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Conservation
Photography
Ramki Sreenivasan
Conservation India
Conservation Photography
• Understand
• Take
• Use
What is it?
What it is not
Not photography for photography’s sake
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
It is not about winning awards!
No likes!
Going beyond the pretty picture
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
So what is it?
Offshoot of nature photography but it is
born out of “purpose”
Photo: Aditya Panda
Conservation photography is photography
that empowers conservation
Photo: Vimal Raj
Everyone can be a conservation
photographer
Photo: Shashank Dalvi
Need to be sensitive to conservation
issues
Photo: Anon
Passion to bring about change through
your images
Photo: TRAFFIC-India
Don’t need fancy equipment Photo: Canon USA
What you can do starting today?
What you can do starting today?
• Document specific issues
• Clearly capture the "threat"
• Tell stories:
• Area specific
• Issue specific
• Give powerful factual captions
• Seek advice on actioning them – report / complain to forest dept,
local NGOs, media, make petitions, etc.
Conservation photography examples
• Habitat destruction or fragmentation — from tree-felling to a full-
blown hydroelectric project
• Any construction activity inside a protected area
• Any commercial activity in ecologically sensitive zones (ESZs)
• Tree-felling in protected areas and reserve forests
• Roads that have sprung up inside or near a protected area
• Road & railway kills
• Forest fires
Conservation photography examples
• Livestock (cattle / goats) inside protected areas
• Evidence of poaching / crime – snares, traps, killing, poachers,
etc.
• Wildlife kept as pets
• Tourism and its impacts
• Encroachments
• Man-animal conflict, human threats to wildlife, domestic dogs
• Plight of endangered animals
Examples
Big tourism projects destroy habitat and
block wildlife corridors
Photo: Akarsha BM / WildCat-C
Man-made linear intrusions have many
detrimental ecological effects
Photo: NCF
Images of habitat destruction in protected
areas is vital evidence for illegal activity
Photo: Shekar Dattatri
Coal mining in prime tiger habitat outside
Tadoba tiger reserve
Photo: Greenpeace
Sarus Cranes in the backdrop of massive
construction in Delhi — losing wetland habitat
everyday
Photo: Delhibird
Lakes suffer from poor protection across India and
is exploited for encroachment / development
Photo: Vishwatej Pawar
Windmills in grasslands and plateaus have
come up across India hindering flight paths of
birds
Photo: Aparna Watve
Including India’s rarest bird
Photo: Nirav Bhat
Destruction of grassland by ‘planting trees’ in Hesaraghatta.
This issue is now in the Karnataka High Court thanks to a
PIL
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
This illegal tree cutting operation was
documented by a birding group in Namdapha
Tiger Reserve
Photo: Bano Haralu
Road-widening projects through PAs
without clearances
Photo: Suresh G
Roads without proper clearances
constantly come up in PAs or ESZs
Photo: Anon
Roadkills are a serious conservation threat – a
pregnant blackbuck killed by a speeding vehicle in
Maharashtra
Photo: Adwait Keole
The danger of urban roads – here a dead leopard
killed by a speeding vehicle on NICE road,
Bangalore
Photo: Deccan Herald
An elephant calf mowed down in Bandipur.
Images like these were used to lobby for several
highway closures in Karnataka and other states
Image: Deccan Herald
A dead sambhar on an Odisha highway. Roads are
upgraded without need and the first victims are usually
wildlife
Photo: Bivash Pandav
Small animals die too like this Slender
Loris in the Western Ghats
Photo: NCF
Shy and elusive creatures are more often
seen in roadkills (and markets)
Photo: Dr. Pramod Patil
Railway tracks also pose a significant conservation
threat.
Photo: Giri Cavale
Every kind of animal have been killed on Indian
tracks.
