International photographers that capture wildlife and the environment have formed a group called Photographers Against Wildlife Crime to utilize their best skills as a method of exposing the illegal wildlife trade. While it’s already incredibly heartbreaking to hear each new story about a recent iconic tusker elephant that has been killed or yet another rhino found dead with its horn missing, seeing photographic evidence of such cruelties elicits stronger feelings and encourages more action to put a stop to this. One problem is that some people aren’t aware that there is a serious problem with the wildlife trade as it is, or even if they are, they don’t know that affects countless animals other than the majestic, African ones typically reported on.
That’s where Photographers Against Wildlife Crime come in. The group is composed of award-winning photographers who have joined forces to help put an end to the illegal wildlife trade. According to their website, they have three core goals, the first of which is as follows:
“[The group] will draw attention to this deadly subject with a truly unique book to reduce the demand for wildlife products and to celebrate the heroes who protect wildlife and fight for our wild spaces.”
The group started a Kickstarter campaign to fund this book, which is set to be released in May 2018 and will be released in English followed by an edition in Mandarin to be released in China. Their aim at China is strategic because many cultures in the country enjoy products made from animals in the wild that contribute greatly to the demand for wildlife to be killed. Such products include shark fin soup, ivory, and the ground up horn of the rhino. Their second goal is directly related to the reason they want to release the book in China.
“Distribution across Europe and the United States and a special edition in Mandarin which could make a valuable contribution towards a constructive dialogue to end the demand for wildlife products.”
In addition to this second goal, the photographers also have vowed to “establish an effective dialogue with politicians responsible for environmental and wildlife policies.” Their intention is to target the end consumer of wildlife products as well as the government officials that shape policies so that the laws will force the trade to slowly diminish.
While the photographers want to raise awareness about the immeasurable horrible trades being conducted at all times across the world, they also want to raise money for organizations that are doing their part to help end the trades. Goal three says:
“Raise funds over and above the book publication costs for charities whose mission it is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetime. Charities that work to reduce the global consumption of wildlife products by educating consumers and by strengthening enforcement.”
The photographs being taken for the book include wildlife in their dire moments, but it also showcases beautiful human-animal bonds as well as the humans that work to prevent these cruelties, like park rangers. It’s a truly wonderful way for these photographers to maximize what they’re already doing—taking photos of animals—by using those photos to spread awareness and kindness. If you would like to support their Kickstarter campaign, you can do so here. Take a look below at more photos from the involved photographers.