When Nick Ut’s harrowing image of the Napalm Girl was splashed across newspapers in 1972, it dramatically changed public attitude towards the Vietnam War. Even today, the image is a shivering reminder of the innocent millions caught up in warfare; proof of the enduring power photography holds.
Now, a group of photojournalists is employing a similar approach to communicate the ills of the illegal wildlife trade, a battle being fought on behalf of hundreds of species worldwide.
Led by Britta Jaschinski, a team of world-class photographers has come together to produce a book highlighting important wildlife stories which should not be ignored.
Every year, millions of people travel to see elephants on safari in Africa or humpback breaching off the coast of Australia. Yet so much of our beloved natural world is disappearing, and unless we take action, it could be lost altogether.
“We are losing species at an alarming rate,” explains Jaschinski. Millions of animals and plants are caught and harvested from the wild and sold as food, pets, tourist curios, trophies and traditional Chinese medicine.
“We are asking wildlife consumers to end this ruthless and destructive trade. Photography can be a powerful tool and our images are proof that photography matters.”
Here are some of the moving stories featured in the book…
Humpback and calf by Tony Wu
Humpback whales have recovered well since the 1986 commercial whaling ban, but future generations face a more pervasive threat from ocean waste and industrial-scale fishing, particularly from discarded nets.
Tiger and cub by Steve Winter
A three-month-old tiger cub ventures out of a cave in Bandhavgarh National Park, to join her mother. India is home to approximately 70% of the world’s population of just 3,800 wild tigers. Approximately twice this number of tigers are bred on farms in China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, primarily to harvest their bones for use in traditional Chinese medicine and the production of tiger bone wine.
Rescued gorilla by Jo-Anne McArthur
One of the lucky ones. This young female gorilla was saved from the bushmeat trade by Ape Action Africa in Cameroon. Gorillas are also hunted to supply the illegal trade in skulls and other body parts, for use as trophies or in traditional medicine.
Polar bear by Ole J Liodden
It isn’t just thinning Arctic ice that poses a serious threat to the survival of the polar bear – hunting is also contributing to their demise. Up to 1,000 polar bears are hunted every year, both legally and illegally, to meet the increasing demand for their skins from the Far East.
Deforestation by Daniel Beltra
This image is an aerial view of a makeshift log holding yard, carved out of the Amazon rainforest in Pará, Brazil. Although Brazil is committed to zero illegal deforestation by 2030, approximately 450,000 square kilometres of rainforest – an area greater than Germany and Austria combined – has already been cleared for cattle pasture alone.
Photographers Against Wildlife Crime is published and available from photographersagainstwildlifecrime.com, priced £40.
- Press Association