From appealing to appalling, Nat Geo’s best pics for 2016 still amazing

Within sight of downtown Seoul, South Korea’s capital and a hub of modern stressful life, salesman Sungvin Hong rests after a hike in Bukhansan National Park. Photo by: Lucas Foglia

National Geographic’s 52 best images for 2016 are extraordinary, though some may be a little unsettling to those with a weak stomach.

On the one hand, the astonishing beauty of the world in which we live is only too evident, and on the other hand, the animal kingdom at its bloodthirsty best as it follows the laws of the wild.

Then there is Man’s impact on the world. I’ll let you make your own decisions with that one, but needless-to-say, NatGeo’s photographers are some of the best around, so feast your eyes on some of the best pics for 2016.

Source and for more pics, head to NatGeo.

A diver keeps a close watch on a tiger shark in the Bahamas. But the scene may not be as dangerous as it looks: Tigers rely on surprise to hunt prey and are unlikely to attack divers who keep them in sight. Photo by: Brian Skerry

 

As an evening storm lights up the sky near Wood River, Nebraska, about 413,000 sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the shallows of the Platte River. Photo by: Randy Olson

 

Tempted by the fruit of a strangler fig, a Bornean orangutan climbs 100 feet into the canopy. With males weighing as much as 200 pounds, orangutans are the world’s largest tree-dwelling animals. Photo by: Tim Laman

 

A young Rüppell’s vulture eats a piece of zebra in the Serengeti. More dominant birds have taken their fill of the choice meat, leaving the skin and bones for other birds. Photo by: Charlie Hamilton James

 

Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation center in China’s Wolong Nature Reserve. Photo by: Ami Vitale

 

Twilight bathes the sanctuary of Athena Pronaia at Delphi. Pilgrims in ancient Greece may have offered sacrifices here before consulting the oracle of Delphi. Photo by: Vincent J. Musi

 

A baby African white-bellied tree pangolin hitches a ride on its mother at Pangolin Conservation, a nonprofit organization in St. Augustine, Florida. Photo by: Joel Sartore

 

Virunga Park rangers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo undergo military-style training, including ambush tactics, due to the constant threat from armed groups. Photo by: Brent Stirton

 

Steven Donovan, flipping into a pool, took a seasonal job at Glacier National Park to sharpen his photography skills. Photo by: Corey Arnold

 

A worker uses a mallet to dislodge frozen tuna aboard a Chinese cargo vessel docked at the city of General Santos, in the Philippines. Photo by: Adam Dean

 

Photographs and paintings of sights such as this—the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone— inspired Congress to create the park in 1872. It was a revolutionary step. Photo by: Michael Nichols

 

An American crocodile rises from a bed of turtle grass to return to the labyrinth of mangrove roots that offer near-impenetrable shelter. Photo by: David Doubilet & Jennifer Hayes

 

On their first migration to their summer range in southeastern Yellowstone, three-week-old calves of the Cody elk herd follow their mothers up a 4,600-foot slope. Photo by: Joe Riis

 

Eye-care workers use test-lens frames to conduct eye exams in India’s Sundarbans region. Their goal: to help reduce India’s blind population of more than eight million. Photo by: Brent Stirton

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