Brent Stirton - instagram lists #feedolist

brentstirton

For all those conservation #rangers, men and women, who spend endless days walking far distances in tough places, living spartan lives in appalling conditions, receiving small wages and little appreciation, dealing with disease, deprivation and separation from family, dealing with death and the reality of AK rounds, LMG’s, RPG’s and the risks of capture by the other side. For all you do for all the rest of us in safeguarding what remains beautiful and precious in our natural world. Thank you. #africanparksnetwork #virunganationalpark #akashinga #int.anti.poaching.foundation #conservation #thingreenlinefoundation @natgeo @gettyimages

brentstirton

I photographed this magnificent gent a while ago in Samoa. He was kind enough to pitch up at first light and pose for a couple of quick pictures. #Samoan #tattoo, or ‘tatau’ as it is known traditionally, is deeply tied into the culture of Samoa. To be offered the chance to be #tattooed for young Samoan men is a very high honor. Each #Samoantattoo has a different meaning. They have many #tribal symbols such as spearheads, lizards, fish, the ocean, and the sun. Turtle shells are one of the most common symbols. Each symbol can have 4 or 5 different meanings. For the #Polynesian people turtle shells can mean fertility, peace, longevity, or wellness. You can see how this interweaves meaning into each individual tattoo. The actual process is not for the faint-hearted. Samoan tattoos are done by placing a tattoo comb on the end of the stick, dipping the stick into the tattoo ink, placing the comb against the skin, and hitting the stick with a mallet to force the ink into the skin. It’s brutal and it can take over a year before it is finally done. One beautiful aspect to all this is that once the individual has been chosen for tattooing, he has to find a relative equally worthy to also be tattooed. In amongst all that pain, they can provide support and solidarity for each other. Amazingly, the #tatau tradition goes back over 3,000 years. But when missionaries first encountered it two centuries ago, they considered it a “savage and heathen practice.” As a result of tattoo taboos, some Samoans risked fines or banishment for getting #inked. For instance, the London Missionary Society, which arrived on Savai‘i Island in the western part of Samoa in 1830, banned tatau in some areas because it disapproved of the partying that often accompanied the process. But island geography helped thwart their efforts. When Chiefs in eastern parts of Samoa banned tatau in the 1860s, young men traveled to the western end of the archipelago to get tattooed, even though it meant they couldn’t go home. They were allowed back by the 1890s—provided they paid a fine. #authentic #onesamoana #tatausamoa #tradition #strength @gettyimages @canonuk #beautiful #elegant

brentstirton

This is the back of a San elder in the mid-afternoon light of the #Kalahari desert. I like to think that his #skin, marked by thousands of days of harsh sunlight and spartan living, reflects a map of his life. The San or Saan peoples, also known as the "Bushmen" are members of various Khoisan-speaking indigenous #hunter-gatherer groups that are the first nations of Southern Africa, and whose territories span Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa. There are only about 100,000 of these people left today. The ancestors of the hunter-gatherer Sān are thought to have been the first inhabitants of what is now Botswana and South Africa. The historical presence of the San in Botswana is particularly evident in northern Botswana's rock paintings which date back over 70,000 years and are by far the oldest known in the region. If you would like to know more about the lives of these precious people, I think Survival International has done a very good job representing the persecutions they have suffered and continue to suffer. Please take a look at this link if you’d like to know more: ⁠⠀ https://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/bushmen #bushmen #sanpeople @survivalinternational #indigenouspeoplesmovement #conservation #gettyimages #canonuk @katethompsongorrypix⁠⠀

brentstirton

I met this colorful gent on his way to a bride price ceremony in a village in Chimbu Province, Highlands, Papua New Guinea. I was walking high in the hills, photographing the view over mountains when I saw two men walking uphill towards me in incredible #traditional dress. These outfits are only worn on special occasions like #Moka Compensation ceremonies, Bride-Price #ceremonies and feasts. I hate the idea of shooting Sing-Sings, way too many tourists and a general feeling of the inauthentic. So, I was pretty thrilled to see these guys out in the middle of nowhere, both of whom graciously agreed to be photographed. They then invited me to the ceremony where I was able to make a couple more snaps. I love my job. Interestingly, a number of the #feathers this gent is wearing in his #head-dress come from the #Cassowary, which is regarded as the world’s most dangerous bird, second only in weight to the ostrich. They attack over 200 people every year, mostly in response to people getting too close. They have a middle claw which is dagger sharp and over 12cm’s long. #Papuans have long included these birds in their diet and used their feather for their magnificent head-dresses. These birds are unfortunately now listed as endangered and in order to save them, population recovery is going to be necessary.

brentstirton

MARSABIT SOUTH, NORTH KENYA: Melako Conservancy Scouts patrol an area that became a vast no man’s land after extensive cattle raiding between the Rendille tribe and the Borana. Land and homes were abandoned and the signs of the conflict between the groups were evident in this drawing on a wall of one of the houses. The army came in and many of the wild animals of the area were killed or driven away into more vulnerable areas. The Rendille ended up moving 42 kilometers away and the Borana also pulled back, leaving a viable pastoral and conservation area deserted and contentious. The Melako Conservancy community group with the help of the Northern Rangelands trust tried to rehabilitate the area for both #Pastoralists and for wildlife tourism. The scouts were appointed by the community and with the help of a few Kenya Administrative Police, tried to secure the area and the wildlife so that people could return and invest in the area for both cattle and tourism returns. This is a great example of how community involvement in conservation can help to rebuild devastated areas. It seems self-evident that, without community buy-in, conservation has little chance of succeeding. Northern Rangelands Trust currently has 39 member conservancies covering 42,000 square kilometres of northern and coastal Kenya, home to around 320,000 people belonging to 18 different ethnic groups. They see their mission as a community conservancy membership organization that aims to develop resilient community conservancies, which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resource #nrt_kenya #conservation @natgeo #community #kenya @gettyimages

brentstirton

#Tarangire National Park, Tanzania: A mature bull #elephant schools a younger bull who was a little cocky for his own good. The older bull pushed the younger around until he was completely humbled and resumed his place in the herd of males. One of the neglected issues of the #ivory poaching crisis is that so many of the mature bulls are killed and there are very few to socialize young elephants into behavior patterns that will increase their life span. #humanwildlifeconflict is often the result as inexperienced elephants wander into territory that can get them killed. @natgeo #natgeostudentexpeditions #gettyimages #canonuk #conservation #wildlife #nature

brentstirton

I’m just starting work on a series on neglected tropical diseases, here’s an image from the first day at a #leprosy colony in #Benin. Most people think this biblical plague has been eradicated but Benin alone has close to 200 new cases every year. These people have lost everything to this insidious disease, they have been shunned by #society, isolated and in many cases abandoned by fearful and ill-informed families. Despite this, they have found something in each other, a solidarity that is humbling to see, often manifesting in the most amazing sense of humor. They laugh about everything and the Catholic sisters who act as caregivers laugh along with them. Maybe it’s a case of laughing instead of crying, either way, it’s really humbling to be around. This image shows some of these lovely people shooting the breeze in the compound of the colony. Dr Christian Roch of the Raoul Follereau Foundation, you are a stellar human being and I salute you. #neglectedtropicaldisease @fondationraoulfollereau #compassion #disease @natgeo @gettyimages #loneliness #solidarity #lefigaro