Photo: Giri Cavale
Animals in human habitation – a fragile
“coexistence”
Photo: M. Ananda Kumar
Olive Ridley Turtles killed in fishing nets
Photo: Bivash Pandav
Village dogs and turtles – yet another threat
for nesting Olive Ridley Turtles in the Odisha
coast
Photo: Sumit Sen
The dangers of feral dogs range from competing with
wild predators to spreading deadly diseases
Photo: Vickey Chauhan
The dangers of feral dogs range from competing with
wild predators to spreading deadly diseases
Photo: Jayanth Sharma
A Wild dog with a plastic bottle demonstrates
littering by tourists – a serious fall-out of tourism
Photo: Mahesh Bhat
Critically endangered bustards hiding from
tourists in Nannaj, Maharashtra
Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee
Photo: Ponnambalam
Same story. Different location. Tourists
and wildlife guides on foot in Kaziranga
Photo: Leio D’Souza
Fragmentation affects endangered animals. This
LTM shows the plight of a once arboreal troupe
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
Agriculture is another significant threat to wildlife – in this
case to the endangered Wild Ass in the little Rann of
Kutch
Photo: Nirav Bhat
The endangered Lesser Florican displaying in
agricultural fields in Saunkhaliya grasslands,
Rajasthan
Photo: Gobind Sagar Bharadwaj
A stark contrast between protected and unprotected areas
in Bandipur Tiger Reserve separated by the park
boundary
Photo: Shekar Dattatri
Full-fledged farming Inside the heart of
Simlipal – one of India’s largest tiger
reserves
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
Pushed to the brink in human-dominated
landscapes – critically endangered Gharials on the
Chambal
Photo: Aditya Singh
Temples and religious festivities inside
PAs are big threats to wildlife
Photo: Suraj Kumaar
Human-tiger conflict – cattle-lifter tigers were
poisoned by villagers in retaliation in
Ranthambore.
Photo: Aditya Singh
The typical end to a ‘conflict’ leopard – tranquilized and
sent to a zoo or re-released to cause ‘conflict’
elsewhere
Photo: Vidya Athreya
More conflict – crop-raiding elephants in
the plains of Karnataka
Photo: Shankara
An electrocuted elephant is usually the result of
conflict and habitat fragmentation due to
plantations
Photo: WCS-India
An electrocuted elephant due to low
hanging powerline in Kaziranga.
Photo: Sanesh Kadur
Elephant taunting became a sport in Coimbatore
forests. This photographer created a campaign that
stopped it
Photo: Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan
This shocking cellphone image of a
frenzied mob setting a captured leopard on
fire
Photo: Belinda Wright
Large carnivores in human-dominated
landscapes
Photo: Dharmendra Khandal
A freshly killed Grey-sided Thrush shows
the sorry state of hunting in Nagaland
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
A shocking image of freshly skinned Amur Falcons in
Doyang, Nagaland. Lakhs were being hunted
annually
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
Image retrieved from an arrested poaching gang in Desert
National Park in Rajasthan showing freshly hunted
bustards
Photo: Rajasthan Forest Dept.
Sometimes multiple images tell a story better.
Here are images of bird trapping in Murlen,
Mizoram
Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
Birdwatchers helped nab waterfowl
poachers in Siruthavur near Chennai
Photo: Samyak Kaninde
Pelican poaching reported from Kanva
dam, Channapatna
Photo: Seshadri KS
Illegally captured parakeet chicks seized in Palamau
tiger reserve, Jharkhand. They were on the way to
markets
Image: Aditya Panda
This is the only record of a Blue Pitta in
India – taken in a market in Arunachal
Pradesh
Photo: Rita Banerji / Dusty Foot
A pet Slow Loris in Mokakchung, Nagaland. Most
villagers weren’t aware that keeping wildlife as pets was
illegal.
Photo: Nagaland Biodiversity Project
A captive giant squirrel in a coffee estate. The FD
was alerted and hopefully the squirrel is now free.
Photo: Amoghavarsha
This photographer helped bust a turtle and
terrapin trade in Raichur, Karnataka
Photo: Santosh Martin
Local markets are a source of illegal
bushmeat. Here a Loris is for sale for Rs.
500
Photo: Alka Vaidya
A Clouded Leopard Skin Hangs in a Naga
Kitchen
Photo: Sandesh Kadur
Cattle grazing in protected areas, Satkosia
Tiger Reserve, Odisha
Photo: Aditya Panda
The daily plight of forest personnel at the
frontline of conservation
Photo: Jayanth Sharma
Thanks!

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Conservation Photography -- Going Beyond the Pretty Picture

  • 5. Not photography for photography’s sake Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 6. It is not about winning awards!
