Glorious nature photographs honor the impact of Jane Goodall

a small panda in the woods

Hua Yan (Pretty Girl), a two-year-old female, is one of the world's most endangered animals. She was released into the wild after being born in captivity at the Wolong Nature Reserve managed by the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan province, China. And as she trundled off into the wild, she took hope for her entire species with her. The slow and steady incline in the population of Giant Pandas is a testament to the perseverance of conservationists. China may be on its way to successfully saving its most famous ambassador and in the process put the wild back into an icon. National Geographic Magazine photographer and filmmaker Ami Vitale spent three years working on a story about the slow and steady incline in the population of Giant Pandas in China. Ami Vitale/Courtesy of Vital Impacts

On April 3, renowned ethnologist Dr. Jane Goodall celebrated her 90th birthday. Goodall’s impactful work studying chimpanzees spans more than 60 years and inspired generations of scientists, conservationists, and photographers. To celebrate Goodall’s birthday and her lasting influence, Vital Impacts and the Jane Goodall Institute have launched a joint campaign highlighting 90 trailblazing female photographers.

“There’s no one else in the world who has done more to shape humanity’s perspective on the planet, its wildlife, and our interconnectedness than Jane Goodall,” photographer and Vital Impacts founder Ami Vitale said. “Her legacy literally spans continents, generations, and cultures, and she has created a global movement of stewardship and compassion. Jane’s legacy isn’t just about studying chimpanzees; it’s about breaking down barriers, fostering empathy, and fostering a deeper connection with nature. Her spirit lives on in every one of us who has been touched by her words.  She inspires us all to make a positive difference in the world.”

two white polar bears embracing
Watching polar bears spar is one of the highlights of observing bears in fall in northern Manitoba. Nestled on the shore of the Hudson Bay, Churchill, sits on the annual migration path of the polar bears, when they transition from land to sea. Itís the largest known concentration of polar bears in the world. Young sub-adults and adults often spend their time sparring or play-fighting. Scientists have various explanations for this behaviour. It reinforces relationships and helps establish a hierarchy, provides practice for real future fights over potential mates, and helps them get into shape for the coming seal hunting season.

Daisy Gilardini is a conservation photographer who specializes in the Polar Regions, with a particular emphasis on Antarctic wildlife and North American bears. She is a member of the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, a fellow of the Explorers Club, Greenpeace Antarctic Ambassador and Canadian Geographic photographer in residence. Follow Daisy on Instagram @daisygilardini.
Image: Daisy Gilardini/Courtesy of Vital Impacts

As part of the “The Nature of Hope: 90 Years of Jane Goodall’s Impact” campaign, Vital Impacts will host a photography sale featuring the work of female photographers inspired by Goodall. Proceeds for the sale will benefit the Jane Goodall Institute’s global chapter.

“Photographers in the conservation landscape are a window to the world; and women who come together are a force—the combo is a great way to create awareness about the beauty of the planet we live on,” photographer Karine Aigner said. “This project not only supports, empowers and uplifts female creatives, it allows the public to participate in hope, and it gives back to conservation—what better way to celebrate a birthday and a cause?!”

two adult birds with blue feet with a fluffy white baby
Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii) in Galapagos, Ecuador.

Tui De Roy is a world renown wildlife photographer and author based in the Galapagos Islands, but travelling widely under the moto “Images of wildlife and wilderness from our planet’s most pristine, uninhabited regionsî. With over 20 published books, her work has appeared in more than 40 countries. Follow De Roy on Instagram @tuigalapagos.
Image: Tui De Roy/Courtesy of Vital Impacts
an elephant with tusks walks through woods with sun shining down
This is Rajan. A 66-year-old Asian elephant and he is the last of his kind. Brought to the Andaman Islands for logging in the 1950s, he and a small group of 10 elephants were brutally forced to learn how to swim in the ocean to bring the logged trees to nearby boats and then eventually swim on to the next island. When logging became banned in 2002, Rajan was out of a job. He lived out his days in harmony among the giant trees he used to haul in India’s Andaman Archipelago. Rajan was the last of this group to survive until his death in 2016. This image is from the artist series “The Last of His Kindî.