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Angelia Young of the recently established @tikkihywoodfoundation.cameroon prepares to release one of three #pangolins into an undisclosed wild area in #Cameroon. Each of these #pangolins was destined for the #bushmeat market until Angelia rescued them with the help of the Cameroonian Depart of Forests. She has rescued many pangolins in the short time the organization has existed and plans to partner with Mefou, the great apes rescue sanctuary to grow stronger still. This is not easy work and can be dangerous. Pangolins have long been on the bushmeat menu in Cameroon and have only recently been banned by Presidential edict and recognized by #CITES as highly endangered. Enforcement is lacking and scales are collected by middlemen for Chinese buyers who export the scales for traditional medicine in China. It will not be an easy road to secure Pangolins for the future in Cameroon, one of the greatest repositories for this rare creature in the world. Please support Angelia’s work if you can. ⁠⠀ @natgeo #conservation #womenempowerment #racingextinction #illegalwildlifetrade

brentstirton

I’m often working in places where people chew Betel nut. This gent selling hand-rolled cigarettes in Mount Hagen, #Papua New Guinea, is no exception. Next time you see someone chewing, maybe consider the following and pass it on to them. Betel nut has a long history in South and Southeast Asia and the #Pacific Basin. In Guam and other Pacific islands, its use can be traced back as far as 2,000 years. A habit passed down through generations, chewing betel nut is a time-honored custom for 10–20 percent of the world’s population. Many people chew #betel nut for the energy boost it produces, likened to drinking 6 cups of coffee. This is likely due to the nut’s natural alkaloids, which release adrenaline. It may also result in feelings of euphoria and well-being. Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 600 million people use some form of betel nut. It is one of the most popular psychoactive substances in the world, in fourth place after nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. Research has revealed some serious health risks of betel nut. The #WHO classifies betel nut as a carcinogen. Many studies have shown a convincing link between betel nut use and #cancer of the mouth and esophagus. Doesn’t seem worth it to me. #natgeo #gettyimages #UnitedNations #healthline

brentstirton

⠀ PHUNDUNDU, ZIMBABWE: I had to pleasure of working with my friend Damien Mander, founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, for a story on the elite members of Zimbabwe's all-female Akashinga #conservation #ranger force. This story is published in the June issue of National Geographic Magazine with writing by Lindsay Smith. These few images depict them training and then deploying against experienced poachers. #akashinga (meaning the ‘Brave Ones’ in local Shona dialect) is a community-driven #conservation model, empowering severely disadvantaged #women to restore and manage a network of wilderness areas as an alternative to trophy hunting. According to @damien_mander, many current western-conceived solutions to conserve wilderness areas struggle to gain traction across the African continent. Predominately male forces are often hampered by ongoing corruption, nepotism, drunkenness and occasionally aggressiveness towards local communities. The I.A.P.F, @int.anti.poaching.foundation decided to innovate, using an all-female team to manage an entire nature reserve in Zimbabwe. The program builds an alternative approach to the militarized paradigm of ‘fortress conservation’ that defends colonial boundaries between nature and humans. While still trained to deal with any situation they may face, the team has a community-driven interpersonal focus, working with rather than against the local population for the long-term benefits of their own communities and nature. In the short time since they have been operating, Akashinga have become a role model for conservation and for rural African women across the continent. This movement is growing with IAPF taking on new conservation missions and recruiting more female rangers for the job. Please support these women in their work if you can. In the last 50 years we have lost more than 60% of wildlife populations. 25% of all mammals are on the brink of extinction. Anyone doing good work against this surely deserves to be supported. #womenempowerment #IWD2019 #Conservation @natgeo #strongwomen⁣ #lefigarofr #wildlifecrime#racingextinction #CampaignforNature @gettyimages

brentstirton

Here are a couple of images from the June 2019 National Geographic Pangolin story covering some of what I saw in Africa and Asia. In order to protect species we need to conserve 30% of the planet by 2030. When I look at my son, I am constantly aware of what a huge failing it would be not to do so. Pangolins are amazing animals but tragically the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals. The trade is huge and no-one has any real idea how many pangolin are left out there. There is a thriving Asian market for both their meat in the restaurant trade and their scales in traditional medicine. There is no proven scientific basis for the medical aspect and there are over one hundred alternatives to #pangolin scales in traditional Chinese medicine. Most of those are herbal. Japan and Vietnam also use Pangolin scales in their traditional medicine. In the past 50 years, we’ve lost more than 60% of wildlife populations. Species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than normal. 25% of mammals are on the brink of extinction. The conversation should surely be one about alternatives in traditional medicine at a time of such crisis. #NatGeoFest @natgeo #tikkihywoodtrust #savepangolinsofficial #savingvietnamswildlife #wildlifecrime #racingextinction #CampaignforNature

brentstirton

28 AUGUST 2018: An undercover officer from a unit dedicated to Trans-National crime holds a giant pangolin's intact skin and scales discovered in a raid on a house in Abidjan. The raid netted two Vietnamese traffickers with 600 kgs of #Pangolin scales as well as 23 ivory tusks from Forest Elephant. A Chinese man in the house was arrested for guns, drugs and is suspected of human trafficking based on document and photographs of 14 Ivorian women. The giant pangolin is a highly endangered animal, on the red list for CITES appendix one. This exoskeleton and the tail of another larger giant pangolin were discovered in the locked room of the Chinese owner of the house, a traditional Chinese doctor. Giant pangolins are now so rare they may as well be unicorns. I know people who have spent their whole lives working in the bush and have never seen one. We have no idea how many are left yet this unique creature is the most trafficked mammal in the world. In the June issue of National Geographic Magazine, Rachael Bale has done some good reporting on the global Pangolin crisis. Like so many animals at this time, we are losing these amazing animals before we even have a chance to understand them and know what we are losing. Please take the time to read this piece and understand more. Pangolins are the perfect metaphor for so many species disappearing into Asia’s illegal #wildlife trade. I recommend supporting @tikkihywoodtrust and @tikkihywoodfoundation.cameroon as well as #savingvietnamswildlife as well as #laga⠀⠀ @natgeo #pangolins #pangolinsg @savepangolinsofficial #conservation #endangered #wildlifetrade #giantpangolin #pangolinconservation

