Ending elephant and rhino poaching in Africa

Poached African Elephant_©PeterChadwick_AfricanConservationPhotographer

The detailed textures and wrinkles of skin around an African Elephants eye are stained with a trickle of blood from a high caliber bullet that ended this bull’s life. The eye is the gateway to a soul that has intimate depth of conscious understanding. Did this 40 year old bull know what was coming at the end? Thankfully, in this case, the end came quickly but even so, it was not long before the tusks of this magnificent animal were hacked away.

With the pandemic of ivory and rhino poaching raging across Africa, are we as conservationists making the right decisions to stockpile recovered ivory and horn? Are we not compounding this issue by inadvertently stating that there is a commercial value to these “products” by keeping them locked away in secure locations? Some have boldly led the way in destroying their stockpiles of ivory and rhino horn, while others harshly criticize and condemn them for this saying that there should be controlled trade. Until we all speak from a single voice, the slaughter will continue. We have to find uniformity and ensure that the demand for ivory and rhino horn is totally destroyed and that the only value from these magnificent icons of Africa is through viewing them wandering along in their lives in the remaining wild places of this ancient continent.

This conservation photography project is carried out in partnership with the Game Rangers Association of Africa (GRAA) that provides support, networks and representation for game rangers across Africa. This conservation photography project will use rangers as the “lead characters” to highlight the issues faced by conservationists and showcase opportunities for improved support of rangers in the future. Positive and targeted messages will be communicated that emphasise the critical role that rangers play in African conservation in ensuring that the continent’s natural heritage is preserved for the benefit of future generations. Support Africa’s Rangers by supporting the GRAA.

Peter Chadwick is a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography. The iLCP’s goal is to use the art of high-quality photography to encourage people to take action in support of tangible and meaningful conservation measures.