WPY 2014

Photograph Details

Finalist 2014

World in our Hands

Ian Johnson, South Africa

Where is my forest?

As Ian explored the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, the silverback mountain gorilla leapt over the stone wall without warning and just stood there. It and its family are effectively stranded in the park, which is ringed by farmland. Here, at the foot of Mount Sabinyo, Rwanda, fields of potato and pyrethrum have replaced forest. Wild gorilla numbers in Africa are dwindling. About 480 mountain gorillas remain on the Virunga massif, a volcanic mountain range that straddles the borders of Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. And just over 400 remain in the nearby Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda. The future of these animals is threatened by conflict over habitat, oil and gas exploration, hunting and war. But Ian has been inspired by rewilding projects in other areas. He believes that if the needs of local people are met, it may become possible to reforest the areas adjacent to the parks to safeguard the gorillas’ future.

Technical specification

Nikon D3s + 70–200mm f2.8 lens; 1/800 sec at f5.6; ISO 1250.


Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: latitude 1.4833, longitude 29.5333 Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: latitude 1.4833, longitude 29.5333

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

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Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson, South Africa

A nature conservationist and photographer by profession, Ian has spent his entire life in some of the world’s wildest conservation areas, national parks and reserves across Africa, India, Canada and Brazil. Seizing the photographic opportunities he gets, he aims to capture images that will inspire people to value wild places and instil a sense of responsibility for their future.