brentstirton

South Africa recently celebrated 25 years of democracy. I wasn’t able to post on the day, here is something I liked now that I am back online. I shot this image the week #NelsonMandela died. These are two Zimbabwean #immigrants at #prayer on a hill above a notorious section of Jo'burg. They told me they were praying for the country. I thought that was both ironic and magnanimous, given SA’s penchant for #xenophobia always hovering in the wings. In a post-Zuma SA, their prayers seem particularly relevant today. #CyrilRamaphosa, our current President, has an uphill battle in front of him. Cyril is a good man, he is also the man that Nelson Mandela always wanted to succeed him. South Africa might be a very different place today if that had happened. The best article I have read recently on the SA situation is in “The Economist.” If this is something that interests you, I would encourage you to read this: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/04/25/to-stop-the-rot-in-south-africa-back-cyril-ramaphosa⁣⠀ #future #africa #southafrica #immigration

brentstirton

In the remote northeast of Chad, no place is more surreal and beautiful than the recently created Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve. African Parks has recently taken over management of this unique 40,000-square-kilometer UNESCO World Heritage Site, partnering with the government of #Chad to help preserve this region. African Parks is a non-profit conservation organization that takes on responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of difficult national parks, in partnership with governments and local communities. Their goal is to manage 20 parks by 2020, rebuilding them into models for conservation. This is no small challenge, and I truly applaud African Parks for its vision and especially the small teams on the ground making this a reality, no matter how tough the mission. #Ennedi has had a wild history. It was a focal point for the “Toyota Wars,” a period from 1983-1987 when Libya invaded this region of Chad, and the Chadians took on Libyan tanks using only Toyota 4x4s, superior tactics, and no small measure of courage. Today the region is finally landmine free—and potentially one of the most unique eco-tourism experiences in the world when restored to its full potential. @africanparksnetwork @natgeo #conservation #rangers #desertlandscape

brentstirton

PHUNDUNDU, ZIMBABWE: In this image, an elite member of Zimbabwe's all-female Akashinga conservation ranger force undergoes stealth movement and concealment training in the bush. #akashinga (meaning the ‘Brave Ones’ in local Shona dialect) is a community-driven #conservation model, empowering severely disadvantaged #women to restore and manage a network of wilderness areas as an alternative to trophy hunting. Many current western-conceived solutions to conserve wilderness areas struggle to gain traction across the African continent. Predominately male forces are often hampered by ongoing corruption, nepotism, drunkenness and occasionally aggressiveness towards local communities. The I.A.P.F, @int.anti.poaching.foundation decided to innovate, using an all-female team to manage an entire nature reserve in Zimbabwe. The program builds an alternative approach to the militarized paradigm of ‘fortress conservation’ that defends colonial boundaries between nature and humans. While still trained to deal with any situation they may face, the team has a community-driven interpersonal focus, working with rather than against the local population for the long-term benefits of their own communities and nature. In the short time since they have been operating, Akashinga have become a role model for conservation and for rural African women across the continent. #womenempowerment #IWD2019 #Conservation @natgeo #strongwomen⁣

brentstirton

I was totally privileged to spend time with the world’s best #pangolin care-givers at the #tikkihywoodtrust for an upcoming @natgeo magazine story. I witnessed an extraordinary #relationship unfold as these men helped rescued, traumatized pangolin to find ants and termites to eat and kept them safe from predators and poachers. Pangolins are the world’s most trafficked animal in the illegal wildlife trade and are extraordinarily endangered. The Tikki Hywood Trust undertakes public awareness campaigns, trains law enforcement and judiciary personnel, conducts research, and rehabilitates pangolins that have been confiscated from the illegal trade. They operate with partners across Africa and advise in Asia. A recently opened extension #tikkihywoodfoundation.cameroon is doing great work in the epicenter of the illegal pangolin world. Founder Lisa Hywood is seen as a global expert on how to care for Pangolins in captivity and along with partner Ellen Connelly, they represent an extraordinary example of how to care for animals. The trust also engages with other organizations and governments throughout Africa to highlight the plight of pangolins, raising awareness of their conservation status and educating them as to the need for conserving pangolins, as well as implementing conservation actions. Many of their activities are not covered by research grants and they rely on sponsors and donations to continue their work. It is estimated that over a million pangolin have been lost in the last ten years, this is from a population that we have never counted, we have no idea how many remain, and we know it is not possible to breed these animals in captivity. We are losing these extraordinary animals so quickly to the illegal Asian market that they may disappear before we can truly appreciate them. @natgeo #conservation #Endangered #antipoaching #WildlifeCrime #Africa #wildlifecrime

brentstirton

It’s amazing to think that in this age where your phone does everything but make you a cappuccino, #radio is still king when it comes to how a great many people get their news. Just over half the world’s population has access to the internet, almost everyone has access to a radio. Most of the online people are in cities. When it comes to the majority of rural communities, radios are affordable and #broadcasts can reach a wide audience. It has maintained its relevance in a digital age. It’s a cheap, 24-hour source for what’s going on, the most widely used medium for #reporting both local and international #news. It also engages our imagination rather than having a mental picture simply fed to us. Advances in #technology may have led to the emergence of a broad range of #media outlets and platforms, but it has also made the radio more accessible for populations that lack access to other means of information technology, hence its relevance. When I listen to the @BBC or @NPR etc., I am reminded that for many parts of the world, they are still the primary source of #information on what is happening. I’ve had many occasions in the middle of nowhere huddled around a radio with other people hearing the news of the day. Kudos to the radio #journalists, authorities in many of countries are wary of them and many have been targeted over the years for their effective journalism. @natgeo @canonuk #communication

brentstirton

Here’s some good news in the #conservation sector - #Virunga is reopening for tourism on the 15th of February 2019. This is absolutely one of the most unique national parks in the world. For me it’s the best mountain #gorilla experience out there, not to mention the cheapest and the most authentic. The Kibumba camp will reopen in the gorilla sector and tourists will once again be able to see these incredible animals. When a magnificent #silverback looks directly at you, it is unquestionably a life-changing experience for your comprehension of animal intelligence. Nyiragongo, the largest active volcano lake in the world is also re-opening. You can overnight up there at 11,000 feet and watch dawn break over the rim. I don’t have the words to describe how primal and beautiful the view is over the surrounding park. Tchegera Island in Lake Kivu is also re-opening, this place offers a private island experience and allows you to look back at Goma and the active Volcano sector with a view like no other. This is a truly a different travel experience and you are supporting people who do the some of the most difficult work in the conservation world. #virunganationalpark @natgeo @canonuk #Peace4Animals #WorldAnimalNews @virunganationalpark #WildlifeCrime #Endangered

