International League of Conservation photographers RAVE in Bioko, West Africa.

Four renowned conservation photographers have brought back a disturbing yet hopeful portrait of the biodiversity, threats and efforts to conserve the small West African island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea. Despite having a significant system of protected areas, the small West African nation has been unable to stave off the relentless hunting of wildlife, and especially primates, for human consumption, which is leading to the demise of some species.

The photographers are members of the ILCP, an organization that includes some of the most acclaimed photographers of our generation and whose mission is to further environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography. RAVE, a trademarked initiative of the ILCP that stands for Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition, aims to address the challenges of modern conservation, which often demands an immediate supply of images, words and research to answer threats of imminent disruption to focus the attention from international media.

National Geographic Magazine will publish the amazing collection of images produced during this 18-day RAVE in their August 2008 issue. The article will emphasize the efforts by the government to curb the island’s dramatic loss of biodiversity, including their recent ban on primate hunting and their partnership with Conservation International to build a conservation infrastructure.

Each of the photographers focused on a different aspect of the story in order to maximize the limited time available to photograph on the island.
Photographer Joel Sartore documented the bushmeat markets and produced a series of emotional and disturbing images of primates and other wildlife being sold for food. Tim Laman focused on the forest canopy, capturing amazing shots of 6 of the 7 endemic primate species in Bioko, while Christian Ziegler focused hi efforts on camera trapping and the forest floor. Some of his images captured species seldom photographed before. Young Ian Nichols, the son of famed photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols and a member of the ILCP Emerging League, covered the forest edge and the fringe forests along the beach.

“ Photography is a witness to history and the RAVE is the tool that allows us to provide our joint testimony in the court of public opinion. As photojournalists, we are the bearers of that witness. Our hope with this Bioko RAVE is not to judge or criticize, but to capture simple moments eloquently and to translate them visually so that universal human experience is recorded for future generations to see and judge for themselves...one image at a time.” – Cristina Mittermeier, Executive Director of ILCP

ILCP website: ilcp.com
Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program website: bioko.org
Conservation International Website: conservation.org/FMG/Articles/Pages/bioko_primates_RAVE_summary.aspx
National Geographic: ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/08/bioko-primates/morell-text

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