Dec 17

Here at ARKive, we are in a truly unique position in that we get to work with the world’s very best wildlife and environmental filmmakers and photographers. At this year’s Wildphotos we had the chance to catch up with a few of our most famous and respected ARKive media donors to learn what inspires them to do what they do and discover the stories behind their awe-inspiring images.

Last time we heard from esteemed photographers Tui De Roy and Patricio Robles Gil. Now discover what (or who) inspired three more of the world’s best wildlife photographers to pick up a camera and start taking photographs of the natural world.

Charlie Hamilton James

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

“I’ve been obsessed with kingfishers since I was a kid. I took up photography as a way of channelling that obsession. I then became very passionate about all forms of image making becoming a cameraman and photographer. Ultimately though it was the idea of spending a life watching animals in incredible places that inspired me.”

See all of Charlie Hamilton James’s images on ARKive.

Mark Hamblin

Tawny owl (Strix aluco) photo

Tawny owl (Strix aluco)

“My passion for wildlife began 35 years ago, when, aged 11 I started birdwatching with my father around our home in Warwickshire. I have been captivated by wildlife and wild places ever since. I first began photographing as a way of recording some of the species I was seeing but this quickly became my main interest after being enthralled by the more intimate experience of watching birds, and later other wildlife, at such close quarters from photographic hides.”

See all of Mark Hamblin’s images on ARKive.

Laurie Campbell

Common otter (Lutra lutra)

Common otter (Lutra lutra)

“Having been fascinated by the natural world from a very young age, it wasn’t until my early teens that I first picked up a camera to document what I had taken the trouble to see whilst out exploring the countryside close to home. This was primarily to share with my family and friends. The thought of making a career out of it came later, but I was very determined.”

See all of Laurie Campbell’s images displayed on ARKive.

Dec 5

Here at ARKive, we are in a truly unique position in that we get to work with the world’s very best wildlife and environmental filmmakers and photographers. At this year’s Wildphotos we had the chance to catch up with a few of our most famous and respected ARKive media donors to learn what inspires them to do what they do and discover the stories behind their awe-inspiring images.

Wildlife photographs can take months of planning and extraordinary amounts of patience in order to capture the perfect instant on film. Often working in hostile environments with unpredictable subjects, being a wildlife photographer is no easy life.

Discover what (or who) inspired some of the world’s best wildlife photographers to pick up a camera and start taking photographs of the natural world.

Tui De Roy

Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis) photo

Galapagos hawk (Buteo galapagoensis)

“Growing up in the Galapagos Islands I was surrounded by fascinating wild animals on a daily basis, many of whom were literally my closest friends. My father was also a keen naturalist and very interested in photography, so by the time I was 12-13 I was borrowing his camera regularly to record animal behaviour that I observed. I sold cured goat skins to save up for an SLR, and when I was 18 had my first article (text and photos) published in Pacific Discovery, the magazine of the California Academy of Sciences, and a cover feature in Audubon magazine the following year.  After that, there was no looking back for me.  Photography became my way of seeing and my way of living, and remains every bit as gratifying today as it was when I saw my first black-and-white images emerge from the processing bath nearly half a century ago. My spiritual home will always be in the wildest of wild places, and my mission to give a voice through imagery to the plight of the world’s multitude of threatened species.”

See all of Tui de Roys images on ARKive.

Patricio Robles Gil

Moose (Alces americanus)

Moose (Alces americanus)

“I’m addicted to wild animal encounters, those precious moments are what keeps me alive in this planet. There is something deep inside that push me to share those experiences, for that purpose the camera helps a great deal.

The camera is a tool that helps me bring home glimpses of wild encounters sow I can share and touch audiences to care for those pristine worlds.”

See over 150 photographs taken by Patricio Robles Gil on ARKive.

Next time: learn who or what inspired photographers Mark Hamblin, Charlie Hamilton James and Laurie Campbell to pick up the camera.

Jul 25
© Neloy Bandyopadhyay

© Neloy Bandyopadhyay

Last year, ARKive ran a blog about the devastating effects of the cattle drug diclofenac on vulture populations in India. The Indian vulture, slender-billed vulture and Asian white-backed vulture have all suffered dramatic population crashes of between 97 and 99.9% as a result of ingesting the drug and are all now classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Neloy Bandyopadhyay, one of ARKive’s media donors, decided something had to be done to raise awareness of the plight of these important birds and the effects the drug is having on their populations, and so he made a film called ‘The Last Hope’.  Here he tells us a bit more about himself and his increasingly important work.

Q: We thought your film was very inspiring and informative. Can you tell us more about what you do and why you decided to make a film about this conservation issue?

By trade I am an Information Security Consultant, but I am also a naturalist, wildlife photographer and filmmaker. I try to use my films and photographs as instruments to raise interest and awareness, and encourage the conservation of nature and wildlife, which are at the mercy of civilisation. I was the director, editor and cameraman for my film ‘The Last Hope’, a documentary on the Asian vulture crisis, which has gained nationwide interest since its release.

The idea of a short film on Asian vultures came to me while I was taking some still images of the Indian vulture. I wanted to broadcast a message about the importance of vultures in ecosystems, and decided a short film would be a more effective way to communicate the message to an audience than some still photographs. It was a self-funded film and I tried to portray the importance of these scavenging birds and highlight the effort required to save them with very limited funds and infrastructure.

Neloy's photograph depicts the Egyptian vulture, a species that is also threatened by the effects of diclofenac in India

Neloy's photograph depicts the Egyptian vulture, a species that is also threatened by the effects of diclofenac in India

Q: Can you tell us more about the film?