  • 8. Going beyond the pretty picture Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 10. Offshoot of nature photography but it is born out of “purpose” Photo: Aditya Panda
  • 11. Conservation photography is photography that empowers conservation Photo: Vimal Raj
  • 12. Everyone can be a conservation photographer Photo: Shashank Dalvi
  • 13. Need to be sensitive to conservation issues Photo: Anon
  • 14. Passion to bring about change through your images Photo: TRAFFIC-India
  • 15. Don’t need fancy equipment Photo: Canon USA
  • 16. What you can do starting today?
  • 17. What you can do starting today? • Document specific issues • Clearly capture the "threat" • Tell stories: • Area specific • Issue specific • Give powerful factual captions • Seek advice on actioning them – report / complain to forest dept, local NGOs, media, make petitions, etc.
  • 18. Conservation photography examples • Habitat destruction or fragmentation — from tree-felling to a full- blown hydroelectric project • Any construction activity inside a protected area • Any commercial activity in ecologically sensitive zones (ESZs) • Tree-felling in protected areas and reserve forests • Roads that have sprung up inside or near a protected area • Road & railway kills • Forest fires
  • 19. Conservation photography examples • Livestock (cattle / goats) inside protected areas • Evidence of poaching / crime – snares, traps, killing, poachers, etc. • Wildlife kept as pets • Tourism and its impacts • Encroachments • Man-animal conflict, human threats to wildlife, domestic dogs • Plight of endangered animals
  • 21. Big tourism projects destroy habitat and block wildlife corridors Photo: Akarsha BM / WildCat-C
  • 22. Man-made linear intrusions have many detrimental ecological effects Photo: NCF
  • 23. Images of habitat destruction in protected areas is vital evidence for illegal activity Photo: Shekar Dattatri
  • 24. Coal mining in prime tiger habitat outside Tadoba tiger reserve Photo: Greenpeace
  • 25. Sarus Cranes in the backdrop of massive construction in Delhi — losing wetland habitat everyday Photo: Delhibird
  • 26. Lakes suffer from poor protection across India and is exploited for encroachment / development Photo: Vishwatej Pawar
  • 27. Windmills in grasslands and plateaus have come up across India hindering flight paths of birds Photo: Aparna Watve
  • 28. Including India’s rarest bird Photo: Nirav Bhat
  • 29. Destruction of grassland by ‘planting trees’ in Hesaraghatta. This issue is now in the Karnataka High Court thanks to a PIL Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 30. This illegal tree cutting operation was documented by a birding group in Namdapha Tiger Reserve Photo: Bano Haralu
  • 31. Road-widening projects through PAs without clearances Photo: Suresh G
  • 32. Roads without proper clearances constantly come up in PAs or ESZs Photo: Anon
  • 33. Roadkills are a serious conservation threat – a pregnant blackbuck killed by a speeding vehicle in Maharashtra Photo: Adwait Keole
  • 34. The danger of urban roads – here a dead leopard killed by a speeding vehicle on NICE road, Bangalore Photo: Deccan Herald
  • 35. An elephant calf mowed down in Bandipur. Images like these were used to lobby for several highway closures in Karnataka and other states Image: Deccan Herald
  • 36. A dead sambhar on an Odisha highway. Roads are upgraded without need and the first victims are usually wildlife Photo: Bivash Pandav
  • 37. Small animals die too like this Slender Loris in the Western Ghats Photo: NCF
  • 38. Shy and elusive creatures are more often seen in roadkills (and markets) Photo: Dr. Pramod Patil
  • 39. Railway tracks also pose a significant conservation threat. Photo: Giri Cavale
  • 40. Every kind of animal have been killed on Indian tracks. Photo: Giri Cavale
  • 41. Animals in human habitation – a fragile “coexistence” Photo: M. Ananda Kumar
  • 42. Olive Ridley Turtles killed in fishing nets Photo: Bivash Pandav
  • 43. Village dogs and turtles – yet another threat for nesting Olive Ridley Turtles in the Odisha coast Photo: Sumit Sen
  • 44. The dangers of feral dogs range from competing with wild predators to spreading deadly diseases Photo: Vickey Chauhan
