Reading Time: 4 MINUTES
Adam Bannister had the recent privilege of hosting wildlife photographer Margot Raggett and shares the story behind her incredible charity book series Remembering Wildlife
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall
There is never a dull moment at Angama Mara and recently we were delighted to welcome wildlife photographer Margot Raggett. While she was here, the founder of the acclaimed Remembering Wildlife charity book series explained to me what had motivated her to start the project.
“I was in Laikipia in Northern Kenya in late 2014 when we were woken up in camp by the sound of hyenas going crazy. At first light we went to investigate and found a young bull elephant that had died from a poisoned arrow. The poachers hadn’t kept up with him though, so his tusks were still intact and hyenas had started to eat the body. I was so horrified and impotent with rage that I felt I had to do “something”.
So I started to ask wildlife photographers I knew like Federico Veronesi (one of the judges of the “Greatest Maasai Mara” competition) and Jonathan & Angela Scott if they would consider donating images for a book on elephants to raise funds for conservation. Every single photographer I asked said yes and Remembering Elephants was born. Our ambition was to make the most beautiful photographic book on a species ever seen and then use that to raise both awareness of the plight it faces and also funds to protect it. Over 60 of the world’s top wildlife photographers donated images.
We crowd-funded the book through Kickstarter and that year we hit our initial £20,000 target (which would have allowed us to print 1000 copies) in just 12 hours and at that point I realised we had a winning formula on our hands. That first book launched in September 2016 at London’s Royal Geographical Society and one of the other judges of the “Greatest Maasai Mara” competition, Art Wolfe, generously agreed to fly into London and be our keynote speaker.
We raised £135,000 for conservation projects with Remembering Elephants and then I knew I had the potential for a series on my hands. I have since produced Remembering Rhinos and Remembering Great Apes, following the same format and across all three books, we’ve now raised close to £450,000. That money has been distributed so far across 15 projects in 13 countries and has funded everything from anti-poaching planes and sniffer dogs to community projects and rebuilding schools.
The question I get asked most often is what book will be coming next and the challenge to choose is so great, as so much of our wildlife is in trouble. I’m just glad I’ve found a way to raise funds, spread awareness and produce something beautiful that any wildlife lover would be delighted to own. It is all thanks to the wildlife photographic community who have rallied around the idea and I’m eternally grateful to them.”
Note from the Editor: You can read more about the Remembering Wildlife series and order copies of the books (with all profits going to conservation projects aimed at protecting the species featured) by going to www.rememberingwildlife.com. There you can also subscribe to hear the latest news from the project including what will be coming next. Angama Mara now stocks copies of the Remembering Wildlife Series in our Safari Shop. All the images in this story were taken by Margot Raggett while staying at Angama.
TAGGED WITH: Conservation, Maasai Mara, Photography, remembering wildlife, Wildlife, Wildlife Photography