Globally, animals are being traded, hunted, poached, consumed and exploited to the point of extinction. This is their story, as told through the lens and eyes of Aaron Gekoski, an internationally acclaimed environmental photojournalist, who documents human-animal conflict in the most inhospitable places on Earth.
ANIMOSITY is a collection of powerful photographs and absorbing tales from the frontline of conservation: from Cambodia’s dog-drowning dungeons and West Africa’s voodoo markets, to cruel Wildlife Tourism Attractions and the shadowy world of the exotic pet trade.
Conflict, conservation, and the battle to coexist: ANIMOSITY is the story of our generation, our legacy.
Aaron Gekoski is an environmental photojournalist, filmmaker and presenter. He has spent the past decade documenting mankind’s complex relationship with wildlife. He has won numerous awards for his work, including categories at the coveted Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Nature Photographer of the Year, and Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, and his images have appeared in hundreds of publications including National Geographic, BBC Discover Wildlife, GEO, Men’s Wealth, The Guardian, Asian Geographic, The Independent, and The Telegraph.
- Having sold his modelling agency months earlier, Aaron witnesses the decimation of shark populations in Mozambique and takes us on his journey to produce Shiver, a documentary which changed public perceptions of sharks.
- We head deep into the dark heart of the Wildlife Tourism industry, and learn about the murky underworld of animal entertainment: from travelling circuses to elephant rides and animal performances.
- In Tokyo, Aaron spotlights the growing craze of ‘otter cafes’ and visits pet otter owners in Japan and Indonesia, highlighting the unsuitability of otters as pets.
- Taking us to Cambodia, we investigate the underbelly of the dog meat trade, where rabid dogs are drowned in horror-story ‘drowning pits’ in order to satiate the growing appetite for dog meat.
- On Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, we go undercover to expose the country’s annual seal cull, where thousands of cubs are clubbed to death. Whilst the Namibian government sees the cull as necessary to preserve fish stocks and create employment, animal rights activists see it as an act of barbarism.
- Investigating the python pet trade, Aaron travels from exotic pet expos in the US to snake temples in Benin to create the documentary ‘Suffering in Silence’.
- In the waters off the Indonesian coast, we learn whether the tourism industry-centred around the feeding of whale sharks – is a conservation success or an example of exploitation.
- Aaron explores the relationship that owners have with their pet dogs in a township on the Western Cape of South Africa. Few job opportunities and high rates of unemployment means that both the people and their pets face daily hardships.
- Visiting the people of Togo, Benin and Ghana in West Africa, we explore the impact that voodoo is having on West Africa’s wildlife populations – a practice where animals are slaughtered to become sacred objects.
- Aaron spotlights the plight of orangutans who are poached from the wild to become performers in attractions across Asia; males are forced into boxing rings whilst the females are dressed in provocative clothing and perform sexualised dances.
- Taking us on a journey across the oceans, we highlight marine conservation issues: from the changing fishing methods of the Bajau ‘sea gypsy’ tribe in Borneo to the inadequate treatment of turtles in conservation centres in Bali.
- Back in the Bornean jungle, Aaron has a taste of life on the frontline of conservation, joining the Wildlife Rescue Unit to go on relentless and dangerous animal rescues and relocations.
- We investigate the newest problem facing tortoises in Madagascar. After years of drought and the destruction of habitats, tortoises are now being traded as pets, leaving the charismatic reptiles on the brink of extinction.
With forewords by Captain Paul Watson, co-founder of Greenpeace and founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and afterwords from a broad range of supporters including Born Free foundation, Dive magazine, World Animal Protection, FOUR PAWS, Scubazoo, PETA, BOS Foundation, International Animal Rescue and actresses Shannon Elizabeth and Amy Jackson.
Priced at £40, the 166p luxury hardback is available from mid-November and can be pre-ordered via www.g2books.co.uk