Photographs by David Doubilet and John Stanmeyer
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Left: A harp seal pup rests under a block of ice. Right: Two volcanoes erupt in Indonesia.
Photographs by David Doubilet and John Stanmeyer

Instagram Spotlight: Celebrating One Billion Likes

Last week, the @NatGeo Instagram feed surpassed one billion total “likes.” To celebrate, we sought out some of the most liked pictures contributed by our photographers since the account’s debut on March 23, 2012. Some patterns emerged: You love dramatic landscapes and making eye contact with exotic animals. In fact, the Most Popular Animal award goes to the panda—which has appeared in five of the fourteen most popular ‘grams.

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Look into these eyes! Stop the demand and the killing can too. There are only 3200 tigers left in the wild! We need to fight for the right of tigers to live – peacefully and without being killed. —Steve Winter

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A clownfish plays hide and seek within its host anemone in Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea. The anemone is absolute white because it lost its symbiotic algae when water temperatures became too warm, causing a coral bleaching event. —David Doubilet

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Visitors surrounded by a winter wonderland at Five Color Lake in Jiuzhaigou National Park. —Michael Yamashita

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Harp seal pups seek shelter from the relentless February and March winds that scour the sea ice covering the Gulf of St. Lawrence. —David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes

When the rains come to the Maasai Mara the plains erupt in huge amounts of life. Elephants spread out under a rain-filled sky; a prism of light reflecting the joy that they no doubt feel at the rejuvenation of the earth. —Beverly Joubert

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A lion’s mane jellyfish hunts in the cold, rich waters of Newfoundland’s Bonne Bay fjord. Lion’s manes are the largest species of jellyfish and prefer cold waters. —David Doubilet

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Mount Bromo (foreground) and Mount Semeru, simultaneously erupting as the earliest touches of dawn mix with the light from a setting full moon during the sacred Kasada ceremony in the spectacular Tengger Caldera, located in East Java, Indonesia. —John Stanmeyer

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Researchers use winter months as the prime time for tracking and locating one of North America’s most elusive predators. In this case researchers are excited to find newborn [cougars] at the site of a suspected den. Once checked to determine sex, weight and overall health the kittens are returned to their den, researchers armed with knowledge that will help establish population estimates in a given area. —Drew Rush

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Here, for you, a spotted deer, also known as a chital, in the mist of Chitwan National Forest, Nepal. This really was my dream expedition visiting endangered animals in 7 countries. —Ami Vitale

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A shooting star high above the Tien Shan mountains of Kazakhstan. —Andy Bardon

And now, presenting the most liked photo from the @NatGeo Instagram feed, as of today:

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Nín hǎo! I just arrived in China and I’m looking forward to a month of panda-monium while I am on assignment. This photo was taken at the panda breeding center in Bifengxia Panda Base in Ya’an, Sichuan, managed by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda. —Ami Vitale

For 127 years, National Geographic has striven to show you the world and all that’s in it. With each tap of that little heart, you affirm our mission. We’re grateful to our photographers for their amazing work and to our followers for their passion and support.

What’s not to like?