Paul Nicklen

Polar photographer
Paul Nicklen photographs the creatures of the Arctic and Antarctic, generating global awareness about wildlife in these isolated and endangered environments.

Why you should listen

Paul Nicklen grew up one of only a few non-Inuit in an Inuit settlement on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada -- a childhood that taught him the patience, stamina and respect for nature required for his beat in the frigid climes of Earth’s polar regions. Best known for his vivid and intimate wildlife photos for National Geographic, Nicklen started out a biologist in the Northwest Territories, gathering data on such species as lynx, grizzlies, and polar bears. Today he bridges the gap between scientific research and the public, showing how fragile and fast-changing habitats are profoundly affecting wildlife.

During the course of his workday Nicklen regularly comes face-to-face with fantastic creatures: narwhals, Arctic foxes, elephant seals, and more. His most amazing experience? An underwater encounter with a leopard seal who for four days tried to feed him penguins through the "mouth" of his lens.

What others say

“When you get in the water with a wild animal, you're essentially giving yourself to that animal because, as humans, we're quite helpless and vulnerable in the water. You're at the seal's mercy. You're at the predator's mercy.” — Paul Nicklen, National Geographic

Paul Nicklen’s TED talk

Quotes from Paul Nicklen

The penguin doesn't know it's cute, and the leopard seal doesn't know it's kind of big and monstrous. This is just the food chain unfolding.
Paul Nicklen
TED2011 • 1.4M views May 2011
Beautiful, Inspiring
Really, what [sea] ice does is it acts like a garden. … Losing that ice is like losing the soil in a garden.
Paul Nicklen
TED2011 • 1.4M views May 2011
Beautiful, Inspiring