Mor more than 150 wildlife photographers participate in an animal prints sale to raise funds for African Parks, a conservation NGO based in South Africa. In 2020, the first Prints for Wildlife sale raised $ 660,200 (£ 479,000), with over 6,500 prints sold in 30 days.

This year, the initiative, founded by two photographers, Pie Aerts from the Netherlands and Austrian Marion Payr, aims to raise $ 1 million. Prints will be on sale via the online store until August 11.

Alongside some of the world’s most respected wildlife photographers, such as Greg du Toit, Beverly Joubert, Suzi Eszterhas, David Lloyd and Steve Winter, the sale also showcases emerging talent from developing countries, with the aim of promoting more great 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 wildlife.

“Conservation was in crisis before the pandemic and continues to be in these unprecedented times,” said Andrea Heydlauff, African Parks Marketing Director. “By protecting African parks, we are protecting functioning ecosystems, providing a safe haven for some of the world’s most endangered 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 with curiosity’

Curious lion cubs are captured by the BeetleCam in this image by Will Burrard-Lucas

I spent the first lockdown of 2020 redesigning and completely rebuilding my remote 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 photographing the lions at the Mara North Conservancy in Kenya.

I introduced Serian Pride to my BeetleCam over a period of several weeks. The lionesses learned to ignore the buggy altogether, but that was another story with the cubs. They remained very playful and often approached to scold the camera or tried to sneak up behind it and knock it over. This image comes from an early encounter, as the cubs approached curiously through the tall grasses of the rainy season.

Since starting this project, I have learned how all the lions in the Maasai Mara are threatened by human-wildlife conflict. This often happens when lions kill livestock on the outskirts of wildlife areas and are then poisoned in retaliation. It is estimated that there is only around 20,000 lions left in the wild and that these occupy less than 5% of the former range of the species.

Jono Allen – ‘this image was taken on a single breath’

A humpback whale and its calf
A humpback whale and calf caught by freediving photographer Jono Allen

The photo from My Prints For Wildlife shows a mother humpback whale and her calf starting their enormous journey south, from the tropical waters of Tonga to the frozen waters of Antarctica. This image was taken in one breath while snorkeling off the small island chain of Vava’u in Tonga, where whales congregate each year to mate and give birth.

It’s impossible to truly understand these amazing creatures until you’ve been in the water with them. My perception will never be the same again. A good biologist friend of mine has been studying humpback whales for over 10 years. She saw thousands of whales in her day. We swam with these two whales together and within minutes of coming face to face with them she was moved to tears.

This image is important to me because the humpback whale is one of the greatest conservation stories of our time. In the days of whaling they were close to extinction, but thanks to protection and conservation they have now returned to their original numbers.

Supporting the conservation efforts of organizations such as African Parks is vital. Without these organizations, we would live in a world without these two magnificent humpback whales.

Tami walker – “frolic in the water”

elephants at a waterhole
Trunk Puppets, Tami Walker’s image of elephants at the waterhole

Here are two elephants frolicking in the water in a pot on the southeast side of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. The elephants seemed to enjoy every moment: playing, splashing, climbing on top of each other and immersing themselves. Several other herds of elephants and other game came to drink from the pan but nothing distracted them from their fun and games.

During my years photographing wildlife, I have come to realize how well 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 to what extent l humanity has a negative effect. on this balance. I have come to understand how vital wildlife is to the well-being and sustainability of our great African heritage. The impact of human advancement and pressure on these wilderness areas is a challenge for my generation and those to come.

Nili Gudhka – “bask in the sun”

A cheetah at sunrise on the Maasai Mara in Kenya taken by Nili Gudhka

Just before sunrise in the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, we found a cheetah mother with two cubs about three months old. The cubs became very playful as the sun rose and warmed. While the mother was inspecting the area for food, the two cubs found a small tree. One of the cubs climbed on it and sat comfortably, basking in the sun.

The cheetah is Africa’s most endangered big cat. 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 conflicts, habitat loss, climate change and, to me, the most horrific problem, which is cub trafficking. After spending countless hours with these beautiful cats, I have developed an emotional attachment to the species and hope that my work is a way to defend and conserve their existence.

Ketan Khambhatta – “leave a cloud of dust”

zebra and wildebeest
Ketan Khambhatta captures drama of zebra and wildebeest river crossing in Kenya’s Mara Triangle

I took this photo at one of the river crossings in the Mara Triangle, during the great wildebeest and zebra migration. I had waited in our vehicle for the herds of wildebeest to cross the river and watched the zebras slowly advance to test the waters for crocodiles. But while the zebras were still checking, 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 nature has increased my compassion for wildlife. What has become evident in my photographic trips is the threat that many animals face for a variety of reasons, such as habitat loss, poaching, and climate change.

Find more coverage on the Age of Extinction here and follow the biodiversity journalists Phoebe weston and Patrick greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

Source link