I've spent the last 20 years of my life traveling around the world in my spare time. I'm now off to my 32nd, 33rd and 34th countries on my 6th continent. As I've traveled, I've noticed something -- the special places, landmarks and creatures we love are under ever increasing threat. So in a semi-professional way, I'm setting out to do something about it. As my sister and I travel around Uganda, Kenya and Madagascar in the coming weeks, our trip will be distinguished for it's focus on wildlife. With intention (and permits), we're hiking into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest of Uganda to visit with some of the last remaining 900 mountain gorillas on earth. In Kenya, while of course on safari, we're also taking time out to visit a giraffe conservation facility and an elephant orphanage that cares for baby elephants who have lost their moms to poaching. In Madagascar, home to 800 orchid species and some of the most unique biodiversity anywhere on the planet, we will be meeting with a non governmental organization focused on protecting lemurs and planting trees. You see, in just Madagascar alone 50% of the natural habitat for primates has been wiped out since 2007. That's not a typo -- 50%!
So how can this trip help? Firstly, responsible tourism helps. And that's what we're doing. By visiting these places, paying small business owners, local governments and tour guides, we're reinforcing an income stream for the native people that helps compete with income from international agriculture, mineral and mining firms that endanger these places. But that's all just a one-time thing. My real hope, and really this is something I've been slowly nurturing for decades, is to tell a story through photography about these special places. I want to raise awareness and maybe some money for very specific conservation efforts.
I've set up this Etsy Shop where I will be able to post and ultimately sell prints of some of the photos I take (with a very serious camera I might add!). My intention is to donate 50% of the proceeds from sales of these pictures to conservations organizations, whether they be landmark or environmental conservation. Where possible, I want to be incredibly prescriptive. So when I shoot photos of the endangered lemurs in Madagascar, I'm going to have the proceeds go to this NGO on the ground doing the hard work in Madagascar. If you visit my page, you'll also notice I've already shared some of my favorite shots of all time and the same rules apply in terms of 50% of proceeds going to landmark and environmental conservation orgs. I'm only releasing 50 copies of each of these photos. They'll be numbered and signed.
As this trip unfolds, I'll be posting mostly on Instagram @PeterYacobellis I ask you to follow me and to "like" my photos. When I can I will also include a link to either directly donate to a conservation organization or to purchase a print of the photo you're looking at.
I also welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback to help be successful. Success for me is in elevating the consciousness around the plight of these precious species and places. I hope you'll help, whether you simply like, love, follow or buy.