Posts tagged
with conservation


Expressive Portraits Emerge from Pieces of Cardboard in Josh Gluckstein’s Wildlife Sculptures

March 15, 2023

Kate Mothes

All images © Josh Gluckstein, shared with permission

Since childhood, London-based artist Josh Gluckstein has been fascinated by the incredible diversity of our planet’s wildlife and inspired to make sculptures of animals from found materials. He often uses discarded or recycled materials like clothing from thrift shops or wood from old furniture, and an important aspect of his practice is concern for the environment. “I have travelled through Asia, Latin America, and East Africa, and have been fortunate enough to have some incredible wildlife encounters,” he says. “However, on my travels, even in the most remote locations, I was shocked by the huge amounts of plastic waste.”

Much of the garbage that washes up on shorelines around the world is due to an unregulated system in which richer countries export waste to developing countries because it is often cheaper than developing better infrastructures to handle it. Many of the thousands of shipping containers exported each year are often dumped illegally. Gluckstein shares:

I remember going to the Galapagos Islands and visiting a beach famous for a large population of sea lions. It was indeed incredible to see them in the wild, but on every inch of sand not covered by sea lions, there were plastic bottles and cans. It was a heartbreaking sight. I knew I wanted to create artwork that didn’t create waste and harm our planet.

Gluckstein fashions life-like portraits of elephants, primates, pangolins, and big cats out of cardboard by tearing, cutting, and gluing pieces together into expressive visages, sometimes applying thin washes of paint for added depth and detail. He often works on multiple sculptures at a time, and a piece can take between a week or several months to complete depending on the scale or amount of detail. “In lockdown, at home and out of my studio, I was very keen to get to work, but didn’t have the access to the materials I would usually use,” he says. “That’s when I discovered cardboard, which was readily available, and I found it to be an incredibly versatile medium.”

A new series called Gold focuses on trafficked animals by applying gold leaf to their bodies, highlighting the reasons they are poached. The pangolin, for example, is critically endangered because it’s illegally hunted primarily for its meat and unique scales. Gluckstein plans to show these works next month at Woolff Gallery in London, with a portion of sales donated to the WWF. Follow updates on Instagram, and see more of the artist’s work on his website.







Vital Impacts Launches a Winter Print Sale with Photos from Jane Goodall, David Doubilet, and Beth Moon to Raise Money for Conservation

November 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a fox

Konsta Punkka, “Intensity.” All images © the artists, courtesy of Vital Impacts, shared with permission

Within its first year, the woman-led nonprofit Vital Impacts raised $1,500,000 for conservation and humanitarian efforts through print sales from dozens of lauded photographers. The organization, which is led by Ami Vitale and Eileen Mignoni, just announced its latest initiative that features 145 stunning images and composites capturing the stunning breadth of the natural world. Included in this collection are hand-signed portraits from Jane Goodall and works from multiple artists previously featured on Colossal, including the dramatic and intimate glimpses of foxes captured by Konsta Punkka, David Doubilet’s underwater vistas, Beth Moon’s famous documentation of ancient Baobab trees, and Mitch Dobrowner’s sinister storms.

Sixty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Jane Goodall Institute’s Roots and Shoots and Vital Impacts’ own grants and initiatives. Shop the collection on the Vital Impacts site.


A composite photo of gorillas in the wild

Jim Naughten, “Gorillas”

A black and white photo of lions

Anup Shah, “Morani and Friend”

A photo of chimpanzees and two people

Vanne Goodall, “Jane and Hugo with the F-Family of Chimpanzees”

A photo of a baby owl

Javier Aznar, “Athene Noctua”

A photo of lighting striking above water occupied by cranes

Randy Olson, “Sandhill Crane Migration”

An underwater photo of a whale tail

Shawn Heinrichs, “Whale Tail”

A photo of a snow covered landscape

Francisco Javier Munuera Gonzalez, “Mount Adi”




More Than 100 Photographers Are Raising Funds to Protect 30 Million Hectares of African Parks

September 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

Scott Ramsay, Mbeli Bai, Nouabale-Ndoki National Park, Republic of Congo, western lowland gorilla. All images courtesy of Prints for Wildlife, shared with permission

African Parks, a nonprofit focused on conservation and protecting endangered species, is behind several efforts to address the loss of biodiversity across the continent, and its latest initiative is to preserve 30 million hectares of parkland by 2030. Prints for Wildlife is supporting the effort through its annual fundraiser, which sells limited-edition works from more than 100 photographers around the globe. This year’s collection includes a diverse array of animals and environments, including multiple vulnerable or engaged species like the western lowland gorilla and polar bear.

