Revealing the beauty and fragility of our planet with The Explorers
In revealing the beauty and the fragility of our planet, The Explorers’ project assesses the challenges of biodiversity protection and the need to take action. It reflects Kering’s approach to sustainability, based on science and taking action, as well as raising awareness and encouraging involvement from as many people as possible. As such, the Group is reaffirming its partnership with The Explorers. Each month, Kering publishes new content that provides an insight on the challenges of biodiversity protection.
Exploring in order to communicate, and knowing better to protect better
At Kering, we are convinced that the protection of biodiversity and resources is a collective endeavor. To this end, we aspire to increase awareness among as many people as possible of the environmental challenges at stake, where everyone is encouraged to make their contribution.
Since 2020, this is why Kering has decided to support The Explorers as its main partner. The globe-trotting Explorers’ teams take an inventory of the Earth’s natural, cultural and human heritage, showcased in ultra-high-definition (8K/4K/HD) photos. Local populations express their views in each new expedition, which is used to develop and enhance this inventory. The Explorers have shared their discoveries by developing a platform that combines photos, illustrations, videos and documentaries.
The expeditions reveal the beauty and the fragility of biodiversity in equal measure. In an effort to raise public awareness of the challenges related to biodiversity, Kering will share a monthly selection of photos and videos from The Explorers’ platform.
Discover The Explorers
To learn more about Kering’s sustainability strategy and the initiatives taken to safeguard our planet, click on the dedicated section.
The sea, lakes and oceans form the cornerstone of biodiversity. These spaces, which constitute real reserves of fauna and flora, are now under threat from global warming and rising sea levels. Discover a few treasures of underwater biodiversity which includes blacktip reef sharks, narwhals and coral reef ecosystems.
A lofty lake
Located in the Arves mountain range at an altitude of 2,454 meters (8,051 feet) lies the Goléon Lake. This glacial lake is revealed to hikers only after a 2.5 hour trek with a 700 m gain in elevation in the heart of the French Alps. The lake offers breathtaking views of the northern faces of the Meije and Râteau mountains which are covered by glaciers.
A sanctuary for birds
The Lake of Sainte-Croix is the third largest in France with a surface area of more than 2,000 hectares (4,942 acres). It stretches between the Var and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments. Each of the surrounding villages provides a unique vantage point of this wildlife reserve. The lake is home to many birds, including golden eagles, peregrine falcons, and Eurasian crag martins.
A Kyrgyz treasure
Ala Kul is a glacial mountain lake nestled like a jewel into Kyrgyzstan’s rocky landscape. The lake, which is a popular hiking location today, was only explored by by westerners recently, due to its high altitude (3,560 meters/11,680 feet) and how difficult it is to access. A Russian explorer, Putimtsoff, was the first Westerner to visit the lake in 1811. He was followed by renowned Baltic German biologist, Alexander von Schrenk, thirty years later. The site is also home to herds of yaks and sheep.
A paradise for sharks
The waters of Rangiroa's lagoon are the meeting place for hundreds of gray and blacktip reef sharks. They have found their happiness: the waters are warm, full of fish and the current is so strong that they do not even need to move.
620 miles long, the Mesoamerican barrier reef is second only in size to The Great Barrier Reef of Australia. And the reef’s most illustrious visitors is definitely the giant of the seas: the whale shark. Nobody really knows exactly where and when the sharks appear. Despite their colossal size, they are often invisible.
Earth represents a living environment shared between an endless number of rare and fragile plants and animals. Together with local populations, these species are a source of wealth that needs protecting.
A tiger refuge
Tigers once roamed the Indonesian islands of Bali, Java and Sumatra. Now they are only found on Sumatra following the extinction of the Bali and Javan tigers during the twentieth century. With an estimated 400 left in the wild, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has red listed Sumatran tigers as ‘critically endangered.’ As such, NGOs have turned their focus to poaching and deforestation, the main causes of decline.
The strangler fig
The strangler fig owes its name to its growth pattern, leaning on other trees for support. Over time, some of its roots grow down to the forest floor. Meanwhile, other roots tangle around the host tree, which gradually decays to leave a hollow. Strangler figs are keystone biodiversity species on which many animals depend for their survival. This includes birds and monkeys which feed on the fruit of the fig tree
The Honduran rainforest, a haven for biodiversity
Dubbed the ‘Lungs of Earth,’ the Honduran rainforest is considered the most biodiverse region on the planet. The region—left barely or completely untouched by the Ice Ages—contains around 92% of the Earth’s living species. These spaces are home to rich and pristine ecosystems, and are one of the few ecologically intact areas in Central America.
