As awesome as wildlife camera traps can be, the images they snap can (understandably) quite often look like grainy CCTV footage, especially if the pictures are taken at night. However, this newly-released project from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and photographer Will Burrard-Lucas is the wildlife photography equivalent of a high-fashion photoshoot.
With stunning clarity, Burrard-Lucas captured the images using five high-quality DSLR cameras hooked up to motion sensors. The appropriate positions for the camera traps were scouted out by the WWF’s Lise Hanssen, who has been studying carnivores and wildlife populations in the region for some years.
The documented area is called the Caprivi Strip, or Zambezi Region, of Namibia. This thin stretch of Namibian land pokes out for 450 kilometers (280 miles) like a tail on the country’s north-east corner, with Botswana to the south and Angola and Zambia to the north. This precarious position has made the strip a source of conflict throughout its colonial and postcolonial past, right up until the late-nineties.
The fog of war has had seventeen years to clear, yet the area’s rich and diverse wildlife continues to take a backseat in the eyes of lawmakers and entrepreneurs. At the moment, there are proposals to plonk a 100-kilometer squared (38-mile squared) tobacco plantation across the strip. According to the WWF, Hanssen hopes these images can capture the public’s attention and inspire conservation efforts, on top of serving as a research tool.
In a statement to WWF, she explained, “People may not understand the importance of this little corner of the world yet… Here, we are sitting with wildlife and people living together all around. Animals here are a shared resource, so we need to share our efforts to protect them.
“Now that we know what’s here, we know what there is to lose. Documenting the wealth of wildlife makes a strong argument for protecting it, and backing up that data with Will’s powerful photos might just win the day.”
If you want to know about the photographic techniques used to capture these amazing images, check out this short video with Will Burrard-Lucas on YouTube.