‘The Last Hope’ is a short film about the relentless struggle of vulture conservationists in India and the subcontinent. Conservationists are fighting a tough battle to save this great scavenger bird from the brink of extinction. The film was made to raise awareness of the importance of vultures in nature and the effects that the cattle drug diclofenac has on vulture populations.

Over the last few decades, Asian vultures have faced a catastrophic decline in numbers. Five species of Gyps vulture have experienced more than a 90% decline in numbers, which is one of the fastest recorded declines in the animal kingdom. When this was noticed by scientists, it was almost too late and the birds were on the edge of extinction.

It was the Bombay Natural History Society who first observed the decline of the Gyps vultures. More research revealed that the veterinary drug diclofenac, which was used on injured or diseased cattle for pain relief before death, was the reason for the vulture population’s decline. The vultures would feed on the cattle carcasses and ingest the drug, which poisoned them.

The situation was alarming; however, scientists around the world didn’t waste any time in attempting to save the species. The government of India and, later, the governments of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh also provided support by banning the killer drug in 2006.

My film showcases the battle being fought by scientists, conservationists and governments to save these fantastic birds. It is a message to the public to inform them of the important role that vultures play within ecosystems, and that diclofenac needs to be completely phased out, as it is still illegally sold in some pharmacies.



Q: Why do you think ARKive is important?

I think that awareness is the key to conservation. ARKive is one of the best organisations working towards educating people about conservation issues. With a large audience from all over the world, ARKive is a fantastic platform for showcasing endangered species and promoting conservation, and it has been doing it successfully for years. 

The issue of the Asian vulture crisis is still unknown to many in the world. However, I hope that more people will come to know about the killer side of diclofenac through reading this blog on ARKive and watching my film.

Find out more about Neloy’s work on his website.

May 21

Here at ARKive, we love a conservation success story, and we were delighted when ARKive media donor Dr. Milada Řeháková-Petrů got in touch to share with us the latest news on the Tarsius Project – a research and conservation organisation centred around the Philippine tarsier.

For those of you unfamiliar with this extraordinary looking animal, the Philippine tarsier is a nocturnal primate endemic to the Philippines. It is perhaps most notable for its enormous eyes (tarsiers have the biggest eyes relative to their body weight of any mammal), and its ability to rotate its head nearly 360°. Philippine tarsiers are agile acrobats of the forest, making vertical leaps from tree to tree with ease, spending their days sleeping amongst dense vegetation and setting out to hunt for their insect prey as the sun goes down.

Philippine tarsier photo

Sadly, as a result of its cute, pixie like appearance, Milada explained that the Philippine tarsier is a common victim of the illegal pet trade, and that it is also often kept as a tourist attraction in very poor conditions. After conducting a survey of all the captive tarsier facilities on the main tourist route on Bohol Island, Milada tells us that the results were shocking. Kept in cramped conditions, many of the tarsiers were sick and dying, and being a nocturnal creature on display during the day, all were permanently stressed.

Philippine tarsier photo

Even more worryingly, when the captive tarsiers died, their numbers were being replenished by individuals captured from the wild, and the growing demand saw tarsiers slowly disappearing from neighbouring forests. Fortunately Milada and her team were able to document what was occurring, and highlighted the tarsier’s plight by presenting their results to the Minister of the Environment Ramon Paje, the Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Demetrio Ignacio,Bohol governor Edgar Chatto, DENR officials and other authorities.

Milada Řeháková

Fortunately, the authorities recognized the seriousness of the whole situation and it was decided that all the tarsiers from the facilities along the main tourist road would be transferred to more suitable conditions. Recently, a new naturally planted enclosure was opened in Loboc to provide the tarsiers with more space, and a less stressful environment. Most importantly, this step will hopefully decrease the demand for tarsiers poached from the wild.

Philippine tarsier photo

You can find information about the Tarsius Project and the work that Milada and her team do by checking out the Tarsius Project website, and the recent video documentary they have created.

Make sure to take a look at ARKive’s Philippine tarsier photos and videos too, many kindly provided by Milada and the Tarsius Project.

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Apr 12

When biologist and photographer Alexandr Pospech got in touch with ARKive to offer some rare primate images we were understandably excited. During June 2011, Alex explained that he had participated in an expedition and study led by Brent Loken of Ethical Expeditions in the Wehea forest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia. In order to monitor the local wildlife, the team set up camera traps around a newly discovered mineral spring or ‘sepan’, and when checking the images three weeks later they turned up some surprising results.

Miller's grizzled langur photo

Dr. Stanislav Lhota confirmed that the team had recorded images of Miller’s grizzled langur, an Endangered subspecies of Hose’s langur. Miller’s grizzled langur is extremely rare and was previously listed as one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates – at one time some people even feared that it may have become extinct. The team’s discovery not only confirmed that a population of Miller’s grizzled langurs remains, it also provided evidence that the subspecies’ range extends further than previously thought.

Miller's grizzled langur photo

With the help of his assistant Yatim, Alexandr visited the place several times during following week and was able to build hides in which he spent 3 days in order to observe and photograph the langurs, producing the first ever high quality images of this rare subspecies, which he has kindly contributed to ARKive.

Miller's grizzled langur photo

Alexandr told us “I put a lot of energy into my photos with the goal of helping nature conservation. The days spent on photographing these langurs were extremely exhausting. When I came back late in the evening, took care of all the photo equipment and prepared for the next day, there were only about 3 hours left to sleep before setting up to the forest again. When I first saw the langurs in the viewfinder, I knew the effort was worth it. But the task of protecting wildlife all over the World has just started. And everyone can help.”

Make sure you check out Alexandr’s images on ARKive, and read more about his work on his website. You can also read the article produced by the team, which was published earlier this year in the American Journal of Primatology.

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher


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