Around the 1990s, wildlife managers across North America started getting strange calls. Coyotes were trotting through city streets where they had never existed before. Bears were peeking inside living rooms. Raccoons seemed to be even peskier, easily getting into trash cans that had once thwarted them. Such species, it seemed, had discovered city and suburban living, and liked it. This is about a growing phenomenon of bold, scrappy carnivores that are learning to live, often quietly and undetected, among us.
So what happened? A confluence of factors came together to boost their populations, such as a dramatic decline in hunting, the explosion of resource-rich suburbs post-WWII, and destruction of native habitat due to urbanization.
Many of these urban survivors are thriving in greater numbers per square mile than their rural cousins—making it likely that these “cosmopolitan carnivores” are here to stay.
These photographs by Corey Arnold use a combination of camera traps and handheld cameras to show us where these animals live, navigate, and intersect with us. Arnold and writer Christine Dell’Amore teamed up with scientists and wildlife experts to gain local access and knowledge to better understand these urban populations.
National Geographic Explorer Corey Arnold is a photographer and commercial fisherman exploring mankind’s complicated relationship with nature. His recent work documents how urban wildlife such as raccoons, coyotes, and bears are adapting to the human landscape in America. Arnold’s work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and museums worldwide, and his photography has been featured in Harper’s Magazine, the New Yorker, New York Times, National Geographic, Time, Outside, Smithsonian, and the Paris Review, among others. Arnold is based in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington, where he’s teaching his toddlers the fine art of rural animal tracking.
Established in 1888, National Geographic is a trusted print and digital publication offering stories that illuminate, inspire, and reveal. Our mission is to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of cultures, the sciences, and the natural world. We advance that mission by creating visually stunning, richly reported photojournalism and distinguished, impartial coverage of the globe’s most pressing issues. National Geographic, the most popular brand on Instagram, has more than 215 million followers.
Featuring: Corey Arnold
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