Best of the Best 2012!

projectnoah:

Each year we select one outstanding photo as the Project Noah Wildlife Photo of the Year. This year Gerardo Aizpuru’s awesome jewel caterpillar picked up the award, but it was a tough decision as we are blessed to have so many incredible spottings shared by our community. So this week we have decided to showcase some of our favorite spottings from 2012, starting today with the mammal, fish and plant categories.

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Red and white giant flying squirrel (Petaurista alborufus) spotted in the Foping Reserve, China by Dan Doucette. Although not uncommon, these squirrels are nocturnal and rarely photographed during the day.

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This polar bear (Ursus maritimus) mother and her cubs was spotted by Laura Maria in the Arctic. Polar bear populations are declining as the polar ice caps they hunt from are melting, and the species is now considered vulnerable; an endangered Manatee (Trichechus manatus) spotted close to a Caribbean reef off the coast of Mexico by Gerardo Aizpuru. It is estimated that there are less than 2,500 of this species remaining in the wild.

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The tropical two-wing flyingfish (Exocoetus volitans) is capable of leaping out of the water and gliding for long distances above the surface. Spotted by Elena Nita in the Ionian sea, Greece.

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The oriental flying gurnard (Dactyloptena orientalis) inhabits the Indo-Pacific Oceans at depths up to 100 metres. This one was spotted by Marta RubioTexeira off the coast of the Philippines; The whale shark is the largest shark and the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate, rivaling many of the largest dinosaurs in weight. Sadly the population of this gentle giant is declining and it is now considered a vulnerable species. Whale shark (Rhincodon typus) spotted by Blogie in the Philippines.

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Arrowhead Fern (Pellaea calomelanos) from South Africa spotted by Johan Heyns.

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Butterfly wing plant (Christia obcordata) from Lembang, Indonesia, spotted by Jason Alexander; Endangered epiphytic orchid found in the salt marshes and mangrove forest of Everglades National Park. Dollar orchid (Prosthechea boothiana) spotted by Mario Cisneros.

Check out the blog tomorrow for more incredible spottings shared by members of the Project Noah community in 2012.

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