For over ten years, photographers Patrick Brown and Benjamin Davies have made it an imperative precedence to document the trafficking of endangered animals in Asia. According to Brown, all he is doing is recording what is happening through his photographs, and if he can give a voice to them, then he is achieving his objective as not only an individual, but a photographer, too.
In their exploration of the illegal trading, the men have significantly learned about all the players that make up the industry, ranging from dealers to poachers to trafficking routes and markets. Although the practice of animal trafficking, essentially, has been practiced for centuries in Asia, the criminal actions of poachers and dealers contribute to the deaths of millions of innocent animals. While most animals are killed and their appendages sold for financial betterment, quite vigorously at that, the foundation of the ancient actions lies deeper within fallacious myths and cultural superstitions.
According to Brown, a poacher who kills a rhinoceros, for example, and removes its horn is rewarded with $350. As that same exact horn travels to Hong Kong, the worth increases dramatically to an astonishing $95,600 per kilogram. As far as medical research goes, rhinoceros horns serve no medical use, yet it is widely believed that health and strength can be derived from them immediately. Because of this, there exists an overwhelming desire for these kinds of animal appendages, so much so that their value has risen considerably, leaving gold on the black market out in the dust by being priced five times more than the amount of gold.
With an underground industry that is worth more than hundreds of millions of dollars, Brown sincerely hopes that future generations could be educated on the matter at hand to specifically curb the violent killing of animals. Brown and Davies do not consider themselves animal activists per se, but consider themselves photographers that work to expose a subculture of society via the documentation of what exactly happens to animals on a daily basis to prevent it.
In the video below, Brown discusses his background in documenting the evils that he has come to know quite well through his and Davies’ project entitled Trading to Extinction, which is set be released later this year from Emphas.is, a crowd-funding site that has made their work’s publication possible.
Via: CNN | Image Credit: Patrick Brown and Benjamin Davies