Brent Stirton (@brentstirton)
I was totally privileged to spend time with the world’s best #pangolin care-give
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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
16.02.2019 19:05:45
It’s amazing to think that in this age where your phone does everything but make
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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
10.02.2019 17:47:25
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Here’s some good news in the #conservation sector - #Virunga is reopening for to
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
07.02.2019 19:21:00
I posted something recently on the Chambri #Tribe in Papua New Guinea who ritual
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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
04.02.2019 18:14:01
I met these Navajo dancers at a multi-tribe #powwow. They represent four generat
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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
31.01.2019 16:44:16
For me there is no feeling like coming home via somewhere beautiful and having #
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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
27.01.2019 18:15:49
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This beautiful #lake is lovely only because the community came together to fight
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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
25.01.2019 15:50:00
This image is from an essay on #circumcision I shot around the King’s hunting gr
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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
19.01.2019 20:20:26
I've had the pleasure of driving across Mongolia a couple of times, always in a
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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
12.01.2019 18:20:49
I was fortunate to see Lion #Dancers from the #Sakuma tribe perform the story of
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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
09.01.2019 20:21:04
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The Democratic Republic of Congo: As this new year dawns, I’m wishing all those
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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
01.01.2019 16:33:53
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MIDDLE SEPIK, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: In my work I often see things that are the res
⠀ MIDDLE SEPIK, PAPUA NEW GUINEA: In my work I often see things that are the result of #ceremony that I wish I could have witnessed first hand. This is one of them. The #Chambri tribes are Middle Sepik river dwellers from #PapuaNewGuinea; they have a challenging #tradition that is a ritual rite of passage for young men where their bodies are #scarred to look like crocodiles. In recent years, young women also take part in this #ritual. The people of this #tribe believe that men evolved from crocodiles so they hold this ritual to honor their ancestors - the crocodile. They believe that crocodiles turned into men and lived on the #Sepik River and that’s how men came to exist in this remote area. The initiates are taken to a spirit house where elders use bamboo slivers to cut into their skin, hundreds of cuts down the length of the back. During this time, they are held down without any pain relief. Once the cuts are done, they lie close to a fire, smoke is blown over the the scars and then clay and tree oil are applied to make the skin raised and appear scale-like when it heals. Once the initiates emerge from the ceremony, the #crocodile#spirit now dwells within them. #scarredbody#tribalritual#scarification#sepiktribes
27.12.2018 20:31:33
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