Paul Nicklen

Co-founder of @Sea_Legacy and contributing photographer to National Geographic. Please join The Tide and support SeaLegacy

1,153 posts 3,983,169 followers 1,310 following

Why do you think this adult bearded seal in Svalbard, Norway is red in color? Hint: This is not its natural fur color. I would love to hear your thoughts. Normally they are grey. I love the power of conservation, rallying a movement, creating real and lasting change, however, sometimes we need to take a short breather and just celebrate the beauty of nature. With @sea_legacy #seal #nature #love #beauty #arctic #instagood #pinnipedobsessed


This limited edition print from the @paulnicklengallery, "Submerged Grace", shows one of the species that will benefit immensely from @erna_solberg's decision to protect the waters around Lofoten. As we continue to apply pressure, moving towards protecting our oceans around the world for amazing animals like these, orcas will be able to thrive in a vibrant ecosystem alongside humpback whales, dolphins, seals, and countless other species who depend on these waters for food. This species, the world's largest dolphin, is one of the most demonized animals in our oceans and must be seen as a keystone species in the open waters of the north, an apex predator meant not for captivity but, rather, for freedom.

Contact @paulnicklengallery with any questions about this image, and once again, thank you for your immense support in this journey. Partial proceeds support the efforts of @sea_legacy. #TurningTheTide


This is my last-minute, zero-hour call for help to protect the wolves of B.C.’s Vancouver Island, my home and backyard. Through @sea_legacy and our loyal, passionate followers in The Tide, we have worked tirelessly to protect animals and environments around the globe. This one sits close to my heart and my home. These wolves endure barbaric trapping practices and short-sighted culls allowed by the @BCNDP government. Please help us by emailing B.C. premier @johnhorgan4bc and his minister Doug Donaldson at these addresses: / / Let them know how you feel about the way B.C. treats wolves. Then join @sea_legacy and The Tide and let’s keep the momentum going, no matter the outcome. THANK YOU!



It’s the final day to speak up for Vancouver Island’s wolves, who continue to endure barbaric trapping practices and short-sighted culls allowed by the @bcndp government. BC Premier @johnhorgan4bc now wants to extend the trapping season—still allowing leg hold traps—to 10 months of the year. You can send your comments directly to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development, Doug Donaldson: And also to Premier Horgan at and Thank you for helping.


The @BCNDP government is proposing to increase the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island in a misguided attempt to preserve deer populations, lengthening the season to 10 months out of the year despite a lack of scientific evidence. The B.C. government is still not recognizing the coastal wolves of Vancouver Island as genetically distinct and globally rare, nor the highly social nature of these family groups or packs. Leg hold traps are inhumane, cruel and should be banned. If you want to help, join @sea_legacy and @pacificwild in letting the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch know you oppose the NDP government proposal to lengthen the wolf trapping season on Vancouver Island. Want to help? The deadline is January 19th. Email @johnhorgan4bc at Alternatively, the mailing address is: B.C. Fish and Wildlife Operations, 2080A Labieux Road, Nanaimo, V9T 6J9. Alternatively, you could call them at (250) 751-3100. Let’s speak up for those who cannot do it on their own.


I love sleeping out in the open in nature. I do it all of the time. When I do this, wildlife quite often gets curious. When I decided to rest on a beach on the Antarctic Peninsula, a curious juvenile elephant seal decided to inspect. My friend, @drpatrickavery was there to capture the moment. No, I am not sponsored by Canon. With @eyosexpeditions and @aluciaproductions #adventure #wildlife #beautiful #gratitude



Due to pressure applied by @Sea_Legacy and the collective concern of the Norwegian people, the current government of Norway has agreed to continue to not allow oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Lofoten region. I’m proud of @sea_legacy’s role in this victory. We ran a massive campaign rallying Norwegian citizens and citizens of the world to speak up and let the political candidates know how they feel. 8.5 million views and over 8000 tweets later, the international and Norwegian news media picked up the story. Norwegian prime minister @erna_solberg listened. We will continue to apply pressure, build constituencies, raise awareness and fundraise for those who do not have means—all in the name of conservation. Join us in #turningthetide for our beautiful oceans through the power of storytelling and progressive social media campaigns. We will change the world.


People sometimes ask how conservation works. What do we do? How do we make a difference? Today, a clear example is available in the form of a landmark decision by the Norwegian government to not allow oil and gas exploration in the Arctic Lofoten region for another three years at least. @sea_legacy ran a massive campaign rallying Norwegian citizens and citizens of the world to speak up and let the political candidates know how they feel. International news media picked up the story. Norwegian prime minister @erna_solberg heard the call to action and acted. This is what conservation looks like. Every small voice. Every petition signature. Every tweet. Every photo or video posted with a heartfelt call for the betterment of humanity. They all add up to real, tangible results. THANK YOU to @sea_legacy’s supporters. We cannot do it without you. For more information on how we work, click on the link in my bio.


