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Wildlife photographer captures rhino suffering to win award


Wildlife photographer of the year winner Brent Stirton says he visited over 30 rhino poaching scenes before he could a find dead carcass that portrayed the rhino’s suffering in the last hours of life.

Stirling said the black rhino bull had fallen to its knees from a high calibre bullet wound and the arterial spray showed it was still alive while its horn was hacked off.

“People should understand that rhinos often suffer greatly in this situation. Very few die straight away, most are alive but helpless when the poachers come upon them and a great many of them die after their horns have been removed.”

Stirling was trying to create an image that showed the complete humiliation of a magnificent animal, a bull rhino stripped without mercy of its rhino-hood while on its knees.

“When you see the rhino in this way, you see the blood factor, the supplication on its knees, it’s the complete humbling of the species. There’s no way any animal should be looking like this. It’s the opposite of how it’s supposed to be.”

Over 1000 rhinos are being poached every year in South Africa to supply a market for rhino horn in Vietnam and China.

Stirling wants audiences to imagine the rhino’s perspective.

“Imagine rhinos were thinking sentient creatures that had a sense of what was happening to them as a rhino civilisation.”

“I am often driving for 10 hours across the country just to get to the perfect animal… It’s hard to be in the right place at the right time to get a picture which has the sufficient emotional content.”

“My job is to really add reliable information to the dialogue. My job is to put out a visual essay that speaks to the various themes and lets people make up their own mind.”

A 2016 study showed that half of the wealthy Vietnamese businessmen living in middle class suburbs of Hanoi and HCMC that were surveyed had used rhino horn.

“There is a very strongly established group of people who has been pushing this product as a medical product for a very long time, but given the value of it in the face of new Asian wealth I think it is very heavily controlled by a criminal element.”

“All that’s really happening is you’re making a certain sector of your society wealthy and it’s a sector of our society that doesn’t give a damn about you.”

Stirton says the Vietnamese Government needs to do more to stop the trade.

“The guys at the top are not saying to their people ‘Listen guys we did this for a long time but it’s time to wise up. Despite the fact we have these very strongly held cultural beliefs the fact is you’re spending your money, you’re going into debt.’”

To see more of Brent Stirton’s photos, visit

Balanced researched article on a film that is pro-legalising rhino horn trade

In 1900 there were 500,000 rhinos in the world. Today there are less than 30,000. This shocking statistic opens the controversial new documentary ‘Trophy‘ — and if there’s one thing that audiences can agree on, it’s that this represents a crisis for the species. I imagine this divisive film, which serves primarily to promote the […]

via Trophy ‘shockumentary’: Does it really compare to Blackfish? — Kate on Conservation




Balinese relationship with nature


Bali gods. More temples than houses


At a warong in Changgu, a young woman with striking tattoos walked past. I asked her if I could take a photo. She said she was travelling. Thankyou Lina goodluck on your journey.

Evidence of ivory trade in Hong Kong

Farewell photos of the Gatwick boarding house boarded up and sold in St Kilda on Fitzroy Street

The mad grooves of people’s lives are missing from these photos. Where are they? The photos of the empty windows and locked doors seem to ask. Apart from the lone former resident of the Gatwick poised and sentimental on the footpath. A New Yorker, happy to be photographed, who said The Gatwick and the two women who ran it saved his life when he came from New York. The main character of the photos is The Gatwick itself, hurriedly dressed in new clothes for the final scene. Wallpaper glue, evicted scrawlings and photocopied feelings from the faceless and chaotically dispersed. On the front door behind the new security grill the landladies give the finger to the forces of gentrification that are pulling threadbare rugs from under soft feet of men and women banks don’t finance. Not a word of poison, just heart in hard copy. Though they are as anonymous as FB you can touch it. Smell the breath, the bristles, the butts, the socks of the not so down and out who loved The Gatwick. The romance and the glory of The Gatwick. The Hilton of the wanted and the unwanted. All photos copyright of Mic Smith.

“No Surrender” at La Mama by Mic Smith. Opening night


“No Surrender” is a tale of a triple poaching attack in South Africa: the personal story of Roger the Rhino. Based on a real event and fictionalised, it was written by me and performed with me as Roger the Rhino and my old “cobba” Denis McArdle (Deno) in two roles as the poacher and Robert Ingersal, the head ranger on Francis Bacon Game Reserve. From first concepts, it was a bit of a journey getting to opening night but with plenty of “chookas” and “break a legs” it “went alright on the night”. Here are some photos of opening night featuring many friends and VIPs, for as is the case with all my shows I knew nearly everyone in the audience. Dedicated to animalitarians and humanitarians, the wild and the managed wild. Vale Sam Shepard (died July 27, what a dude). Happy birthday La MamaTheatre – 50 years you beauty!


Chlamydia Koala recovers thanks to Currumbin Wildlife Hospital and Wildcare

koalaCurrumbin Wildlife Hospital and Wildcare will be releasing a young female koala on Thursday 3rd August, the hospital says in a media release

“Tsuki” was rescued three months ago suffering from koala chlamydia, she has made a full recovery and has grown from just 2 kg to 3.5 kg.

With the busy season approaching, Wildcare are calling out for any people that are interested in caring for sick and injured wildlife in their homes.  People interested in becoming a wildlife carer should apply online at

Currumbin Wildlife Hospital also needs more volunteers to assist in the wildlife hospital, people interested in volunteering should go to the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation website