Wild Shots Outreach student wins international
environmental photography competition!
Wild Shots Outreach student Kgaugelo Neville Ngomane has won The Young Environmental Photographer of the Year Award in the international CIWEM (Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management) photography competition! His powerful image of a rhino dehorning, ‘Desperate Measures’ was picked from more than 4,000 international entries by the judges who commended its storytelling and photographic merit. The judges said, “When his photo flashed up on the screen, there was a sharp intake of breath around the judging room; it’s such a powerful image.”
On learning that he’d won, Neville said “Winning this competition means a lot, because I love photography. But I don't just want to win, I want to make a difference. It is not easy to watch such an iconic animal being dehorned. I hope this picture will make a lot of people see what we have to do to save our rhinos and it will make them support conservation”.
Neville, aged 19 and currently unemployed, is a graduate of Wild Shots Outreach. This Hoedspruit-based NPO’s aim is to engage young people from disadvantaged communities in wildlife and wild places through photography. The program prioritizes high school students from government schools and unemployed young people bordering the Greater Kruger Park, South Africa. Despite living right next door to a National Park, 99% of these young people have never had access to their natural heritage and have never seen Africa’s iconic wildlife. Wild Shots Outreach teaches new skills, providing a “focus” and introduction to the natural world and helps inspire and raise the aspirations of these learners – the conservationists of tomorrow. Wild Shots won South Africa’s prestigious SANParks Kudu Award for “Environmental education and capacity building” in 2017.
Wild Shots Outreach founder and director, Mike Kendrick says “This award is a fantastic accolade for Neville, for Wild Shots Outreach, for the communities and all the young people I work with. Can we hope that images like Neville’s will capture the imaginations of communities like his, which border the Greater Kruger Park? And can photos like this bring people a better understanding of the drastic measures being used to conserve the iconic wildlife which we hold so precious? The young people I work with have developed pride in their images, pride in their stories, pride in themselves and pride in their natural heritage – a natural heritage which has previously been hard for them to access.”
Mike would like to express his gratitude to Rhino Revolution, a rhino conservation charity who had the foresight and vision to invite Wild Shots Outreach students to attend and document the dehorning of their wild rhino on a private reserve outside Hoedspruit, in Limpopo. Although no doubt a traumatic experience for the rhino, dehorning is like cutting one’s fingernails and the horn will grow back. Desperate times call for desperate measures and dehorning is a last-ditch attempt to deter the poaching of rhinos.
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