Tag Archives: conservation

Stop the horror

Dear all,

Today marks World Rhino Day and I am amongst the first ones to agree that the horror has to stop. The injustice being done to these animals is just sickening (I talked about this in an earlier post).  As photographers, amateurs and professionals alike, we can do our bit in trying to stop the horror and the slaughter of these beautiful animals. Over the last few months I have developed quite a strong opinion on this though, being that photographers and conservationists have to STOP SHOWING THE HORROR to actually make it stop. Let me explain this. It is a known fact that in situations of genocide, because of being confronted with extreme violence, people get used to this violence and both perpetrators and victims start accepting it, up to the point where the victims start accepting they actually have to die.

I strongly believe that a similar thing happens in the mind of the general public when being continuously confronted with rhino horror shots. Because of this confrontation people actually start to think about the rhino as an animal, lying dead on the ground, bading in a pool of blood, with the horn cut off and a calf to its side, … I know it happens, we all do, yet keeping on showing the horror will not make a difference, on the contrary! The perpetrators don’t care anyway and the general public gets tired of these shots while slowly, slowly getting used to the species being extinct as early as 2025 (which could be the case if poaching goes on at today’s pace).

So, if we want to make a difference, we have to stop showing the horror and show more of the beauty of this animal and the environment it lives in, this way bringing people on board by showing them what they are fighting for. While doing this, we have to keep on telling the truth and spreading awareness about the plight of the rhino, … by doing so, I believe we can bring more people on board in the fight against poaching and ultimately be of more use to those beautiful animals out there.

Canon 7D, Canon 300 mm f/4 L IS USM, 1/640, f/5.0, ISO 800

In case you are with me on this one, then please spread this message as widely as possible!

Warm regards and talk to you soon,



The plight of the rhino

Dear all,

The plight of rhino’s worldwide has been worrying me for some time now. And this week was just another sad week, with the western black rhino officially declared extinct.

The demand for rhino horn and the consequent rhino poaching, gets press all-over. And it is never good press.

In Europe, people who make models for musea are being approached (and offered up to 5000 Euro) to gather information regarding the location of real horns. Rhino horns are being stolen from public and private collections, yet worse of all, here in Kenya, poaching (of both rhino and elephant) has gone up again since the arrival of the Chinese. They come here for road construction, yet some of them seem to have lucrative yet very unfortunate side businesses (China and Vietnam are 2 of the main markets for rhino horn powder). You can safely call this a flipside of ‘development’. And although the poachers are cruel (Save the Rhino last week shared some images of a life animal which horn had been cut, just the thought of it still enrages me), it is the people who use and buy the horn powder that are the real culprits. For a big 4 kg horn, merchants can touch up to 200 000 Euro. These same merchants would pay a poacher around 1000 USD for the same horn. In a country where the majority of the people has to survive on less than 1 USD per day, this is serious money and a quick win.

And all that for absolutely nothing, since the horns, being made from the same substance as your finger nails don’t have any medicinal value at all. It’s a sad story for a beautiful animal which future is uncertain, due to the pressure on their environment and due to the strong myths regarding the medicinal value of rhino horn powder.

Canon 350D, Canon 75-300 @ 150mm, 1/500, f/11, ISO 200

Let us do what we can to prevent a sad future. Let it not come to a point where their horns have to be removed on a yearly basis (they grow quite fast) to save them. I try do my part here by raising some tiny awareness, and there are great initiatives out there that do a lot more and which can use your support. Save the Rhino is one of them and The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is another one (more about them in one of my future posts).

Canon 7D, Canon 300mm f/4 L IS USM, 1/60, f/5.6, ISO 320, handheld

As you can read, these matters get me going, yet for now I’ll leave it at this. Ending with a backlit picture, taken on the way out of Nairobi National Parc, a few weeks ago. The lesson learnt on this one is twofold: 1. do not be afraid to shoot into the sun and 2. keep your camera at hand, even when you think about calling it a day.

All the best and c-ya,


PS: as you can see at the top right corner of this page, I’ve added a facebook and twitter link for those of you who want to follow the developments on this site. Please feel free to like (specifically related to Pics from the Wild) and/or follow (my personal twitter, about wildlife and beyond, things that keep me busy, frustrate me, make me happy, …) and to share this with friends whom you feel might also be interested in this.