An award-winning photographer, Jody MacDonald is no stranger to adventure and exploration in the last untamed corners of the planet. Follow Jody on Instagram @jodymacdonaldphoto.
Image: Jody MacDonald/Courtesy of Vital Impacts
white husky dogs sit in the snow
Qimmit, Savissivik, North West Greenland, 2018 From the series Piniartoq, a collaboration with polar scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre and science writer Susan McGrath. Limited Edition Archival Pigment Prints on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth paper Inuit hunters in North West Greenland still travel by dog sleds in winter. Hunting seal, walrus, and other Arctic animals is still a vital part of life there and a main source of food for many households.

Tiina Itkonen, a photographer from Finland, has been documenting Greenland and its inhabitants for thirty years. She has traveled more than 1,500 kilometres along the west coast of Greenland by dogsled, fishing scow, sailboat, oil tanker, cargo ship, helicopter and small plane. Since 2017 she has been documenting the traditional life of the Inuit hunters and their families and collaborated on this project with American polar scientist Dr. Kristin Laidre and science writer Susan McGrath. Itkonen has been exhibiting internationally since 2004 and has published two books of photographs. Her works are featured in collections including NYPL, Anchorage Museum, Moderna Museet, DZ-Bank Collection, as well as numerous private collections throughout Europe, USA and Asia. Itkonen was awarded Finnish State Prize for Photographic Art in 2019. Itkonen is part of the exhibition “The Awe of the Arctic: A Visual History” at the New York Public Library until 13 July 2024. Follow Tiina on Instagram @tiinaitkonen.
Image: Tiina Itkonen/Courtesy of Vital Impacts
a woman sits on a hill top with binoculars and a telescope
In her early days at Gombe, Dr. Jane Goodall spent many hours sitting on a high peak with binoculars or a telescope, searching the forest below for chimpanzees. She took this photo of herself with a camera fastened to a tree branch. This photo is available hand signed by Dr. Jane Goodall herself, as well as without a signature. Says Dr. Goodall, “I was really excited to see that that photo of me looking out at the valley at Gombe with my trusty lightweight telescope was chosen. It was taken in, I think, 1962. I was on my own, very high up in the hills and I thought what a great photo this would make.” “I had to find a place where there was a tree that was just right for balancing the camera. I had to set up the tripod and fiddle about until I had the tripod and the imagined image of me framed just right. That was in the days before digital so I had to wait a long time before I got the results back from National Geographic. I was pretty proud of myself. I love that picture.”

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) and UN Messenger of Peace, is a world-renowned ethologist and activist inspiring greater understanding and action on behalf of the natural world.
Image: Dr. Jane Goodall/Courtesy of Vital Impacts
two giraffes rub necks with birds in the air. black and white image

Marina Cano is a Spanish wildlife photographer, with more than 25 years of photographic experience and international prestige, of which 20 have been dedicated to nature photography, where she has got extraordinary recognition in this field. In love with the African continent and committed to its conservation, she collaborates with different associations that protect and preserve threatened species. Follow Marina on instagram @marinacano.
Image: Marina Cano/Courtesy of Vital Impacts
white barn owl on a white backdrop
From the series Barn Owl Studies. My fascination with birds of prey began eight years ago. There have been nesting owls on my family’s land in the United Kingdom as far as I can remember. I have heard them calling to each other at night. One evening at dusk, walking back from the firs, a barn owl flew straight towards me. I felt a breeze from the vast wing span on my forehead as it floated above, nearly grazing me, enormous and intense; a white apparition in the diminishing light. I stood there astonished, thinking of this mysterious creature with a reverence for their mastery and confidence, about a life I will never comprehend – mystical, terrifying, bloody and splendid. I interpreted this chance encounter as an invitation to understand these birds on a deeper level.

Since 1999, Beth Moon’s work has appeared in more than eighty solo and group exhibitions worldwide, receiving critical acclaim in major fine art publications internationally. Follow Beth on Instagram @bethmoonphotography.
Image: Beth Moon/Courtesy of Vital Impacts