If you polled the average person and asked what they enjoy about National Geographic, it’s likely they would mention great animal photography. While that’s a big part of what we do, there are many facets to our work. But recently there’s been a rash of extremely adorable animal photos on our Instagram feed, so we just had to share. There’s Steve McCurry’s elephant babe, Aaron Huey’s bear and caribou friends, Ami Vitale’s rhinos, Charlie Hamilton James’ snow otters, Paul Nicklen’s wolves, and Robert Clark’s dog portraits.
I photographed this elephant and mahout in an elephant park in Chiang Mai, Thailand, which is dedicated to rescuing elephants for rehabilitation. The mahouts (trainers) spend their lives with the elephants in order to maintain the best physical and mental health of each animal. —Steve McCurry
A one year old Grizzly bear looking for blueberries (shot in September) on assignment. —Aaron Huey
Yesterday I tracked in to the bush just as the sun was setting to find a brand new three day old precious baby Southern White Rhino. Her mom, Naserian, allowed us to get close enough to see her baby who was just a tiny but curious little pea. —Ami Vitale
The moment a family of seven North American river otters (right) meets a family of six (left). They were cautious approaching each other but when they finally touched noses the caution gave way to rolling, grooming and playing. I assume the families are related. It was a brief encounter though and after a minute the two families split and went their separate ways. Shot on assignment in Wyoming for a National Geographic Magazine special issue on the great Yellowstone ecosystem. —Charlie Hamilton James
Wolf pups exit their den to sniff the spring air in Canada’s Yukon Territory. —Paul Nicklen
Meet Kamara. He is one of the inspiring rangers who is currently hand raising three baby rhinos at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya. He spends 12 hours every day, sometimes in pouring rain, to watch over the vulnerable baby rhinos. He calls them his children and once had to fend off a lion who was eyeing one of the baby rhinos. —Ami Vitale
An Afghan Hound runs across a photo studio during a portrait session at the Westminster Dog Show. The Afghan, which is my favorite dog to photograph, got so excited after this image was taken that he ran out of the studio and into an adjoining ballroom. —Robert Clark