Now in its third year, Prints for Wildlife has raised $1.75 million since it launched in 2020, and 100 percent of proceeds benefit African Parks. Shop the sale through September 25. (via Feature Shoot)


Pie Aerts, Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya, Masai giraffe

Marsel van Oosten, Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia, African elephant

Marco Gaiotti, Spitsbergen, Norway, polar bear

James Lewin, Amboseli National Park, Kenya, Masai giraffe

Gurcharan Roopra, Lake Magadi, Kenya, flamingos

Chris Schmid, Serengeti, Tanzania, cheetah

Beverly Joubert, Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana, plains zebra



Photography Science

Billions of Fireflies Light Up an Indian Wildlife Reserve in Rare Footage Captured by Sriram Murali

May 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

In many parts of the world, a warm summer evening sets the stage for a familiar sight: the lightning bug. Through a phenomenon called bioluminescence, these winged beetles generate chemical reactions in a part of their abdomen known as the lantern to produce flickers of light. Of more than 2,000 species found throughout the world, only a handful coordinate their flashes into patterns and are known as synchronous fireflies. Filmmaker Sriram Murali captured a rare gathering of billions of these insects at the Anamalai Tiger Reserve in western Tamil Nadu, India.

Through a combination of moving image and time-lapse photography, Murali recorded countless specimens amidst the trees as they produce glowing pulses, which relay across the forest in expansive, wave-like signals. The color, brightness, and length of the light emitted is specific to each species, and as a part of the insects’ mating display, it helps males and females to recognize one another. Darkness is a necessary ingredient in the success of this ritual.

For the past ten years, Murali has been working to raise awareness of light pollution through a series of documentaries. Focusing on the reserve and its nighttime fauna, he hopes to highlight the significant role that darkness plays in the natural world. He has been collaborating with scientists and forest officials at the wildlife reserve as part of a project spearheaded by Deputy Director M.G. Ganesan to study the ecology of the park and identify the different species of firefly present there.

You can find more of Murali’s films on Vimeo and on his website and also follow his updates on Instagram. (via Petapixel)




Documentary Science

A Conservationist Teaches Geese to Use Safer Migration Routes by Flying With Them Across Europe

May 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Back in 1995, Christian Moullec embarked on his first migration alongside a flock of lesser white-fronted geese that he intended to introduce to Sweden. He flew an adapted delta plane alongside the birds, which were threatened after being overhunted, and protect them on their journey. This initial mission quickly morphed into a now decades-long project of training avian populations to utilize more secure paths as they travel across Europe, ensuring that the already dwindled species would survive the trek and be able to reproduce.

English YouTuber and educator Tom Scott (previously) joins Moullec on one of the flights above Southern France as they glide in a microlight aircraft just inches from the animals—Scott is so close that he’s able to touch goose’s tail feathers. Reaching this level of intimacy takes dedication and immersion in the flock, Moullec shares, saying that he raises the birds, sleeps with them, and even bathes in the pond on his property. This establishes trust and is essential as they define their routes, which sometimes traverse thousands of kilometers each day. “I’m not the one who teaches the birds to fly with me,” Moullec shares. “I’ve been flying with birds for 27 years, and they taught me how to fly with them.”

In addition to his conservation-oriented flights, Moullec offers passenger trips for those interested in joining the flock, and you can find more about his work on his site. (via The Kids Should See This)





Over 100 Young Crocodiles Find Refuge on Their Father’s Back in India’s Chambal River

May 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Dhritiman Mukherjee, shared with permission

The gharial, a large crocodile with a distinctive bulge on its snout, is critically endangered in the wild, with researchers counting only a few hundred individuals in 2017. Living primarily in the rivers of Nepal and India, the scaly reptiles saw a rapid decline since the 1930s due to overfishing and loss of habitats from sand mining and dams, and biologists estimate the population has dwindled to only two percent. Thanks to the National Chambal Sanctuary, though, which is home to a substantial group of gharial, the species is growing.

Photographer and conservationist Dhritiman Mukherjee visited the enclave southeast of New Dehli a few years ago where he captured striking images of a father swimming through the murky river with more than 100 young clinging to his back. Measuring 16 to 17 feet long, the male likely was carrying the offspring from 7 to 8 female gharials, which lay anywhere from 20 to 95 eggs each year. “Some breeding programs [and rerelease in the wild] have taken place in the Chambal. So, that’s why I selected the subject so that it gets attention from policymakers or concerned people,” Mukherjee told PetaPixel.

The Kolkata-based photographer often travels to document wildlife around the world and is headed back to the sanctuary this month. You can stay up-to-date with his work on his site and Instagram.