Photo: Karolin Kluppel

Where Women Reign: An Intimate Look Inside a Rare Kingdom

In the shadow of the Himalayan mountains, at the edge of the lush, expansive Luga Lake, live the Mosuo people. Their complex social structure is said to be one of the last semi-matriarchal societies in the world, following a maternal bloodline and the practice of “walking marriage.” Women may choose and change partners as they wish, a structure that favors female agency over male dependence.

Last of the Colombian Cowboys

The life of a Llanero – or Colombian Cowboy – is tough. The six-month winters that plague the dramatic plains means rain almost every day; the hardy men must ride their horses through overflowing rivers, teeming with insects and fish, away from the floods to dry land. Summers bring a feverous, muggy heat, unbearable for the average human or pedestrian horse. But the Llanero’s arduous, semi-nomadic existence is rooted in five centuries of wisdom and succeeds because of a deep respect for the land they have conquered.

Photo: Juanita Escobar

Photo: Javier Corso

Japan's 400-Year-Old Bear Hunt Is Sacred—and Controversial

Deep in the highlands of northern Honshu, Japan, the Matagi begin the winter hunt. They pray before entering the sacred realm of the mountain, then spend hours listening, waiting and watching; picking up on barely perceptible signs that the black bear is close.

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The group of men splits up, with one group acting as watchmen, the other as decoys. Slowly, they close in before the marksman takes a shot.