groomed in the rainforest. This behavior serves more than just maintaining cleanliness, it’s crucial for bonding and relationships in many species of primates. . 8K screengrab from the @reddigitalcinema while filming on expedition on Panama’s Isla Coiba. #ShotOnRED #Panama #Coiba #monkey #capuchin #rainforest

last month

Excited to be joining the @natgeoexpeditions Expert Team, and I’m particularly thrilled about my first trip in a few months. More details to come later. For now, a behind the scenes look into my natural habitat: Documenting rainforest canopies and teaching tree climbing across Ecuador earlier this year (discovered on my phone recently while looking for a semi-presentable field profile photo ). . #treeclimbing #climbing #rainforest #canopy #ecuador #andes #mashpi #selva #bosque #conservation

last month

Nighttime camp views while on expedition #5 recently in Panama’s Coiba National Park. The calm before the storms. April/May 2019. . #Panama #Coiba #stars #palmtrees #island #beach #estrellas #isla #playa

last month

Sitting on the dock of the bay last weekend. Growing up in the Chesapeake Bay watershed was the foundation of my understanding of ecology and environmental conservation. One of our planet’s most impressive estuaries, the Bay was also the first described marine dead zone on Earth. Over the past fifty years, oyster and crab populations, fisheries, aquatic vegetation habitats, and local economies have declined substantially. Various restoration efforts have been underway since the 90s, but there is still a very long way to go, and much more funding is needed to truly restore this majestic treasure. The State of the Bay Report, the comprehensive annual assessment of Chesapeake Bay health, gave the Bay a 33 out of 100 in 2018 (higher than recent decades ), stating, “There are heartening signs that the Bay is building resiliency. Bay grasses remain intact and recent studies indicate an improving trend in underwater dead zones over the long term. But the system remains dangerously out of balance. And new challenges like climate change and a federal administration attempting to rollback fundamental environmental protections are threatening success.” For more on what is being done to #savethebay , check out @chesapeakebayfoundation #Chesapeake #maryland #conservation #sunset #chesapeakebay #climatechange

last month

Coiba National Park is the last remaining stronghold of the scarlet macaw in Panama. Dependent on the fruit of almond trees, pictured here, much of their coastal habitats throughout their distribution have been developed, while they are still captured for the pet trade and poached for their feathers, often for elaborate Carnaval costumes. Despite existing within a national park, the macaws on Coiba are also constantly at risk by the same threats of development and poaching. They’re a national treasure worth protecting. . #Panama #Coiba #macaw #parrot #aramacao #bird #conservation

May 2019

Reacquainting with old friends. After many months out at sea searching for mates, this American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus ), locally named Tito, has returned to his beach. Beat up, scarred, and missing a toe, it was a rough mating season for him. But in nearby bays and coves, the mangroves are teeming with a new generation of baby crocodiles. The king of northern Coiba, it’s likely these little ones are his offspring, under the close care of a massive female crocodile whose nest I camped next to for weeks. . #Panama #Coiba #crocodile #island #lagarto #cocodrillo #beach

May 2019

Night one views from base camp. The beautifully ominous calm before the storms. April 2019. . #Coiba #Panama #sunset #beach #playa #island

May 2019

Tonight the skies unleashed hell. For eight relentless hours, lightning streamed down in every direction. A world illuminated in incessant electric fury. The seas raged, palm trees fought to brace against the wind, coconuts became missiles, and the rain howled sideways at painful velocity. Camp was put to the absolute test amidst this merciless carnage. As this first torrential wave passed, a window of stars appeared, for a moment. At last, winter has arrived with a vengeance. After months of drought, the rainy season is here. A sign of new life to come on Isla Coiba. Written 3:18am, 03 May 2019. . Solo and 100% in my element. Rice, beans, eggs, mangos, coconuts, instant coffee, hot sauce, and the glorious 8K @reddigitalcinema Expedition #5 for me on Panama’s Isla Coiba, continuing long term work documenting this National Park with @christianziegler @timlaman & @pelletk Home. . #Panama #Coiba #lightning #stars

May 2019

Sudden nighttime expedition departure guided by bioluminescence and lightning through stormy seas, after however many weeks alone on islands in the pacific. . Hectic, haggard, and grainy. Canon 1DXii handheld at 0.4” ~35knots ISO 52,000, 16-35mm f/2.8 #Panama #pirates #cominginHOT

April 2019

A tiny #chameleon walks across the hand of @rasoloart , during one of many @insidenatgeo expeditions together across #Madagascar over the years. Rasolo is an extremely talented scientific illustrator, and an even better human. Please have a look at his page ( @rasoloart ) for examples of his #art documenting the natural history of Madagascar. In celebrating #EarthDay this week, I am sharing some of the individuals with whom I have the great privilege to work on #rainforest #conservation projects around the world. #scientificillustration #natgeo #biology #Malagasy

April 2019

Thank you to all those working tirelessly in conservation, science, policy, and media around the world to fight for our planet, and in turn, us as a species. Our home has never been more imperiled. On this #EarthDay , and every day, I’m grateful for all of my friends and colleagues around the world who have dedicated their lives to this cause. You are true heroes. This week I am going to share some of these individuals with whom I have the great privilege to work. . Pictured here, Ecuadorian biologists, Professor of #Entomology Dr. @sebastianpadronm and his student, @arianavelez98 , venture into the #Amazon #rainforest on a recent expedition to better understand the immense #biodiversity of this spectacular ecosystem, in an area extremely at risk to large scale illegal gold mining. #ecuador #roam247

April 2019

Home for the past few days. . #FullMoon #sunset #SanBlas #Panama #GunaYala #WHPplanetearth

April 2019

A critically endangered black-and-white ruffed lemur (Varecia variegata ) looks down from the canopy after eating palm fruit. Found almost exclusively in primary #rainforest in #Madagascar , of which approximately 2% of the historical extent remains, only a few populations of this #lemur occur in the wild today. This week I am doing an #IGtakeover for @rainforestalliance , sharing images from recent rainforest #conservation projects and featuring rare and endangered wildlife encountered in the past year. Check it out. Often difficult to track down and observe through the rugged montane rainforests of eastern Madagascar, this individual was preoccupied with feeding, permitting an incredible view for nearly an hour. The rainforests of #Ranomafana National Park shown here are a crucial stronghold for more than a dozen species of threatened and endangered #lemurs April 2018. Photo by @peter_houlihan

April 2019

Two humpback whales, a mother and calf, surface in the waters directly offshore of Panama’s Isla Coiba. Due to the warmth of Coiba’s waters in the eastern Pacific, humpbacks migrate from across both Northern and Southern Hemispheres to congregate in these secluded coves to give birth to their calves. @timlaman and I encountered these whales on day one of our last expedition, on our initial approach to the island with @divebasecoiba #coiba #panama #coibanationalpark #veraguas #humpback #whale #ballena #isla #island @natgeoimagecollection

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