SUBWAYMore than 150 wildlife photographers are participating in a wildlife print sale to raise money for African parks, a conservation NGO based in South Africa. In 2020, the first sale of Prints for Wildlife raised $ 660,200 (£ 479,000), with more than 6,500 prints sold in 30 days.
This year, the initiative, founded by two photographers, Pie Aerts from the Netherlands and Marion Payr of Austria, aims to raise $ 1 million. The prints will be for sale through the online store. printsforwildlife.org until August 11.
Along with some of the world’s most respected wildlife photographers including Greg du Toit, Beverly Joubert, Suzi Eszterhas, David Lloyd and Steve Winter, the sale also features emerging talent from developing countries, with the goal of promoting greater diversity. among wildlife photographers. .
The money raised will support African Parks, which manages 19 parks, covering 14.7 million hectares (36.3 million acres), in 11 countries on behalf of African governments, for the benefit of local communities and life. wild.
“Conservation was in crisis before the pandemic and continues to be in these unprecedented times,” says Andrea Heydlauff, African Parks chief marketing officer. “By protecting Africa’s parks, we are ensuring the functioning of ecosystems, providing safe haven for some of the world’s most threatened species, and supporting hundreds of thousands of people through employment, improved livelihoods, food security, education and health care ”.
Here, five photographers share the story behind their images.
Will Burrard-Lucas – ‘the cubs approached inquisitively’
I spent the first lockdown of 2020 completely redesigning and rebuilding my remote control camera buggy, known as the BeetleCam, and at the end of last year I took it to Kenya. My goal was to start a new long-term project to photograph the lions of the Mara North Conservancy in Kenya.
I presented the Serian pride to my BeetleCam over a period of several weeks. The lionesses learned to completely ignore the buggy, but with the cubs it was a different story. They were very playful and would often come over to growl at the camera or try to sneak up behind it and knock it down. This image is from an early encounter, when the cubs approached inquisitively through the tall grass of the rainy season.
Since I started this project, I have learned how all the lions in the Maasai Mara are threatened by conflict between humans and wildlife. This often occurs when lions kill livestock on the outskirts of wildlife areas and are then poisoned in retaliation. It is estimated that there are only about 20,000 lions in the wild and that these occupy less than 5% of the previous range of the species.
Jono allen – ‘this image was taken in one breath’
My photo from Prints For Wildlife is of a humpbacked mother and calf beginning their enormous journey south from the tropical waters of Tonga to the icy waters of Antarctica. This image was taken with one breath while freediving off the small island chain of Vava’u in Tonga, where whales congregate each year to mate and give birth.
It is impossible to truly understand these incredible creatures until you have been in the water with them. My perception will never be the same again. A good biologist friend of mine has studied humpback whales for over 10 years. He has seen thousands of whales in his time. We swam with these two whales together and within minutes of being face to face with them, he was moved to tears.
This image is important to me because the humpback is one of the greatest conservation stories of our time. During the era of whaling, they were on the brink of extinction, but thanks to the grace of protection and conservation, they have now returned to their original numbers.
Supporting the conservation efforts of organizations like African Parks is vital. If it weren’t for those organizations, we would be living in a world without these two beautiful humpback whales.
Tami walker – ‘frolicking in the water’
Here are two elephants frolicking in the water in a pan on the southeast side of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The elephants seemed to be enjoying every moment: playing, splashing, climbing over each other and diving. Several other herds of elephants and other game animals came to drink from the pan, but nothing distracted these two from their fun and games.
During my years of photographing wildlife, I have come to realize how much wild animals are in balance with the natural order of things, with their environment, and the natural cycles in which they survive and proliferate, and how much humanity is having a negative effect. in that balance. I have come to understand how vital wildlife is to the well-being and continuity of our great African heritage. The impact of human advance and pressure on these wilderness areas is a challenge for my generation and those to come.
Nili gudhka – ‘sunbathing’
Just before sunrise in Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, we encountered a mother cheetah with two cubs that were about three months old. The cubs got very playful as the sun came out and it got warmer. While the mother was surveying the area for food, the two cubs found a small tree. One of the cubs climbed to the top and sat comfortably, basking in the sun.
The cheetah is the most endangered big cat in Africa. In the 19th century, there were 100,000 cheetahs living in the wild and today there are only about 7,000. This is due to human-wildlife conflict, habitat loss, climate change, and, to me, the most horrible problem, which is puppy trafficking. Having spent countless hours with these beautiful cats, I have developed an emotional bond with the species and hope that my work will be a means to defend and preserve their existence.
Ketan Khambhatta – ‘leaving a cloud of dust’
I took this picture at one of the river crossing points in the Mara Triangle, during the great wildebeest and zebra migration. I had been waiting in our vehicle for the wildebeest herds to cross the river and I watched the zebras crawl to test the waters for crocodiles. But as the zebras kept watching, the wildebeest just started running and jumping into the river, leaving a cloud of dust and creating a dramatic moment that I thought would make a great photo.
Being in the wild has increased my compassion for wildlife. What became apparent during my photographic travels is the threat many animals face for various reasons, such as habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism