Alice Thornton-Smith
Alice Thornton-Smith

Sustainability Communications Specialist

Desperate Measures: Photo capturing drastic wildlife conservation in action wins Young Environmental Photographer of the Year

Last week millions of people joined Greta Thunberg and young people across the globe in what was the largest environmental strike in history. This momentous event was initiated by students concerned about the future of the planet, calling out the consequences of inertia and urging both governments and society to take immediate action.

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how our inactions can affect the planet and the future generations, but photography has the incredible power to help people visualise and better understand the problems facing our world. “Desperate Measures” is a photograph taken by 19-year old Kgaugelo ‘Neville’ Ngomane, participant of our Young People Programme (YPP) in South Africa and Wild Shots Outreach (WSO) wildlife conservation initiative.

Rhino dehorning CIWEM award winning photo.
Desperate Measures: The poaching threats posed to rhinos calls for desperate measures. Rhino dehorning is never anyone’s first option, but providing strong enough security measures to protect the vast areas where rhino’s roam is often cost prohibitive, leaving dehorning as one of the only means of deflecting poachers and saving rhino populations. Photography: Kgaugelo Neville Ngomane ©Wild Shots Outreach

Capturing the drastic actions taken by professional conservationists to reduce the poaching threats posed to rhinos, I am thrilled, and so is Canon, that Neville has won CIWEM’s Young Environmental Photographer of the Year. The photograph was picked from more than 4,000 international entries by the judges who commended it for its storytelling and photographic merit. The judges said: “When his photo flashed up on screen, there was a sharp intake of breath around the judging room; it’s such a powerful image.”

The YPP & WSO wildlife conservation initiative teaches photography to unemployed young people and students from communities bordering the Kruger National Park. Very few of them have had the opportunity to visit the park before, nor have they seen any of their wilder neighbours. The project gives them the skills and tools to experience and develop a connection with their heritage and voice issues affecting their future through the medium of photography. More importantly, it allows them to take these stories back to their community and help them understand the importance and value of wildlife conservation.

We’re delighted that a YPP student has gone on to win a global award from thousands of entries – it’s incredible to see young people take a stand and speak out – and we look forward to seeing more successes from our programmes in the future.



Young people at the heart of community activism in West Cumbria