brentstirton

I posted something recently on the Chambri #Tribe in Papua New Guinea who ritually #scar themselves to #honor #ancestors they believe manifest as crocodiles. This #Ethiopian gentleman has #scars that are a testament to his #bravery in battle. Each line is supposed to represent an enemy he has killed, most often while protecting cattle, grazing land or water. The pain he experiences during #scarification seals the memory into his mind. Westerners tend to give out medals to our fighters, hugely respected within the military but which most often languish in dusty cupboards, brought out only occasionally for veterans day or reunions. Incredible acts of heroism and selflessness essentially hidden away and unspoken. Perhaps cultures that choose to manifest their courage on their bodies in plain sight have the right idea. I was told that these #men serve as role models in their villages and are widely respected. We seem to be a little short on visible role models in the so-called first world these days. #ethiopia @natgeo @canonuk @profotoglobal #braveryinbattle

brentstirton

I met these Navajo dancers at a multi-tribe #powwow. They represent four generations of Navajo pride in #dance. It was pretty #spectacular to see hundreds of these dancers perform; they are not in the habit of holding back. What was most fascinating though, was the quiet friction between traditionalist #Navajo dancers and the dancers who choose to wear more #extravagant #costumes. The traditionalists worry that these bright, modern manifestations have come to portray an almost "Super-Indian" collective today. They say this is also seen in the appropriation of certain #ceremonies from other #Native-American nations. This is worrisome for the traditionalists who want to maintain complete authenticity in the Navajo #culture. I can certainly respect why #traditionalists are concerned about the erosion of absolute authenticity. I have to say though; I also loved the fact that so many generations of Navajo value their #dance enough to regularly and energetically express their sense of a unique and obviously beautiful culture. A little time after this I was working with @usfishandwildlifeservice in Denver. Amazingly enough, there was a department that had a number of dead #eagles that they were de-feathering. I had no idea this happened but USFW collect the carcasses of certain eagles in order to collect feathers for the Native American tribes that employ these feathers in costumes as a symbolic tribute to the eagle. This helps to prevent eagles being poached for their feathers and it helps the tribes to continue with their traditions. @lefigarofr @natgeo @canonuk #authentic #energy #tradition @eaglefeathers #headdress

brentstirton

For me there is no feeling like coming home via somewhere beautiful and having #animals of any kind around me. This is coming back to the village from a day in the forests around Lake Murray with all the dogs, feeling #calm and #peaceful. No-one's talking but we all know how the other is feeling. I know I've got some pics in the bag, the local guys are happy and totally comfortable with me and tomorrow we are going to do it all over again. Nothing like it. The second pic is us heading out in the morning, back to the forest and another day in pristine #nature. The communities around the #lake are amazing at keeping what's beautiful intact out here. @Greenpeace did great work in this region. I'm super lucky to do this for a living, no doubt about it. #contentment #dogs #boats #png #natgeo #boyhood #harmony

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This beautiful #lake is lovely only because the community came together to fight off foreign loggers. In collaboration with Greenpeace, they forced out logging company Concord Pacific and ever since then have devoted themselves to only #sustainable harvest and lifestyle. #LakeMurray is the largest lake in PNG, covering over 650 square kilometers, ownership is shared amongst 5000 inhabitants. Timber from this area is now sold with the benefit of Forest Stewardship Council certification and harvested according to strict protocols. I am a big believer in community involvement in #conservation, this joint initiative with @Greenpeace is a great example of that. ⠀ #PapuaNewGuinea #peaceful #calm #canon #reflection #nature #wayoflife

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This image is from an essay on #circumcision I shot around the King’s hunting ground in the #Transkei. These young #men were from 16 to 22 years of age and came together for 6 weeks in which they were circumcised without anesthetic early on as a ritual coming of age. For their remaining time, these boys healed stoically, dressed only in these blankets, sequestered away from contact. They saw only the men teaching them the history of the #Xhosa tribe and heard only what was expected of them as men of that tribe. This is an ancient practice and not without controversy. This shoot was unquestionably one of the most privileged things I have ever done. I spent about two weeks with these boys. It rained constantly and we sat together in their hut for long stretches. They were shy on the first day but soon enough, they began to ask me questions. Before long, every day was a debate session, filled with their comments on what it meant to be young, to be men, to be black in a new South Africa etc. They asked me about how I felt to be a white guy in the new country, was I going to stay, did I have come from a particular tribe, how did I feel about black people? We spoke about women, my family, and my life on the road, we spoke about everything really, and we laughed a great deal. Most of them had never traveled far from where we were in the Transkei, they asked me to explain some of the things I had seen further afield. Our time together opened up a freedom of speech amongst us that has informed so many of my consequent interactions with my fellow countrymen, I am always grateful to these young men for that. #ritualcircumcision #xhosatribe #adultcircumcision #manhood #natgeo #tribe #brotherhood

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I've had the pleasure of driving across Mongolia a couple of times, always in a hurry but still a great experience. These #camels took myself and a journalist from @geomagazin for a ride to Mongolia's highest dunes. The Khongor sand #dunes are also known as the singing dunes because you can hear the movement of the fine sand as the wind blows across the desert. It's kind of magical, especially if you are lucky enough to be alone up there at the highest point of 800 meters. I had to climb up and take a snap but before that I liked this strange composition. #Mongolia is still a place of vast empty spaces, unlike most of the world today. #singingdunes #outthere #natgeo #travel #nomad #desert

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I was fortunate to see Lion #Dancers from the #Sakuma tribe perform the story of their lion killing outside a village in rural Tanzania. #Liondancers are men who have killed a lion in defense of their cattle or their village. Once they have proved themselves, they can then be hired to perform this service for others and this is where things get complicated for conservation. They are a deeply superstitious people who believe that once they have killed a lion they have to become a lion dancer for 3 to 5 years to avoid going mad. They spend a year or longer preparing with the local witchdoctor and then go from village to village seeing their relatives and dancing while collecting tribute for their bravery. In a time when lion are very scarce in the region, this practice is actively discouraged by conservation organizations and it is slowly dying out. When the dancers appear in the villages, they are often praised and given money, goats and even sometimes a small cow. #killedlion #tradition #tanzania #natgeo #dancers

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The Democratic Republic of Congo: As this new year dawns, I’m wishing all those who #guard our #wildspaces the safety and security they deserve. I’d like to hope that more people will come to understand and appreciate the #sacrifices these men and women make on behalf of all of us. They do this to safeguard our global #wildlifeheritage but ironically, they do it without global support and remain under-paid, under-appreciated and under-protected. Improving on this should be a simply and logical progression, easy to understand and universally embraced. May this #newyear move us closer to that. #wildlifeconservation #globalwildlife #virunga

BrentStirton

These are some brave men I photographed for a series on #MaleBreastCancer. All of them went through a tough time finding out they had #breastcancer, going through #chemotherapy and then surgery. I asked them to try to physicalize how it felt to hear that this #disease was inside them and then how it felt to hear it was no longer in their #bodies after they had beaten it. I think it’s a hard thing for most men to make themselves this #vulnerable, especially to a stranger with a camera. They stood in front of me as a warning to other men. Breast Cancer in men gains a foothold due to male ignorance. It’s just not something that we think happens to us, especially in the light of how terribly common breast #cancer is for women. I started this series as a way of highlighting that ignorance but stalled on it when I ran out of subjects. I hope to continue when I can find additional people. Please bear in mind that this disease affects both sexes, if you feel a lump in your chest and you’re a guy, please don’t just dismiss it. That could end up killing you. #cancerfight