The mangrove, green lungs
Mangroves are the lungs of our planet; not only through their ability to capture 80 tons of CO2 per hectare but also their storage capacity of five times more carbon than other forests worldwide. In this half-submerged ecosystem, tree roots rise to the surface like snorkels to absorb oxygen. Mangroves play several ecological roles: they protect the coastline by limiting coastal erosion; they mitigate the impact of storms and cyclones; and they contribute to the protection of coral reefs.
Honduras southern mangrove
To the south of Honduras, the Pacific Ocean extends between El Salvador and Nicaragua to the Gulf of Fonseca. It is home to one of the largest mangrove forests in Central America. Mangrove trees house many species and mollusks, from oysters that settle on their roots to crabs that come to dig their burrows in the mud.
Raja Ampat mangrove
Located in West Papua, Raja Ampat is an archipelago comprising 1,500 islands. Its myriad of islets has formed massive, labyrinthine coral reefs and mangroves. Raja Ampat is one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems; its mangrove forests provide a habitat for countless terrestrial and marine species.
The symbol of northern sea ice
The polar bear roams the Arctic, which is the area around the Earth’s North Pole. Weighing an average of 400 kg (882 lbs), this apex predator is the world’s largest land carnivore. With its keen sense of smell, the formidable beast of prey is able to sniff out a seal from miles away. The polar bear is considered a marine mammal in its dependence on ice for food and reproduction.
Sea ice is a life source for polar bears. Not only does it act as hunting, resting and breeding ground for its resident animals, but it is also vital to climate regulation. The ice floe can grow up to three meters thick in the winter. However, during spring, the warmer temperatures cause the sea ice to split up. This remarkable phenomenon is known as “ice break-up.”
An endangered species
As a distinct species, polar bears have adapted to the hostile environments of northern Canada which serves as one of their main living hubs. Despite topping the food chain and the lack of natural predator, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has red listed polar bears as ‘vulnerable.’ The reason for this is global warming which is causing polar bears’ natural sea ice habitat to recede with each passing year.
The aerial views of the expeditions capture the beauty of the areas explored, transcending a heritage left as a legacy to future generations.
Bee, the sentinel of the environment
The bee is the sentinel of the environment. There are 20 thousands different bees species throughout the world. The first bees appeared 100 millions years ago. Since then, they contribute to flower plants evolution and moreover they allow them to survive. Today, they participate to 80% of flower plants and cultivated plants' pollination. However, since 2016, bees have been officially classified as an endangered species. In question, pesticides, climate change, pollution.
In the hive, a role for everyone to play
In a hive, all bees have a very precise role to play and their destiny is fixed from a very young age. The food received in the larval state irreversibly determines the role they will play in the hive: queen or worker. Each individual will then develop physical and behavioral characteristics specific to their rank. On average, hives contain between 40,000 and 60,000 bees.
Why does the bee die after stinging?
Only female bees can bite. The latter are not aggressive, but they can take action if they feel the need to defend their territory. The sting of the bee is shaped like a harpoon, it sinks into the skin of man and the flesh closes instantly on it. Thus, to free itself, the bee is forced to abandon part of its abdomen on the spot which condemns it to die in the short or medium term.
Some forest regions of the world are called cloud forests or water forests for their persistent low-level cloud cover, usually at the canopy level. They are mainly mountain rainforests. There, the environmental conditions are favorable to the development of specific ecosystems where many epiphytic plants thrive. They are home to an exceptional biodiversity with rare, endemic species.
Garnet phonolite is a nearly three-million-year-old volcanic rock that, apart from Brazil, is only found in the valleys of Hohoi and Hakatao on Ua Pou island. This rock is most commonly called "flower stones", because, once polished, it reveals flower petals' patterns.
The osprey, a fishing bird of prey
The Scandola natural reserve in Corsica shelters the Osprey, a fishing bird of prey. This magnificent species cannot be mistaken by another bird: light colored with bent-back wings, an expressive head with strongly contrasting markings, and, above all, a fishing method of plunging feet first, the bird disappears in a fount of water as it reaches for its prey.
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