Nothing but deep respect and admiration for your caring and nurturing ways, mama lion. It was an amazing four days on the Mara and I can’t wait to go back one of these days. With @epixnix @lnixpix @cristinamittermeier #nature #mom #motherhood #lion #love #family



A large male lion peacefully surveys his surroundings on the Maasai Mara of Kenya. When lions roar you can barely see their teeth. The picture that I just posted on @natgeotravel is definitely a yawn. The roar of a lion is very guttural and they just slightly open their mouths to allow the sound to travel. With @lnixpix @cristinamittermeier and @epixnix #lion #nature #beauty #predator #africa


A newborn Antarctic fur seal pup perches itself on top of a mound of tussock grass. The majority of Antarctic fur seals are born brown but approximately one in several thousand are born with white fur. #seals #nature #beauty #animals #cute #instagood


In the nutrient rich waters of British Columbia, species grow larger than most. The giant Pacific octopus grows bigger and lives longer than any other species of octopus. The largest specimen on record was reportedly 30 feet (9.1 meters) across and weighed more than 600 pounds (272 kilograms). I find this hard to believe. Averages are more like 10 to 12 feet (5 meters) and 110 lbs (50 kilograms). The octopus in this photo was just slightly below average in size but was incredibly impressive to spend time with. It stole my underwater housing and camera right out of my hands and dove into the depths to stash it in his den. It took me a while, but I coaxed it away. Photographed at @Gods_Pocket_Resort, B.C., with @CristinaMittermeier for @Sea_Legacy. #naturelovers #octopus #nature #love #beauty @natgeo @natgeocreative @thephotosociety



"Gathering of Unicorns" exhibits one of the most unique—almost fantastical—animals from the oceans: the narwhal. Their most identifiable feature, often misnomered as a horn, is actually an elongated upper left canine, a helical tusk filled with millions of nerve endings that transmit information from surrounding seawater, giving the narwhal knowledge of both where they are, and where other narwhals have been. They have also been seen using these tusks as a leading mechanism, as a stunning tool for cod, one of their main prey.
This piece is available from the @paulnicklengallery as a limited edition print, as well as many other images by myself and other active, informed, and committed artists.


Attention, #Chicago. I’m coming your way. On February 8th, @Sea_Legacy is hosting a fundraiser at @MarshallsLanding. Find tickets at or @lookbelowthesurface.
Come meet @CristinaMittermeier and myself for a night of inspiring art and conversation about conservation. Hope to see you there.


My friend, writer @CraigWelch, is doing incredible work with @NatGeo. Most recently, he’s reporting on sea turtle populations which are almost entirely female due to rising global temperatures AKA climate change: “…the sex of a sea turtle is determined by the heat of sand incubating their eggs, scientists suspected they might see slightly more females. Climate change, after all, has driven air and sea temperatures higher, which, in these creatures, favors female offspring. But instead, they found female sea turtles from the Pacific Ocean's largest and most important green sea turtle rookery now outnumber males by at least 116 to 1.” Please click the link in my bio to read more. It’s important.



The power, grace, and majesty of a male lion on the Mara. There was only one animal who I watched him bow his head to, and rightfully so: the lioness. #respect #lion #africa #bw #nature #naturelovers #gratitude. With @lnixpix @epixnix and @cristinamittermeier


My dream of one day visiting Africa became a reality last week when @cristinamittermeier and I were kindly invited by @sea_legacy supporter @epixnix on safari. I have always resisted going to Africa, as there are already so many great photographers who work there. We went to turn our brains off for a week, as doing conservation work 24/7 can be very stressful and emotionally taxing. It seemed logical to go and take a break by photographing wildlife. However, rather than sitting idle, we began asking questions—what are the issues and how can we help? One of the the biggest threats to a place like the Maasai Mara is encroachment from people and the explosion of cattle grazing within the park. On the day we arrived, we saw over a thousand cattle being confiscated for grazing in the park. The cattle herders herd their cattle into the Maasai Mara National Reserve at night to feed where they come into conflict with the park's predators and share diseases. Wildlife must come first, and at @sea_legacy we are going to continue to push in all habitats around the world to fight for the rights of wildlife and their life sustaining ecosystems. Please stay tuned as we have many exciting ocean conservation initiatives in 2018. We are humbled by the support from thousands of people pouring in from around the world. #drivechange #turningthetide with @sea_legacy


I love photographing over/under water photos. The link between land and water goes deeper than the surface where they meet. The shared space of the intertidal zone is a lively, shifting area where predator and prey look for food, both on high alert. Taken while on assignment with @natgeo and @sea_legacy. #turningthetide



Beauty and truth...two qualities we all seek. In 2018, I’m going to keep chasing both in an effort to show you what beauty is at stake and how we can protect it. Join myself and @sea_legacy as we continue to knock down the walls of apathy while inspiring personal growth and policy changes. Click the link in my bio to learn more and follow along on the journey.


In Svalbard, Norway, a lone polar bear walks in front of a massive wall of glacial ice. The landscapes of Svalbard are stunning. This region is truly the domain of the great white bear and I’m lucky to have shared it with them many times. On assignment with @sea_legacy in 2017.