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This is an image of over 40 #lion bone #carcasses to be sent to China from South Africa for their #traditionalmedicine market. CITES offers permits for these. The second image is of lion cubs on a lion breeding farm in South Africa that caters to the canned lion hunting trade, a controversial but legal trade inside South Africa. The lion bone carcasses are generally the result of hunts but as the bones become more valuable, there is great incentive to breed lions only for their bones. #Lionbones are increasingly a side industry for these breeders. Lion bone has come to replace much of the #tigerbone trade as tigers are so severely #endangered in the wild. China recently declared that it will once again allow trading of rhino and tiger parts domestically after a 25-year ban. They say this is to accommodate “farmed animals” bred in China. There are many reports on those farms, none of them good. Issues of severe inbreeding, starvation and other abuses are common. There are also many reports that wild animals fetch higher prices on the Chinese market. Any legalization of these animal products throws open large loopholes for the illegal trade, stimulating poaching against severely endangered wild animals in countries that feed the illegal wildlife trade flowing into China. This is a very disappointing decision on the part of #China, especially so soon after they agreed to ban their domestic #ivorytrade. #lioncarcasses #lionfarm #lionbreeding

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This #blackrhino lost its horn to #poachers in Zimbabwe. They left this animal for dead with multiple AK47 bullet wounds. This bull recovered briefly and walked through the bush for nearly a week in unimaginable pain and confusion. There were maggots breeding in his face when he finally died. We all lost another severely endangered black #rhino bull to this incident, further depleting the gene pool of a magnificent species that we are losing. It’s no secret that Rhino are severely #endangered today, yet China recently declared that it will once again allow trading of rhino and tiger parts domestically after a 25-year ban. They say this is to accommodate “farmed animals” bred in China. There are many reports on those farms, none of them good. Issues of severe inbreeding, starvation and other abuses are common. There are also many reports that wild animals fetch higher prices on the Chinese market. Any legalization of these animal products throws open large loopholes for the illegal trade, stimulating poaching against severely endangered animals in countries that feed the illegal wildlife trade flowing into China. This is a very disappointing decision on the part of #China, especially so soon after they agreed to ban their domestic #Ivorytrade. #illegalwildlifetrade #stoprhinopoaching

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"Jack," a #Mahout at Surin Elephant Village, seen with his #elephant in the early morning in Surin Elephant Village in Thailand, November 10th, 2011. "Jack" worked in China for over 13 years as an elephant #Mahout. There are over 200 elephants at this village, most are used in shows which appeal to tourists. The Thai elephant used to be used in logging but this was banned in Thailand over 20 years ago due to deforestation. As a result there is a lot of pressure on Mahouts for survival and this has led to controversy in elephant matters in Thailand. The Mahouts come from a clan that has been responsible for the capture and rearing of elephants for the kings of Siam for more than a 1000 years. Their way of life is now under threat and some of the Mahouts are involved in the illegal elephant trade with Burma and also the trade in #ivory and elephant parts, most of which is used in the manufacture of religious icons for the domestic trade or exported to China for foreign sales. The Thai legal system has many loopholes as a result of the domestic ivory situation and Thailand is suspected of being a major transit country for illegal ivory as a result. #illegalivorytrade #ivorytrade

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I’m slowly working on a series on the expression of #sex and #sensuality with a friend of mine @philchanet I think it’s a fact that most of us lead lives of #repression when it comes to how we express these things. Either way, it’s a fascinating window into people’s private lives. The first person we photographed was Stephanie; she’s a successful lawyer in London but leads an active life in the #fetish scene. She has a #dominatrix style relationship with the gent in this first picture, he’s also a successful professional but he enjoys being her supplicant and a lot of that manifests in cleaning her house while she gives him orders. This may seem bizarre to many but it’s a relationship of mutual agreement between consenting #adults who know themselves and are possibly a little further down the road in being able to express that. Stephanie says, “My feeling is that most women in our culture are imprisoned by fear of expressing their desires. I wish that I could be totally out, and appear naked on a Pirelli calendar and expect everyone to still take me seriously as a lawyer and an intelligent woman. I can’t change things overnight but I really want to do it in stages in my own small way - to be able to go about my business as a professional woman and a mother, whilst also not hiding the #erotic and sensual aspect of my character. I hate secrets and I hate keeping parts of myself locked away.” The second image in this post is Stephanie tidying up her son’s room before her supplicant comes over for a session. That’s the kind of ironic duality that exists in all of our lives. @thewickedjade #sandm

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This is a blind #Muslim woman I met at a remote location in Ethiopia, I was working on #Trachoma #blindness at the time but honestly, after a long day of focusing on this #affliction, what really attracted me to her was the extraordinary color of her garments. Black and white pics are great when done well but #color is just an extra dimension I love. For me we live our lives in color and thats how I want to photograph. I’m always looking for combinations that stand out, even better if it’s a single element in an otherwise forgettable scene. This woman stood in a group of many people, and she just sang out to me in terms of what she was wearing. There are scenes where frankly anyone could make a decent frame, this is one of them. Explaining why I wanted to take her photo was another story, how do you explain color to someone who has long forgotten what it looks like? @natgeo #muslimwoman

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In the October issue of @NatGeo magazine myself and writer @PeterGwin examine the current state of #Falconry. Arabian falconers have contributed a great deal to the recovery of falcons since the time of #D.D.T and the #SilentSpring. Sheikh Butti Maktoum of the #UAE was among the very first to embrace captive bred falcons, helping to influence falconers away from the illegal trade of wild capture towards captive bred birds. @Unesco has subsequently endowed falconry with the title of Intangible Cultural Heritage. The U.A.E sponsors nesting sites and pylon protection in Mongolia to protect falcons on migration, they intensively breed #HoubaraBustard prey species for falcon hunting to minimize impact in host countries. The falcon hospitals of the UAE are something to behold as are the relationships between certain falconers and their birds, far surpassing notions of what is possible between man and raptor. Peter and I spent time with the influential breeding maestro Howard Waller. His relationship with Sheik Butti represents a perfect example of how the natural world can unite people in a common mission despite huge cultural differences. There’s great potential for better understanding between Islam and the West through the lens of conservation, a higher value system that should unite us all. @natgeo #falcons #conservation #UnitedArabEmirates #Falconry #berghwing #royalshaheen #peregrinefund #nationalaudubonsociety #unesco

