Photographers against wildlife crime – it’s the name of a recent project by an international group of award-winning photographers who decided to unite and use their powerful pictures to help bring an end to the illegal wildlife trade.

Wildlife crime is one of the world’s top criminal activities, ranked alongside drugs, arms, and human trafficking. These photographers aim to spread this important message in order to inform as many people as possible since some still aren’t aware of how big of a problem this actually is. “Most of the world doesn’t’ even know what’s going on with its own planet. It’s still solvable,” claims Brent Stirton, one of the photographers taking part in this project.

Initiators have three main goals during this project. First, the photos will be put together into one book and released in May 2018. Second, it will also be released in Mandarin for a distribution in China which could make a valuable contribution towards a constructive dialogue with consumers. And finally, with those books they hope to raise funds for charities whose mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes.

More info: kickstarter.com | photographersagainstwildlifecrime.com

Photographers against wildlife crime

Fennec foxes are captured for the illegal pet trade. This three-month-old pup was for sale in a market in southern Tunisia.

Image credits: Bruno D’Amicis

Photographers against wildlife crime

A member of an all female anti-poaching unit, set up in Zimbabwe. Every day, these women face the harsh reality of conservation at the front line, whilst being mothers.

Image credits: Adrian Steirn

Photographers against wildlife crime

The smouldering remains of an area of Amazon rainforest cleared for cattle ranching in Acre, Brazil.

Image credits: Charlie Hamilton James

Photographers against wildlife crime

On April 30, 2016, Kenya staged its biggest ever ivory burn. Rangers burnt 105 tons at Nairobi National Park to stop poachers from selling it.

Image credits: Charlie Hamilton James

Photographers against wildlife crime

African Elephant Loxodonta, photographed at Abu Camp in Botswana. The mahout who has raised the orphan from SA has a trusted bond. The Elephants are raised to maturity and released as part of a long term study of rehabilitated animals.

Image credits: Chris Packham

Photographers against wildlife crime

Tony Fitzjohn, conservationist, and protege of George Adamson, with Jipe, a lion he raised from orphaned cub to full adult in three years and then released back into the wild. Jipe successfully bred and raised cubs in Tsavo, Kenya, but was murdered by poachers soon after this photo was taken.

Image credits: Olly & Suzi

Photographers against wildlife crime

A pair of young Bengal tigers in India’s Ranthambhore National Park. Less than 4,000 tigers are left in the wild, a consequence of poaching to supply consumer demand for their body parts, mostly in China and Southeast Asia.

Image credits: Sudhir Shivaram

Photographers against wildlife crime

An aerial view of indigenous land in the region of Altamira in the Brazilian Amazon, cleared for illegal logging.

Image credits: Daniel Beltra

Photographers against wildlife crime

A captive-bred Philippine eagle hand fed at The Philippine Eagle Center. Loss of habitat due to deforestation means these eagles are critically endangered. Some captive-bred birds have been released back into the wild.

Image credits: Klaus Nigge

Photographers against wildlife crime

Thandi, the female white rhino who lost her horn to poachers, has become a symbol of survival in the fight against rhino poaching.

Image credits: Neil Aldridge

Photographers against wildlife crime

A gorilla in the hands of her carer as they drive to a new and larger sanctuary run for the care of orphaned or captive apes rescued by Ape Action Africa in Cameroon.

Image credits: Jo-Anne McArthur

Photographers against wildlife crime

A thresher shark caught in a gillnet in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Tens of millions of sharks die each year as victims of fishing by-catch or to satisfy the demand for shark fin soup.

Image credits: Brian Skerry

Photographers against wildlife crime

Endangered Ring-tailed lemurs at Whenzou Zoo, in Zhejiang, China. Today, conservationist believe this species numbers as few as 2000 individuals in the wild due to habitat loss, poaching and hunting.

Image credits: Zheng Xiaoqun

Photographers against wildlife crime

This orphaned baby gorilla on sale in a Cameroon bush meat market was traded by the photographer for a worthless ring and taken to a sanctuary at the other end of the country. It died a few months later.

Image credits: Karl Ammann

Photographers against wildlife crime

A volunteer with the NGO, Care for Wild Africa, comforts a baby rhino after undergoing treatment for injuries caused by hyenas. The rhino was orphaned after its mother was killed by poachers. She was luckier than most as many calves who see their mothers killed are also attacked by the poachers, using machetes to break their spines so they cannot run away.

Image credits: Brent Stirton

Photographers against wildlife crime

A large bull elephant in Nepal’s Chitwan National Park sits with its leg chained. The 50 year old beast is restrained as it has killed five mahouts (handlers) in its lifetime.

Image credits: Patrick Brown

Photographers against wildlife crime

Approximately 4000 pangolins defrosting after their seizure, hidden inside a shipping container at a port in Sumatra. Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine and their flesh is regarded as a delicacy.

Image credits: Paul Hilton

Photographers against wildlife crime

Confiscated Rhino Hooves of two adults (male and female) and one calf.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stores 1.3 million seized items at a warehouse in Colorado.

Image credits: Britta Jaschinski

Photographers against wildlife crime

At the Chimelong International Circus in China, this orangutan performs in costume three times a day, accompanied by a clown. Orangutans are critically endangered and babies traded for the pet trade or entertainment industry.

Image credits: Britta Jaschinsk

Photographers against wildlife crime

Like generations before her, the leatherback turtle moves steadily back to the ocean. Leatherbacks are the largest, deepest-diving and widest-ranging sea turtles. Much of their lives are spent at sea, shrouded in mystery. When mature, females return to the shores where they themselves hatched to lay their own eggs. Sandy Point national wildlife refuge on St Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, provides critical nesting habitat.

Image credits: Brian Skerry

Photographers against wildlife crime

Wildlife or Commodity? Photographer is revealing the extent of the illegal wildlife trade through her moving photos of wildlife products confiscated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Britta’s photos include this image of a polar bear rug, one of approximately 1.5 million illegal items held in a repository in Colorado. This image was also a finalist in the recent MontPhoto International Photography Contest in Spain.

Image credits: www.brittaphotography.com

Photographers against wildlife crime

Image credits: Paul Hilton

Photographers against wildlife crime

It isn’t just melting sea ice caused by climate change that threatens the future of the polar bear. This iconic species is threatened also by hunting. Every year hundreds of polar bear skins are shipped, both legally and illegally, out of Canada, most of them to the growing market in China. Earlier this month a court in Quebec found a local company guilty of illegally exporting three polar bear skins to China.

Image credits: Ole J Liodden