By Kate Harrold
SHOCKING photographs highlight animal cruelty across the globe including boxing orangutans, a dog-drowning dungeon, and snake hunters.
In one image, a vendor stood next to a table full of baboon and hornbill heads at a voodoo market in Benin, West Africa. The seller held onto a dog head which had been painted to resemble a leopard.
In another, three orangutans were photographed wearing either a sundress or a bikini top and mini skirt as they were forced to perform a show for tourists at Safari World near Bangkok, Thailand.
Others showed a python with its mouth taped shut in Bali, Indonesia, to allow tourists to ‘safely’ take a photo with it and a dog penis bracelet held by human hands which is considered to be a good luck charm in Cambodia.
The photographs are taken from the new book Animosity: Human-Animal Conflict in the 21st Century by environmental photojournalist Aaron Gekoski and produced by G2 Publishing.
Originally from the UK, Aaron set off on his travels 13 years ago and has since visited some of the most remote corners of the Earth. From examining Mozambique’s shark fishing industry to documenting Cambodia’s dog-drowning dungeons, Animosity captures these human-animal conflicts that take place across the globe.
“It’s the role of a photojournalist to document and broadcast the truth,” Aaron said.
“Animosity is a selection of stories from the frontline of conservation; training as a wildlife ranger in Borneo; working undercover to expose Namibia’s annual seal cull; investigating the new craze for exotic pets and much more.
“These stories provide a snapshot of human-animal conflict in today’s ever-changing world where complex and multi-faceted issues often lead to more questions than answers.
“Would you fin a shark to support your family? Is killing and eating dogs any worse than chickens? Why does one animal make a suitable pet and not another?
“I look at these photographs as modern-day fossils – a permanent reminder of a planet in flux and a record of what may soon be lost forever.”
The reveal of such hard-hitting truths within Aaron’s photographs has led to positive change from the public – whether that’s people vowing to consume less palm oil or refraining from visiting zoos henceforth.
“Small victories add up and they keep me motivated within this very challenging career,” Aaron added.
“Animosity was created for the public, conservationists, government officials, scientists, photographers and anyone with an interest in the natural world.
“We’re amid a sixth mass extinction event – a self-inflicted environmental crisis. Globally, animals are being traded, hunted, poached, consumed, and exploited to the point of extinction.
“I hope this book plays a small role in educating others on some of the greatest threats facing wildlife. We all have a role to play in making the world a better place for animals, whether it is eating less meat, boycotting cruel wildlife tourism attractions, or not keeping exotic animals as pets.
“Animals are intelligent and sentient beings. They are loving and loyal, grieve the loss of loved ones, feel pain and suffer from depression.
“They are not commodities for us to exploit, eat and enjoy.”
Animosity: Human-Animal Conflict in the 21st Century by Aaron Gekoski is available from G2 Publishing for RRP £30.