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I had the pleasure of working on #Falcons for the October 2018 issue of the National Geographic Magazine. In #Mongolia I worked with the wonderful Batbayar Bold, a member of the Mongolian Wildlife Science and Conservation Center. The key issue we focused on was the danger posed by electric pylons and how they kill millions of raptors every year. ⠀ In numerous studies of mitigation measures, the use of perch deflector spikes on the cross arms of line poles reduced #electrocution rates when 3 or 4 spikes were deployed. Perch deflectors work by reducing the opportunity for birds to perch adjacent to pin insulators rather than by reducing the frequency of #birds perching on the cross arm. At anchor poles, a simple reconfiguration of jump wires at two phases so that they passed under the cross arm rather than over, significantly reduces electrocution rates. These mitigation measures potentially represent an inexpensive method to reduce the frequency of #raptor electrocution in regions where cost is a key factor for power line managers in determining whether or not any form of mitigation is used. The Mongolians made a case study of one 100-kilometer section of powerlines on the steppe for a 1-year period, in that time, over 320 rare #Saker Falcons were found electrocuted from that small sample area alone. Thousands of other birds were also killed. It wasn’t hard to see how the millions and millions of miles of powerlines around the world devastate the global #bird population. On a more positive note, I also got to see a project where the Mongolians have erected thousands of artificial nesting sites on the barren Steppe, as well as spend time with Boldbaatar Batjargal, a Mongolian master #falconer, who is as close to these birds as anyone on the planet. I watched him imprint himself on a Saker falcon mother, so he could disentangle one of her chicks from plastic in the nest which was deforming the chick’s foot and threatening its future. What followed from the mother bird truly looked like gratitude. @natgeo #falconry #conservation #endangeredspecies⠀

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ZAKOUMA NATIONAL PARK, CHAD. Djime Said, 50, is the lone survivor of a Conservation Ranger massacre at Heban, Chad. Six Zakouma rangers died in an attack by poachers who were members of the Sudanese military. A few weeks earlier, the Rangers found the poachers camp and took all their ammunition, their poached ivory and provisions. The poachers were out of camp at the time. Those poachers then planned a counter-attack that began just before first light while the Rangers were sleeping. They would have awoken to a hail of A.K rounds, the last sound they would ever hear. Djime Said was employed as a cook with the rangers in the rainy season. In his account, he said the night was very still when suddenly there was heavy firing out of nowhere. He found himself rolling down the steep hill that made up the Ranger post at Heban. He was shot but managed to hide away for the day and then come back to the camp that night where he confirmed that all the rangers were dead and the camp looted. He spent the next week trying to get help, two days of which were spent wading through a dense swamp on his way to aid. He received $2000 compensation from the Chadian government for his injuries but told me he no longer wanted to work for Zakouma after this experience. Since the time of the attack, the parks “Mamba” teams have greatly improved security, this coupled with better relations with the nomads in the region have developed an intelligence network that safeguards both the animals and the people trying to protect them. Every year many rangers die protecting a global heritage, they work for a pittance and endure conditions most humans would balk at. They do most of that with a smile on their faces. Surely we owe them more. @AfricanParksNetwork @zakouma_national_park #conservationrangers @natgeo #survivors

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Recently I worked with @HumanRightsWatch in the #Brazilian #Amazon on a 9-day story where HRW investigators compiled evidence of abuses against #indigenouspeople by illegal loggers. We looked at three different groups in the #BrazilianAmazon, two of these groups had very little funding and were doing simple forest patrols, bike patrols and simple roadblocks to try and protect their land, the third has benefited from a compensation deal with a mining company and are able to launch more sophisticated patrols to protect their land. It was way too short a time for great investigative pictures, but this is some of what I saw. In the first pic is the impressive Evandor Gaviao, 30, and his adopted son. Evandor is the young chief of the village of Governador, the central village in the tribal area for Gaviao Indigenous people. TI Governador is the ancestral territory of the Gavião people; it encompasses 42,000 hectares of Amazon forest. Governador has been noticeably affected by deforestation, with whole areas razed of trees, dry riverbeds and frequent forest fires. People in this village say that the old days were better, their forests held more animals for hunting, more fruit and there were no problems with loggers illegally cutting their timber. In the village of La Goa Comprida in Arariboia Indigenous territory, illegal loggers attacked locals when the locals confiscated their logging vehicles. One indigenous man, Tomes, was killed defending his wife and a logger was also shot. Tomes is survived by 2 daughters Graca Guajajara and Jaciane Guajajara. They remain in a deeply saddened state about his killing. This village has little real funding, but they continue to send out forest guardians. These consists of motorbike patrols when they have fuel. Chief Antonio Wilson Guajajara from the village of Macaranduba in the Karu #Indigenous Territory is seen on the bank of the river flowing through his territory. The women of the village have learnt to fly a drone and work together with the men to reinforce these patrols. Indigenous people have a major role to play in conservation, but they need the Brazilian government to step up and protect them in order to do it.

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I shot this #elegant lady on a recent road trip across Namibia, 2500 kilometers in 4 days. She is a General in the #Herero People’s army of Namibia, a symbolic movement meant to keep alive the memory of #genocide against the Herero. The General stands on a hill overlooking one of the biggest battle sites of the conflict. The Herero and Nama genocide was a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment that the German Empire undertook in German South West Africa (now Namibia) against the Ovaherero and the Nama. It is considered the first genocide of the 20th century. This took place between 1904 and 1908 and began when Samuel Maharero and Nama led by Captain Hendrik Witbooi, rebelled against oppressive German colonial rule. The Herero say that at least 65,000 of their people died, many from starvation and dehydration as they were forced into the desert. Many others died in concentration camps where sexual slavery, medical experimentation and other atrocities were well documented. In 1985, the United Nations' Whitaker Report classified all this as an attempt to exterminate the Herero and Nama peoples of South West Africa, and therefore one of the earliest attempts at genocide in the 20th century. In 2004, the German government recognized and apologized for the events, but ruled out financial compensation for the victims' descendants. The Herero sued the German state for the first time in 2001 and are doing so again this year in a New York court. Germany has acknowledged the genocide but already gives significant aid money to Namibia every year and will not enter into negotiations for Herero reparations. #caneosr. #liveforthestory #mirrorless #eosr #hereropeople

