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In the latest issue of Outdoor Photography magazine you can read an article I wrote for their Moment with Nature section. I chose a very powerful image from a rescue mission I was part of in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
In the June issue of N-Photo magazine, out now in all good newspaper shops and online there is a brand new feature called “On assignment”. Paul the editor asked me if I could be the first photographer to launch this and talk a little about my recent two week trip to Sumatra shadowing and living with the HOCRU ream from the Orangutan Information Centre. You can see this post on my blog by clicking here.
The work they do is amazing and it has been a privilege to work alongside this team since 2012 on my first trip with them on my “Spotlight Sumatra” 2 week trip. To see those blogs going back a few years now please click here. Below is the first rescue I did with this amazing team back in 2012.
It was a very tough 2 weeks back in February of this year, but very rewarding and I hope my images continue to gave those critically endangered Sumatran Orangutans a “voice” outside of their native home of Sumatra. At the same time show the world of the wonderful work these charities are doing on the ground.
Since my return from Sumatra, Paunt Hadisswoyo the founder of OIC- Orangutan Information Society has won the prestigious international nature conservation award & prize ” The Whitley Award. Which recognizes his tireless work to save these great apes and their forest homes at the same time educating the local people in saving their country and in return you save all those critically endangered animals that live there ie- Sumatran Tiger, Rhino, Elephant and Orangutan. Click here to see this amazing news.
Paunt is seen here being presented by the HRH The Princess Royal at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London and I couldn’t be happier for him and all the OIC team on the ground back in Sumatra they do an amazing job and often at their own risks, so well done all.
The magazine is available in many formats from online to a magazine format available in most papershops in the UK. I hope you enjoy this and it once more sheds light on whats happening there and also to those on the ground working tirelessly to save these great apes and their forest homes. I also go through a few tips and camera information on this assignment too. Thanks to Paul and the team at N-Photo for asking me many thanks.
Saturday, December 13th 2014, just another date in many ways, people going about their lives, shopping for Christmas. Many people today will visit their supermarkets, watching what they spend and getting the best deal for themselves and their families unaware of a ruling that comes into place on this day. That new law has taken years to come into effect and it finally bears wings and flies today.
Over 500 million consumers in Europe from today will become aware that palm oil is in their food they eat. Ingredients will have to be clearly labelled, saying exactly what it says on the tin with two clear winners. Sustainable palm oil and more importantly the wildlife that live in the places where palm oil is devastating their homes in the shape of their rainforests. Click here to see the EU law which comes into effect today.
One such place is Sumatra, a place I have visited several times now to be among an animal I find such beauty in, they have brought a smile to my face since childhood, the Orangutan. Being around them brings me such joy and comfort, it’s like being alongside a human being. Peaceful, caring, intelligent, beautiful are a few words that come to mind when I think of these great apes.
Until this day palm oil in our food was hidden, often labelled as vegetable oil misleading the consumers and the true origins of its beginning. Giving people informed choices to buy food items from today is a great result and a small step in the right direction to saving what’s left of the worlds rainforests and in turn some of the most endangered animals anywhere on the planet. Click here to see a very simple guide and what it means.
In 2011, SOS led a coalition of conservation groups, including Elephant Family, Orangutan Foundation, Save the Rhino, the Jane Goodall Institute, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and the Ape Alliance, in a joint campaign to tackle the problem.
Following their “Clear Labels, Not Forests “campaign, the EU adopted a new law which requires the labelling of specific vegetable oils, including palm oil, on food products throughout Europe. Companies were given three years to comply, and the new legislation comes into force today.
Mandatory labeling will support vital changes in the palm oil industry by allowing shoppers to make informed choices about what they buy. Responsible companies that make or sell products containing palm oil will want to reassure their customers that their products are not contributing to deforestation and loss of wildlife. Retailers and manufacturers now have the incentive to play their part in transforming the palm oil industry and breaking the link between palm oil and deforestation.
Its amazing news and one I wanted to share with the many followers of my blog, the best Christmas for those Orangutans that face a daily struggle to survive and live a peaceful life. I was there in March of this year working with another charity on the ground, shadowing the work of SOCP– Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme who have the only quarantine facility on the island.
I spent two days at that place in Medan the captal of Sumatra, this place is the very end of the line for those crucially endangered Sumatrta Orangutans that have been rescued and confiscated. At times what I saw I couldn’t really speak about or make senmse of, as I sat with baby Sumatran Orangutans looking at me, me looking at them. I cried, I sat and I cried and I really couldn’t understand why man was doing this and how we could inflict such cruelty on an animal that is us and we are them I like to say.
One of the shocking and direct consequences of poaching Orangutans is the death of the mother who is killed in the process of poaching the younger Orangutan. Shock for the baby is devastating and those that survive have a marked existence with so many crucial skills missing. Their lives of forests swapped for a life chained to a post or a cage that’s too small as they grow.