  • 45. The dangers of feral dogs range from competing with wild predators to spreading deadly diseases Photo: Jayanth Sharma
  • 46. A Wild dog with a plastic bottle demonstrates littering by tourists – a serious fall-out of tourism Photo: Mahesh Bhat
  • 47. Critically endangered bustards hiding from tourists in Nannaj, Maharashtra Photo: Dhritiman Mukherjee
  • 49. Same story. Different location. Tourists and wildlife guides on foot in Kaziranga Photo: Leio D’Souza
  • 50. Fragmentation affects endangered animals. This LTM shows the plight of a once arboreal troupe Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 51. Agriculture is another significant threat to wildlife – in this case to the endangered Wild Ass in the little Rann of Kutch Photo: Nirav Bhat
  • 52. The endangered Lesser Florican displaying in agricultural fields in Saunkhaliya grasslands, Rajasthan Photo: Gobind Sagar Bharadwaj
  • 53. A stark contrast between protected and unprotected areas in Bandipur Tiger Reserve separated by the park boundary Photo: Shekar Dattatri
  • 54. Full-fledged farming Inside the heart of Simlipal – one of India’s largest tiger reserves Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 55. Pushed to the brink in human-dominated landscapes – critically endangered Gharials on the Chambal Photo: Aditya Singh
  • 56. Temples and religious festivities inside PAs are big threats to wildlife Photo: Suraj Kumaar
  • 57. Human-tiger conflict – cattle-lifter tigers were poisoned by villagers in retaliation in Ranthambore. Photo: Aditya Singh
  • 58. The typical end to a ‘conflict’ leopard – tranquilized and sent to a zoo or re-released to cause ‘conflict’ elsewhere Photo: Vidya Athreya
  • 59. More conflict – crop-raiding elephants in the plains of Karnataka Photo: Shankara
  • 60. An electrocuted elephant is usually the result of conflict and habitat fragmentation due to plantations Photo: WCS-India
  • 61. An electrocuted elephant due to low hanging powerline in Kaziranga. Photo: Sanesh Kadur
  • 62. Elephant taunting became a sport in Coimbatore forests. This photographer created a campaign that stopped it Photo: Sreedhar Vijayakrishnan
  • 63. This shocking cellphone image of a frenzied mob setting a captured leopard on fire Photo: Belinda Wright
  • 64. Large carnivores in human-dominated landscapes Photo: Dharmendra Khandal
  • 65. A freshly killed Grey-sided Thrush shows the sorry state of hunting in Nagaland Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 66. A shocking image of freshly skinned Amur Falcons in Doyang, Nagaland. Lakhs were being hunted annually Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 67. Image retrieved from an arrested poaching gang in Desert National Park in Rajasthan showing freshly hunted bustards Photo: Rajasthan Forest Dept.
  • 68. Sometimes multiple images tell a story better. Here are images of bird trapping in Murlen, Mizoram Photo: Ramki Sreenivasan
  • 69. Birdwatchers helped nab waterfowl poachers in Siruthavur near Chennai Photo: Samyak Kaninde
  • 70. Pelican poaching reported from Kanva dam, Channapatna Photo: Seshadri KS
  • 71. Illegally captured parakeet chicks seized in Palamau tiger reserve, Jharkhand. They were on the way to markets Image: Aditya Panda
  • 72. This is the only record of a Blue Pitta in India – taken in a market in Arunachal Pradesh Photo: Rita Banerji / Dusty Foot
  • 73. A pet Slow Loris in Mokakchung, Nagaland. Most villagers weren’t aware that keeping wildlife as pets was illegal. Photo: Nagaland Biodiversity Project
  • 74. A captive giant squirrel in a coffee estate. The FD was alerted and hopefully the squirrel is now free. Photo: Amoghavarsha
  • 75. This photographer helped bust a turtle and terrapin trade in Raichur, Karnataka Photo: Santosh Martin
  • 76. Local markets are a source of illegal bushmeat. Here a Loris is for sale for Rs. 500 Photo: Alka Vaidya
  • 77. A Clouded Leopard Skin Hangs in a Naga Kitchen Photo: Sandesh Kadur
  • 78. Cattle grazing in protected areas, Satkosia Tiger Reserve, Odisha Photo: Aditya Panda
  • 79. The daily plight of forest personnel at the frontline of conservation Photo: Jayanth Sharma