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This is an image of illegal #ivory seized in Kenya destined for Japan. The hundreds of ivory tubes are pre-cut “hankos,” a highly desirable personal stamp in Japan. Ivory in Japan plays out in musical instruments, hankos and netsuke, small ivory carvings. On more than one occasions I was offered ivory that it is illegal to export. Online, Yahoo! Japan offers illegal ivory for sale immediately accessible to a consumer market. In a recent environmental investigation, I worked with National Geographic writer Rachel Nuwer to examine Japan’s decision to continue with its domestic ivory market, despite China closing theirs in January 2018. This makes Japan the largest legal ivory market in the world. They have taken an attitude similar to their stance on whaling, placing a sense of nationalistic pride ahead of the lives of #elephants, some of the most sentient and #endangered animals on the planet. Japan has consumed ivory from at least 262,500 elephants since 1970, the vast majority from large, mature adults, according to Allan Thornton, president of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Japan’s ivory industry today, Thornton adds, is “greater than any other nation on Earth.” While China had some 170 ivory outlets nationwide prior to its ban, Japan has 8,200 retailers, 300 manufacturers, and 500 wholesalers. “In the 1980s Japan was so notorious, not only in terms of the volume of ivory it consumed but also for illegal trade,” says Isao Sakaguchi, a professor of international relations and global environmental governance at Gakushuin University, in Tokyo. “Japan was responsible for the near extinction of African elephants in most of their range states.” Legal trade in ivory inevitably creates loopholes for illegal trade and #Japan has loopholes you can drive a ship through. National Geographic writer Rachel Nuwer has done a superb job of reporting on the implications of Japan’s decision to continue with their ivory trade. I would urge anyone who cares about animals to read this illuminating feature on @natgeo online. The link: https://on.natgeo.com/2QWpfCT⠀ #illegalivory @eiaenvironment #ivorytrade #endangeredanimals #japanivory #liveforthestory

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I recently worked on #Trachoma blindness with @ITIatlanta in #Ethiopia. This enabled me to continue my personal work on #blindness. According to the @WorldHealthOrganisation , there are 45 million blind people in the world, 40 million of whom don’t have to be. #Trachoma is like many forms of blindness, a war of attrition against sight that can be won through simple access to #cleanwater, #sanitation and access to #eyecareprofessionals. Trachoma often occurs when #chlamydia from human excrement is spread to the eye by flies, a situation exacerbated by a lack of adequate #latrines. This condition causes a roughening of the inner surface of the eyelids which begins to scratch the surface of the eye, resulting in constant and terrible pain for the victim, many of whom endure this condition for years without help. If left unchecked, repeated infections can lead to permanent blindness as the eyelids turn inward. The simple administration of a specialized antibiotic, in this case #Zithromax, can prevent the condition. A simple half-hour operation for advanced Trachoma can peel back the eyelid and reverse the condition. This often takes place in school classrooms with local anesthetic. This mini essay attempts to show the work of community health workers both in the community and at small clinics, it also shows communities responding to their advice and digging latrines and taking the meds. Donkeys are often used to get the meds out to local clinics. Blindness is absolutely my worst nightmare as an affliction, watching your world grow ever darker and more painful on a daily basis or watching it happen to your child should never be allowed to happen. I saw entire families afflicted with Trachoma during this story. Having to ask your own child to yank out your eyelashes as a method of pain relief just seems wrong to me. Sight should be a basic human right, anything we can do to preserve it should be a given. In Africa there is an expression often used for the blind: “A mouth with no hands,” this speaks to the wider effect of blindness in impoverished communities. #endtrachoma @taskforceforglobalhealth #liveforthestory

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JOMBA, #VIRUNGANATIONALPARK, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Yesterday I posted about good people doing great work in a tragic situation. Today I wanted to do something positive for #WorldGorillaDay . I have been incredibly lucky to work inside #Virunga National Park's #mountaingorilla sector a few times. My job means I get to spend a little more time than most with these incredible #animals. Occasionally that results in magic moments like this where I am able to be meters away from giant #silverbacks who are as curious about me as I am about them. There are only around 40-50 of these alpha males in the world. I saw these 2 silverbacks from the Mpua family in the Jomba rainforest of Virunga, it's very unusual to see them hanging out together like this, usually they are pitted against each other for leadership. Virunga is a tough place for #conservation, recently a female ranger was killed and the park shut down tourism for a while. They are gearing up to open again and if you have the chance, I would encourage you to go and see these magnificent animals in the flesh. There is nothing like locking eyes with one of these Silverbacks and feeling what can only be described as a human connection. Frankly, the first time it happened to me, it changed my whole career path and my thinking about the world I was covering. I think Virunga is the best place in the world for this experience, the most authentic way to spend time with these incredible animals. It doesn't hurt that its also the cheapest and that you are helping support #conservationists who need it most. #democraticrepublicofcongo #liveforthestory #gorilla @virunganationalpark

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On this #worldrhinoday I would like to pay tribute to a South African organization called @savingthesurvivors . Saving the Survivors was founded in 2012 by veterinarian Dr Johan Marais to “attend to injured #endangeredwildlife that have fallen victim to #poaching or traumatic incidents.” Dr Marais and his team have cared for the most traumatically injured rhino, animals whose very faces have been removed by the unspeakable #cruelty of the poachers axe. These #rhino were never meant to survive but despite waking up bullet ridden and without a face, these animals have demonstrated an indescribable will to live. Dr Marais and his team help them to do exactly that, allowing these survivors come back to life despite their suffering. There are a number of worthwhile organizations in South #Africa working on the rhino crisis but today I would direct your attention towards Saving the Survivors. They open themselves up to tragedy with a breath-taking optimism, caring for animals most of us would not believe in. There is a lot of talk about the front line of #conservation; these people genuinely embody that in a unique way. If you would like to help, they can be reached at www.savingthesurvivors.org and #savingthesurvivors⠀ #rhinos #southafrica #liveforthestory #animalwelfare

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⠀ KANGATOSA, TURKANA, KENYA: Lake #Turkana #tribeswomen #greet each other in the #traditional way by touching heads. Greetings in this manner are thought to originate from the actions of cattle, a gentle touching of #heads conveying trust and ease. Turkana remains a contentious area, with oil controversy amongst locals as well as Ethiopian dams dramatically diminishing flow into Lake Turkana from its largest fresh water tributary, Ethiopia's Omo River. Lake Turkana is the world’s largest desert lake. Located in Kenya’s remote northern arid lands, it is the most saline of Africa’s great lakes, and its vast aquatic resources contribute to the livelihoods of over 300,000 people, including pastoralists, fishermen and tourism operators. Its ecology supports a host of local and migratory bird and wildlife populations. The lake inflow hydrology has already changed. That means that nutrient inflows and their distribution through the lake have also been affected. Changes in the lake’s ecological diversity will, in turn, affect the lake fisheries. The management of the Lake Turkana National Parks can certainly be improved. The county governments should be involved, and the World Heritage Fund can potentially assist. The entire lake will benefit as a result. And there is still time for Ethiopia to review its ambitious, thirsty irrigation development plans in the lower Omo, admit the impacts, and reconsider the worth of sacrificing unique natural capital, and perhaps restore meaningful ecological floods into the lake too. I got a lot of these fact from an article by Sean Avery, a Chartered Consultant in Hydrology and Water Resources, Associate of the Department of Geography, University of Leicester. This article was originally published on The Conversation. https://qz.com/africa/1324511/ethiopia-kenya-fail-with-lake-turkana-unesco-world-heritage-site/ #laketurkana #liveforthestory

