MAVERICK LIFE

SA photographer Brent Stirton’s chilling series: ‘Pangolins in Crisis’

By Brent Stirton 13 June 2020

HARARE, ZIMBABWE, 24 JUNE 2018: A Temminck’s Pangolin learns to forage again after being rescued from traffickers on the Zimbabwe/South Africa border. Pangolin caregivers at this anonymous farm care for rescued, illegally trafficked pangolins, helping them to find ants and termites to eat and keeping them safe from predators and poachers. This is one of only three true Pangolin rescue and rehabilitation sites in the world. Pangolins are the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals, with an estimated one million being trafficked to Asia in the last ten year. Their scales are used in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine and their meat is sold as a high-priced delicacy. As a result, pangolins are listed as critically endangered and all trade or consumption is illegal. The Tiki Hywood trust undertakes public awareness campaigns on Pangolins, trains law enforcement and judiciary personnel, conducts research, and rehabilitates pangolins that have been confiscated from the illegal trade. They are based in Zimbabwe but operate with partners across Africa and Asia.

On 9 June, the World Photography Organisation announced the overall winners in the prestigious Sony World Photography Awards 2020. The winner for this year’s “Natural world & wildlife” category is South African Brent Stirton for his series ‘Pangolins in Crisis’.

“Pangolins are the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals, with an estimated one million trafficked to Asia in the last ten years. Their scales are used in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine, and their meat is sold as a high-priced delicacy. As a result, pangolins are listed as critically endangered and anyone who trades or consumes them is breaking the law. This body of work exposes the trade, while exploring aspects of illegality and celebrating the people who are trying to save these animals. There are only three true Pangolin rescue and rehabilitation sites in the world, they are extremely fragile animals and the vast majority die quickly in captivity.”

© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards

© Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
HARARE, ZIMBABWE: Pangolin caregivers at an anonymous farm care for rescued, illegally trafficked pangolins, helping them to find ants and termites to eat and keeping them safe from predators and poachers. In this image, the pangolin repeatedly wraps herself around the leg of her caregiver in a gesture of affection. The caregiver is looking for ants for her. The caregivers say the pangolin is intelligent and plays games with them regularly once they feel safe. This is one of only three true Pangolin rescue and rehabilitation sites in the world. Pangolins are the world’s most illegally trafficked mammals, with an estimated one million being trafficked to Asia in the last ten year. Their scales are used in traditional Chinese and Vietnamese medicine and their meat is sold as a high-priced delicacy. As a result, pangolins are listed as critically endangered and all trade or consumption is illegal. The Tiki Hywood trust undertakes public awareness campaigns on Pangolins, trains law enforcement and judiciary personnel, conducts research, and rehabilitates pangolins that have been confiscated from the illegal trade. They are based in Zimbabwe but operate with partners across Africa and Asia. © Brent Stirton, South Africa, Category Winner, Professional competition, Natural World & Wildlife, 2020 Sony World Photography Awards
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