The act of reflection is a way of looking forward. We learn from failure. We get inspired from past triumphs. In the first week of the new year, many of us have set goals that may intimidate or frighten us. As time goes on, we may stumble as we try to accomplish ambitious milestones. That’s OK. Embrace the failure. Learn from it. And keep going. Growth is never easy, but it’s always worth it. How do you want to grow in 2018?


A brief message from me to you, wishing everyone an incredibly productive, fruitful and impactful 2018. These puppies were not mine but if I ever managed to stay at home for more than two months a year, they would have been coming home with me. Photo by @cristinamittermeier while on assignment in #Greenland with @natgeopristineseas @natgeo and @sea_legacy. Check out the story this month in @natgeo. #gratitude #dog #husky #nature #naturelovers


Happy 2018! Do you have any idea why this female wolf dug a hole in the sand and buried her nose? Regardless of the reason, let’s make 2018 a year to hold our heads up high, stand together and drive the change that we expect in this world. #turningthetidewith @sea_legacy #mpa #nature #wildlife #wolf #bc #britishcolumbia @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #savebcwolves #wolves #wolf


It’s time to shake off 2017 and get to work. At @Sea_Legacy, we use the power of visual storytelling to amplify messages for ocean conservation and create real-world solutions for our waters. We need your help to continue creating these solutions and driving a global message of hope and change. In 2018, we will amplify further and louder, growing our influence and creating more marine protected areas. To understand how we do this and donate to the cause, please click the link in my bio. We need everyone on board if we are going to not only change policies, but behaviors as well. Let’s create a real, lasting shift. Please join me. #turningthetide


I am super excited about “The Last Ice” article this month in the January issue of @natgeo shot with @natgeopristineseas and @sea_legacy. The Inuit hunters of Greenland took us in and showed us their connection to the ice and wild inhabitants and for that, we are full of gratitude. With @enricsala. Here, Narwhals pack into an opening in the melting spring ice in Lancaster Sound, Nunavut. In the winter, most of these whales will exist in the icy waters off of Greenland but will then migrate to Lancaster Sound in the summer. Did you know that they can dive up to a mile deep? #narwhal #naturelovers #ice #bethechange


You know you are in the right position when a humpback whale lunge-feeds towards you and you gain a look straight into its mouth. Look at the anchovies stuck in the baleen. It is strange, but my mind is full of all the images I have missed. Without these brief moments of time being recorded on my camera, they would slowly fade from my memory. Google baleen. #gratitude #lucky #nature #naturelovers #whale #humpbackwhale #beauty @natgeocreative #hungry #mouth


Art by my good friend @toddmurphy101. Once a month, I am going to start featuring an artist that inspires me in the work that I do. That artist might be a photographer, a painter, a sculptor, a mixed media artist, a videographer, a writer or a performing artist. But, the one thing that they will have in common is that their work will either benefit or celebrate nature. To start this series off I want to draw attention to an amazing man, an amazing father and truly one of the most gifted artists I have ever met. This life-sized stag has to be seen in person. Thank you Todd for sharing your gift with the world. Who are some of your favorite artists?
Mixed media painting. Stag is life size. Canvas size is 60” x 72”. Branches are sculptural and fastened to canvas. Overall size is approximately 10’ x 10’
Prints available.
. #gratitude #friendship #celebratenature


Happy Holidays to everyone who has ever tried to do better. To those who struggle with how they can help, but don’t give up. To those who make the smallest gestures like pick up plastic on their daily beach walk. To those who share a message of hope and beauty in conservation. This is our one earth and it is a beautiful blue marble full of fascinating animals, people, and landscapes. Let us learn to enjoy them while keeping them safe, healthy, and accessible for all. There is much work ahead of us with @sea_legacy. For those who have supported @sea_legacy thus far, we are deeply appreciative. Our awesome team is taking a short break and I can’t wait to continue driving change with all of you. @cristinamittermeier @erichroepke @iankellett_story @samkretch @kyle.roepke @steinretzlaff @mikeberard @b_likness @burgankait @ryantidman @maptia @derekrushton_ #gratitude #christmas #polarbear #bethechange


Merry Christmas Instagram family! For now, no heavy conservation message, no graphic video, just a picture of a harp seal pup and a brief note to thank all of you for your questions, advice, concerns, comments and guidance over the past year. We have a lot of work of ahead us and I look forward to the next chapter of this journey with you. Stay Wild!! #turningthetide with @sea_legacy #cute #nature #wildlife #xmas #gratitude


In continuing my #12DreamsofChristmas, my next dream is that we protect all creatures, big and small. It is natural and easy to care for charismatic megafauna but what we really need is to protect entire ecosystems. There is no point in protecting species like grizzly bears if we aren’t going to protect the herring, the salmon, the ocean floor, the forests and every creature in between. In 2002, I was part of the team that worked to create the largest Marine Protected Area in the world at the time in the Phoenix Islands. My dream is that @justinptrudeau will realize Canada’s greatest marine treasures and uphold his promise of protecting 10 percent of our oceans by 2020. With @sea_legacy we are going to continue shining a light on these key areas that need protection. #MPA #nature #clownfissh #anemone #PIPA #gratitude #nemo