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Here’s a picture of local #porters waiting out a #rain storm as they carry tourist bags up #Nyiragongo, an active volcano inside #Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Africa’s first National Park is currently closed to tourism. This is due to an incident where two tourists were briefly kidnapped and a female ranger, Rachel Baraka, was tragically shot. Eastern #Congo has an embattled history but since 2014 this unique #park has opened to and received over 17,000 tourists, each vital to the economy of the park. At this time all tourism is on hold while the security situation is assessed. In my experience, Virunga is the best Mountain #Gorilla viewing in the world, it’s also way cheaper and more authentic than Rwanda and Uganda. From the Gorilla sector you can look across at Nyiragongo, which you can climb and view the largest lava lake in the world. While you are doing this, you get to support some of the most deserving #Rangers on the planet as well as bring funds to some of the most impoverished communities in #Africa. Virunga will reopen to tourism and when it does I would encourage anyone with a sense of #adventure to go and take a look for themselves. It’s an amazing place that we need to keep alive.⠀ #liveforthestory #easterncongo #virunganationalpark #africanlife @virunganationalpark

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I broke my #glasses recently in Cameroon, today I went to an optician in Johannesburg and got a new pair. Simple and easy, all it took was being in a place where I could access and afford a professional. It made me think of this old gent I met in rural #Zambia, a lovely man who had been wearing the same glasses for over 15 years. The #lenses were so scratched that it was hard to believe he could actually see through them. The frame was held together with wire and when I asked him if I could see his eyes, deep-set and permanent #cataracts looked back me from a #weathered face. I asked him why he hadn’t been to see a doctor for his #eyes when he first started having problems. He told me there was no eye doctor for at least three hundred miles and how was he going to afford the transport to see him anyway. He laughed at my naivety and then walked back to his village leaving me feeling like a fool. Which I was. ⠀ #liveforthestory #oldman #eyesight #weatheredface #blackandwhite

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Buchanan, Liberia: When I was last home, I was going through archive I shot on film, I am woefully behind on scanning my negs. I remembered this young man I found in an IDP camp in #Liberia in 2002. He told me he was #attacked by rebel fighters moving forward to fight Charles Taylor’s forces in Monrovia. He was struck twice with machetes, cutting deeply into his neck and head. The second blow paralyzed him, leaving him without control of his body from the neck down. When I shot this image, my interpreter was lying on the floor propping him up, so I could see his scars in the light coming through the tent opening. I remember the sound he made when my interpreter let him go, falling back like a sack of potatoes, slapping his back wetly against the plastic floor and narrowly avoiding a mirror close by. Absolutely senseless #violence. Africans are the world champions of suffering and yet amazingly, they also seem to know how to be happier than most Westerners. I think about this man sometimes, he was in his twenties with everything in front of him. Where we are born makes all the difference in our prospects.⠀ #liberiawar #crimesagainsthumanity #filmphotography #liveforthestory #scar

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Somalomo, #Cameroon: A #restaurant owner cooks a Crested Genet over an open #fire as she prepares food for customers and her family. Bushmeat is a eons-old protein source for many Africans and, in a number of cases, it is the only protein certain communities can access. As so many species are dwindling into extinction, it’s becoming scarcer to access #bushmeat and that can drive prices up, exacerbating hunting on already #endangeredspecies. The global community will have no choice but to think hard about protein alternatives, ways in which this demographic of Africans can feed themselves and their families without decimating wildlife. They have as much right to feed themselves as we do. Their meat just doesn’t come in neatly packaged cellophane. As to the rights of animals, that will be up to all of us. ⠀ #animalrights #liveforthestory

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Today in #Argentina #women protestors are being arrested after government made a landmark decision to continue to #banabortion. The vote was closer than anticipated and signals a change in thinking in a country that is the birthplace of the current #Pope and has a strong Catholic base. For me the question remains why the celibate men who run the Catholic church, who are not subject to the pressures of everyday society, continue to have such power over the rights of women and their bodies? . . #abortion #abortionrights #argentinaabortionvote ⠀

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I’ve seen a great deal of economic development in #African nations in recent years. #Chinese investment has had many positive effects but progress is often happening so quickly there is no thought given to the impact on the environment, to the role of nature in maintaining balance in these countries. Simple but fundamental things like how forests anchor and safe guard water tables are often not considered. One cannot easily blame the Chinese for being opportunistic businessmen in all this; I do think however that we can ask for greater #accountability from African leaders to ensure greater protection for these unique environments and for the true upliftment of Africans across the continent. ⠀ #environment #ChinaAfrica⠀

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I was very fortunate to photograph Jones Benally, a famous and authentic #Navajo medicine man, as he danced the rarely seen Navajo Hoop Dance in a small #canyon in the badlands of Cameron, Arizona. The #hoopdance is traditionally performed at the end of a grueling nine-day ceremony and is a form of storytelling representing various animals, symbols and storytelling elements, all representing the never-ending circle of life for the Navajo. It was a privilege to meet you Jones, you embody the dignity of your people. For a guy from South Africa you opened my eyes to a whole different take on America. Thank you for the education. . . . #jonesbenally #navajohoopdance #medicineman #nativeamerican #liveforthestory

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I photographed this young #girl outside a funeral service in South Africa. She is an #AIDS #orphan, one of over 2 million #children in SA left without parents due to this scourge. I tried to photograph her as a symbol of all those #children. Her stoicism left me weeping in the car as I drove away. It has always amazed me that there are certain diseases that we simply accept, AIDS, Malaria, Tuberculosis etc. These are simply viewed as part of the landscape for vast sections of humanity. Meanwhile 9 out of 10 Big Pharma companies spend more money on marketing than on research. When I say more money, I mean close to double in most cases. South Africa has the biggest HIV epidemic in the world, with 7.1 million people living with HIV. HIV prevalence is high among the general population at 18.9%. That said, S.A has come a long way since the days of President Thabo Mbeki’s AIDS denialism. South Africa has the largest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world and these efforts have been largely financed from its own domestic resources. UNAIDS reported that 3.7 million people were receiving treatment in South Africa. This equates to 65% of the people living with HIV in the country. In 2015, the country was investing more than $1.34 billion annually to run its HIV programmes. South Africa has also made huge improvements in getting people to test for HIV in recent years with 86% of people aware of their status. The country has the largest ART programme in the world, which has undergone even more expansion in recent years with the implementation of ‘test and treat’ guidelines, whereby everyone with a positive diagnosis is eligible to start treatment. This has meant that the number of people eligible for treatment has increased from 3.39 million in the middle of 2015 to 7.1 million in 2016 – more than doubling in just one year. I say BRAVO to all those people who made this happen, it’s an incredible effort. It totally showcases what is possible in SA when good people come together in common cause. ⠀ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/11/big-pharmaceutical-companies-are-spending-far-more-on-marketing-than-research/⠀ . . . . #AIDSorphan #HIVepidemic