Wildlife photographers join forces to raise funds for African nature conservation

Following the success of 2020’s Prints for Wildlife, the ambitious initiative is back this summer for a second edition. Here’s the lowdown on some of the amazing photographs that are up for grabs.

One of the many and lesser-known consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been its disastrous impact on conservation efforts, including those in Africa’s wildlife areas. In response to this, 120 renowned international wildlife photographers came together last year to raise vital funds for one of the continent’s most pioneering conservation organisations: African Parks. In just 30 days, they sold more than 6,500 wildlife prints and raised US$660,200.

This year Prints for Wildlife, founded by photographers Pie Aerts and Marion Payr, is even bigger. More than 170 wildlife photographers are taking part, with the ambitious target of raising one million dollars for African Parks’ conservation work.

‘The key to conservation is putting people at the heart of the solution,’ says Pie Aerts. ‘This is done through community programs supporting health, education, job security and sustainable livelihoods. African Parks, and their community-first approach to conservation, is ensuring that the protected areas under their management are safe places where wildlife andpeople can flourish. And in safe places, magical things can happen. Therefore, choosing African Parks as our partner for this campaign was a no-brainer.’

The summer sale, which runs until 11 August, will follow the same format as last year, with each photographer donating one fine art print to be sold for US$100 (approx. £74) through the online shop: printsforwildlife.org. Alongside some of the most respected wildlife photographers in the world – such as Steve Winter, Beverly Joubert, Marsel van Oosten, Greg du Toit, Konsta Punkka, David Lloyd, Clement Kiragu and Will Burrard-Lucas – the sale also features emerging talent from developing nations, with a focus on promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in the wildlife photography industry.

Behind the lens

We asked three of the featured photographers to share the story behind their picture.

© Marcus Westberg

Marcus Westberg: ‘I took this photo almost exactly 10 years ago. I spent most of 2011 conducting a research project in the Maasai Mara, and photography was just a hobby at the time. Then, as now, I was instinctively drawn to scenes that conveyed positive emotions that I thought might pull at people’s heartstrings, making them more likely to care about what they were seeing. It’s why I still tend to focus on tenderness rather than brutality in my photography, as much as both are equally prevalent in the natural – and human – world.

‘I think it is impossible to capture the essence of a scene without forming a genuine connection with one’s subject, and that’s a step in the right direction as far as I’m concerned; the way the world seems to be headed, we can certainly use more compassion and a greater willingness to listen and understand perspectives that are different from our own.’

© Marina Cano

Marina Cano: ‘This picture was taken in the Serengeti National Park in April 2021. It was a hot and beautiful sunny day, and by late afternoon clouds started to cover the sky. Soon, an epic drama unfolded above our heads. Then a male cheetah came into view. After getting into a position where we could include the spectacular sky in the background, it was then a case of waiting for the cheetah to stand on top of the mound. This photograph is made with two horizontal pictures to create the panoramic image.’

© Joshua Galicki

Joshua Galicki: ‘I initially expected these brown bears to hunt in a solitary fashion and to stay away from each other along the shoreline (the salmon run was in full swing in Lake Clark, Alaska). To my surprise there were two younger bears chasing each other and playing together a short distance away. This gave me the opportunity to take many images of the engagement, with this particular frame standing out. 

‘I was grateful that both bears were in shallow water, as the splashing added exponentially to the scene.  I converted the frame to black & white as it appeared more aesthetically pleasing. I hope viewers will immediately feel the impact of the action and display of energy between these two individuals.’