Nature Photographer of the Year-contest likes to do things differently. That’s why every year Nature Photographer of the Year (NPOTY) donates a significant amount to nature conservation projects all around the world. During the festive Online Award Ceremony in 2020, NPOTY surprised Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ (PAWC) with a donation.
Capture and protect beauty
“As nature lovers, we would love to give something back to nature”, says NPOTY founder Lesley de Beer. Nature brings us so much fun, relaxation and inspiration with all her beautiful flora and fauna. But our nature and planet are also under threat because of the decline in biodiversity, overexploitation of natural resources, plastic waste, and climate change. Our rainforests are being destroyed, the ice caps are melting and many animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. Lesley de Beer: “We want to protect Mother Earth who needs our help so much. Therefore, we donate every year a percentage of the entrance fee to nature conservation and nature protection projects all over the world.”
Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™
Last year NPOTY supported Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ (PAWC). In my previous photoblog about PAWC you can read more about their project. But, in short, PAWC is an (sadly enough) ongoing project with many international nature photographers who work together to help stop poaching and raise awareness about the illegal wildlife trade. The committed photographers are protecting and conserving nature with their photos. Personally, I am really interested in conserving nature and conservation through photography. Hopefully, writing photo blogs about these critical issues will help to create more awareness.
“Every penny counts in this project”
Photographer: © Aaron Gekoski / Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™
In December we organized the NPOTY-award ceremony. Not only did we announce the winner, but also the amount of the proceeds of the contest. Lesley was excited to present a cheque of 1000 euro to the PAWC founders Britta Jaschinski and Keith Wilson. Keith: “This is very generous and unexpected. It’s a great measure of support and we are very grateful for that.” Britta: “Obviously it was quite a tough year, exhibitions and talks, lots of things were cancelled. Every penny counts in this project so this is really fantastic news.” Everybody who entered the contest in 2020 made this possible. And because NPOTY thinks it is such an important project, we decided to support PAWC also in 2021! After last year’s online event we’re hoping for a physical event in 2021, where we can better highlight the importance and impact of the great work PAWC is doing.
“Next year we want to host various talks and exhibitions,
and continue informing the general public”
Launch of the book in China
Lesley asked Keith Wilson and Britta Jaschinski what their plans for 2021 are. Britta: ”Although there was a lockdown and many cancelations, we worked and achieved a lot in 2020. For example, PAWC has cooperated with publishers in China and produced a new edition of the book in Chinese. It’s important for the Chinese people to understand the consequences of the wildlife trade. With Covid it was very important to launch the book in China. Unfortunately, we couldn’t attend the launch because we weren’t allowed to travel… What we really want to do in 2021 is catching up, and possibly go to various places to host the talks and exhibitions. Continue informing the general public, especially the public in China.”
“Due to Covid, the whole world gets attention to wildlife trade”
Chinese newspapers are helping
Lesley de Beer said he was surprised when he read about the great results PAWC booked in China. Chinese newspapers are for example helping to get the story told. Britta Jaschinksi: “We are also really amazed. Three years ago, when we got this idea, we never thought we could achieve what we have achieved so far.” I still can remember Britta’s impressive talk during the Nature Talks Photo Festival in 2017. A talk where people even walked away in tears, because they felt it so fierce. This also marked the launch of their project and Nature Talks helped by giving PAWC a stage.
Getting back to normal?
Keith Wilson: ”To get to this point – in less than three years – is beyond our expectations. It was our dream and we are fulfilling this dream: bringing an end to the wildlife trade. China is the biggest market and yet the hardest to crack. So the message must be heard in China. These issues need to rise up the political agenda worldwide. Covid makes our book more relevant and purposeful. Due to Covid, the wildlife trade gained the attention of the whole world.”
“It’s a lot cheaper to turn off the bulldozers and a lot more effective
than talking about testing and vaccines”
Avoiding next pandemic
“We are working together to avoid the next pandemic. There is so much focus on talking about testing and vaccines, about ‘getting back to normal’. But they don’t see the point that this is more than likely going to happen again. Desecrating the forest, disturbing and consuming wildlife, that’s the cause. Unfortunately, there is no global body yet – like the UN, EU or WHO – who is seriously talking about bringing wildlife crime to an end and stopping the destruction of the forest environment. As long as we continue to disturb the wild places where most of these species live, there will still be a big risk of another pandemic. Pick it up at the source and bring the wildlife trade to an end. It’s a lot cheaper to turn off the bulldozers and a lot more effective”, says Keith.
Do you also want to support Conservation Projects?
The work has definitely not ended for PAWC and they’ll work even harder than last year. Of course, PAWC needs money to do their terrific job and to stand out from the crowd. So they can continue to inform the (general) public by launching books, hosting talks and organizing exhibitions. So when you enter our contest you automatically support the Nature Talks foundation (Stichting Nature Talks) and thus Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™. The Nature Talks foundation is a non profit organisation and contributes to various conservation projects. By doing this we give something back to the nature we love so much.
Below you can watch the announcement of the amount of the proceeds of the contest to the PAWC founders Keith Wilson and Britta Jaschinski.