Saving the Elephants on Instagram
Each year, an estimated 35,000 elephants are lost to poaching. In Africa alone, the elephant population has been reduced to less than half its size in 30 years as poachers seek to harvest their tusks to support illegal ivory trade. If unstopped, this rate could lead to extinction within the next 10 years.
In Nairobi, Kenya, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (@dswt) has established the Orphan’s Project. At their conservation refuge, volunteers take in and raise baby and adolescent elephants that have been orphaned after their parents have been poached. To date, the project has successfully recovered and raised over 150 orphaned elephants and reintroduced them successfully into the wild.
The Elephant Nature Park in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Mai provides similar refuge for Asian elephants. The organization rescues distressed elephants—elephants who have been abused by handlers or subject to damaging work conditions—and rehabilitates them within their sanctuary. They also stand as an important ecotourism destination where tourists and volunteers can come to interact with and learn about wildlife in responsible, constructive ways.
To learn more about the elephant crisis and how you can help, check out the following organizations:
Remembering Veterans on Instagram
In many countries, November 11 is set aside as a day for remembering and honoring those who have dedicated their lives to military service for their country. The date stems from the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918—the end of World War I.
In the United States, November 11th marks Veterans Day, a federal holiday. Declared as an observance by President Woodrow Wilson at the end of in 1919, it was officially expanded in 1954 to honor all servicemembers. Ceremonies take place across the country, and President Obama led the ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony honoring all veterans, including the oldest known surviving veteran of WWII.
In the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the day is known as Remembrance Day. Every year, thousands of Britons wear red lapel poppies as a symbol of remembrance of the fallen, and to raise money for the families of servicemen. The poppies, immortalized in John McCrae’s poem, “In Flanders Fields,” stand as a symbol for the poppy fields that grew out of the Belgian battlefields where many soldiers fell. Wreathes of poppies are also lain at the foot of The Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall, London, as well as at ceremonies throughout other countries. A two-minute silence is observed on both Remembrance Sunday and November 11th at 11am.
Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPemptyspaces
Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes & hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post announcing the weekend’s project every Friday.
This weekend’s tag was #WHPemptyspaces, which asked participants to take creative photos or videos documenting empty or abandoned places. Every Monday we feature some of our favorite submissions from the project, but be sure to check out the rest here.
Soaring the Skies with Wingsuits on Instagram
For a group of brave souls who’ve dreamt of soaring through the air, wingsuits have turned that dream into a reality. Wingsuit flying uses a special jumpsuit—called a birdman suit, flying squirrel suit or bat suit—that has fabric stretched between the legs and under the arms to create lift, allowing the wearer to fly.
The first known wingsuit was used by Rex G. Finney, a 19-year-old from Los Angeles, California, in 1930. Early wingsuits were made of materials such as canvas, wood, silk, steel and even whale bone, and were not very reliable. In 1999, the first commercial wingsuit was made available to the general public and the sport took off. A number of enthusiasts have taken to Instagram to share photos and videos from their flights. Want to go along for the ride? Follow these flyers on Instagram:
Mexico Celebrates Día de Muertos
Every year from October 31 to November 2, Mexicans celebrate Día de Muertos or the Day of the Dead. Friends and family gather to remember, celebrate and pray for their loved ones who have passed. Celebrants build altars called ofrendas for the deceased using calaveras (sugar skulls), marigolds and the favorite foods, beverages and possessions of the departed. The streets near cemeteries are also filled with parades and decorations.
Though first observed in Mexico, today Día de Muertos is observed around the world, and Instagrammers are there capturing the celebrations.
Fireworks light up UK skies on Bonfire Night
To see more photos and videos from London’s firework display along the Thames this Saturday, visit the location pages for the Palace of Westminster, Houses of Parliament and South Bank. To watch Bonfire Night unfold across the UK tonight, check out the hashtags #BonfireNight and #GuyFawkes.
"Remember, remember, the 5th of November…" opens one of England’s best known folk rhymes. Today marks what is commonly celebrated in Britain as Guy Fawkes Day or Bonfire Night. The event commemorates the famous ‘gunpowder plot’ of 1605, when authorities thwarted Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators’ attempt to blow up parliament and kill King James.
Traditionally, effigies of Guy Fawkes are burnt on bonfires followed by a display of fireworks across the UK to remember the failed plot against Parliament. For many, the night has come to mark the onset of Autumn with colder nights, toffee apples, sparklers and hot chocolate.
Jazz on Instagram
"Jazz is restless. It won’t stay put and it never will." - J.J. Johnson, Jazz Trombonist
Born in the American south and matured in the African-American neighborhoods of early-1900s New York City, jazz music is a genre unlike any other. Though many argue exactly what defines jazz music, it is marked by extensive improvisation and expressive, “blue notes.” Over the last century, jazz has seen a vibrant evolution from the Jazz Age of the 1920s and 30s with its figureheads like Louis Armstrong. As jazz became more popular in the United States, it also expanded to Europe and beyond with artists like Django Reinhardt gaining notoriety. As the decades progressed, sub-genres such as smooth jazz and jazz fusion emerged, each with their own top performers as well.
Today, jazz encompasses a sweeping range of styles with many artists varying throughout their career or adopting jazz influences in rock and pop music. To tune in to the lives and work of some the best contemporary jazzists, follow musicians Cassandra Wilson (@reallycassandra), Vijay Iyer (@vijayiyer), Christian McBride (@chrmcbride) and Jamie Cullum (@jamiecullum).
To explore even more jazz on Instagram, check out the location pages for the following jazz clubs around the world to see photos and videos from nightly performances.