This situation is tolerated and considered normal in Sumatra and Borneo, keeping one of these guardians of the forest can elevate the social status of the person.When they are rescued the road back to the wild is hard without their mother, this makes their independent survival almost impossible. I witnessed many rescued Orangutans during my time in Sumatra. Most have forgotten the pain they went through and forgiven their jailers but just hearing their individual stories sent shivers down my spine and filled me with such sadness
This is my tribute to those Sumatran Orangutans, that are afforded the very highest protection in the world yet are killed every single day in Sumatra and the government does nothing.
I’m going back to Sumatra next year, shadowing the work of those teams once more, things are changing alittle and more interest and knowledge of the plight of those Orangutans and the other rare animals that live on Sumatra are becoming news which is good.
My aim as its always been from day one is to give those Sumatran Orangutans a voice through my work, and since my first visit in 2012 I have kept to that promise I made to those Orangutans I spent time with high in the tree tops. I will continue that promise for as long as I live simply because they are us and we are them and to let them go extinct on our watch would be truly shocking, many thanks.
Sumatra comes to London with a month long exhibition showing the wonderful wildlife this island has and what is happening there. Many of my images from that trip are being used for this exhibition which I’m very proud of. It’s called Spotlight Sumatra a name derived from my first trip there. The Spotlight Sumatra exhibition opened on May 1st and runs throughout the month of May 2014 at More London Riverside, SE1 2DB. The nearest station (tube and overground) is London Bridge. You can find out how to get there here.The exhibition site is next door to the Scoop on the map, which is right beside City Hall.
The exhibition is outdoor and free and you can visit any time of day or in the evening, when it is lit up.
To accompany this amazing exhibition the prestigious Wild Planet Magazine are running an article I wrote covering one of my visits there and also I have the front cover with one of my images called “Hope”. Some of my images are available to buy here with all proceeds going to SOS. I write about my trip in this article and t took me weeks to write and to read this go online here and download.
My words, my images, my thoughts put together for an article for the latest edition of Wild Planet Magazine covering my self-funded trip to Sumatra for SOS/OIC.
Small steps lead to big things, small doors open into large rooms two saying I was taught by my late mum growing up. Things are changing, interest is growing, people want to no more, and the Tigers, Orangutans, Rhinos, Elephants through the hard work by amazing people here, around the world and on Sumatra are giving those animals a voice. I hope all those involved come together, work together to save these animals and this island because what the alternative is doesn’t bear thinking about. Thank you to the editor Keith Wilson for your help and publishing this article you don’t know how hard it was to write not having the best take on writing.
Thank to you Ian Singleton Panut Hadisiswoyo who over the last two years I have had the pleasure of working with your teams in Sumatra and to the many, many people on Sumatra who are standing up against those massive companies that are intent on flattering Sumatra before anyone knows of its plight, often at their own risk as the Indonesian government are all about saving face and these guys on the ground continue to rattle that face and expose the corruption there to help these animals.
One of the many slideshows I did when I came back from Sumatra this one conveys my thoughts and honors those Sumatran Orangutans I left behind.
When you’re stopping rich companies making money things get dangerous, when you expose whats happening behind closed doors those with the most to hide become a threat. Knowledge, photography, fund rasing, court cases, world-wide exposure is bringing those companies to book and in time..small steps, and small doors are and do work.
Just over four weeks ago I was in Sumatra and not a moment has passed since that I haven’t thought of those Orangutans. Watching and photographing the amazing Bengal Tiger recently in India, hanging onto dear life just unlines just how many animals are in danger and suffering at the hands of man and by doing little things the big things happen. Time Out review here
I hope you take the time to read this article and enjoy it, and manage to visit this wonderful exhibition I’m proud to be part of and head up the lead image its great those Orangutans voices are being heard around the world and the fight goes on and will never stop until they are all safe, many thanks.
Sumatran Orangutans, –Pongo abelii, are critically endangered. Fewer than 7,000 are left in the wild, and they are threatened by the destruction of their forest habitat.
It’s always lovely to see your own work published but in this case it’s even more wonderful. I am proud as ever to see these Sumatran Orangutans I spent time with pride of place on the BBC Wildlife website. This coverage is helping these peaceful animals reach a wider worldwide audience and highlight their plight which was the whole aim of my 2 week trip to Sumatra.
A selection of my photographs have been chosen to form part of the online gallery of the highly prestigious and respected BBC Wildlife magazine; Discover Wildlife. It’s the second time now that my images have been chosen for the Discover Wildlife website. By clicking here you can view the first set of images I had published. With coverage in the January issue of BBC Wildlife magazine and now the online website it’s wonderful that the Sumatran Orangutans plight is being seen and viewed by a much wider audience.
Firstly, a very Happy New Year to all my friends, clients and those that follow my blog, thank you for your continued support and friendship, I hope 2013 is a good year for you all. To kick off the new year it gives me great pleasure to share that one of my Sumatran Orangutan images graces January’s issue of the much respected BBC Wildlife Magazine. The image has such a special meaning to me and it’s very fitting that it’s published in the 50th Birthday special too. I have copies of this magazine dating back to the early eighties.