Film Director and Photojournalist James Morgan is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. These images are from his project ‘Inside The War On Wildlife Crime‘. To see James’ body of work click on any image.
Aurelie Kumbe and Tuburse Mouyamba take me to see an elephant carcass they found outside their village in the Gamba district of Gabon. The tusks are long gone, but bones as large as these are not easily buried. Gamba, Gabon.
Wildlife crime not only threatens nature’s most iconic species, but exacerbates poverty and corruption, funding an entire spectrum of international crime.
In Mekobe village a man rolls the skin of a water cobra. The meat of the snake will be eaten and the skin preserved to hang on his wall.
A large haul of bush meat laid out next to a police post outside Oyem. For generations rural Gabonese communities have survived sustainably from bushmeat. But poaching for commercial resale has created an unsustainable demand on large numbers of species.
Customs officials in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport uncover a shipment of African elephant tusks from Mozambique. Suvarnabhumi has always been a hub for illicit trafficking, mostly in narcotics, but the recent explosion of demand for animal products has added elephant tusks to the list of contraband. Bangkok, Thailand.
Sudanese Janjaweed militiamen, believed to be responsible for the massacre of hundreds of elephants earlier this year, are on the move again in Central Africa. Intelligence sources indicate that they are intent on shooting more elephants, profiting from wildlife crime to fund their terrorist activities.
Juvenile elephants, orphaned by poaching, return to shelter for the night. David Sheldrick Elephant Orhpanage, Nairobi, Kenya.
Governments like Gabon are becoming increasingly alarmed by the threat posed by wildlife trafficking to national security. Rebel groups, drug syndicates and even terrorist networks have seen an opportunity to profit from a low risk, high reward criminal enterprise.
To safeguard its remaining elephants, Gabon President Ali Bongo has quadrupled the number of park rangers in the country. Bongo also presided over the burning of $10 million of illegal ivory seized from poachers, to ensure that none leaked back into the illegal trade.
Central Africa is in the midst of an elephant poaching crisis. In order to combat the problem, the president of Gabon has recruited a whole new section of the army devoted to fighting back against wildlife crime. Here, Mba Ndong Marius holds seized Ivory tusks in front of a pile of confiscated weapons. Menkebe, Gabon.
On 27th July, Gabon’s president, Ali Bongo Ondimba, ordered the country’s entire stockpile of Ivory, about 10 million dollars worth to be burnt, symbolizing Gabon’s anti-poaching stance and determination to combat the illegal trade. Libreville, Gabon.
On the other end of the trade, the final products are nearly unrecognizable. Jewelry and amulets made from ivory are sold in up-scale, air conditioned Thai boutiques whilst other animal parts are used in traditional medicines.
East Africa Swaminarayan Satsang Temple in Nairobi has committed a proportion of the money it raises in donations to fight wildlife crime. Nairobi, Kenya