WPY 2015

Photograph Details

Winner 2015

The Wildlife Photojournalist Award: story

Brent Stirton, South Africa

Ivory wars: from the frontline

Elephant poaching is one of the most lucrative black markets in the world. Each year up to 154 tonnes of ivory are trafficked out of east Africa, and around 25,000 to 35,000 elephants killed. Illegal ivory presents an opportune source of funding for armed criminal groups who come into regular conflict with conservation officials in the central and east African regions. Brent set out to focus international attention on the people who are profiting most and those at the sharp end of the ivory war, the rangers who risk their lives to stop the killing.

Technical specification

Canon EOS-1D X + 24–70mm f2.8 lens; 1/250 sec at f16; ISO 200.


Nzara, South Sudan: latitude 4.633213, longitude 28.24863 Nzara, South Sudan: latitude 4.633213, longitude 28.24863

Nzara, South Sudan

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Brent Stirton, South Africa

Brent has an extensive history in documentary photography, including coverage of water issues in more than 30 countries. He has a strong focus on sustainability and the environment. His work has been widely published in international media, and has received multiple international awards, including the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photojournalist of the Year Award in 2013 and 2014.

  • The real cost
  • Waste product
  • Sunset over the land of rhinos
  • Weighing up the value
  • Learning to fight back
  • The consumer
  • Out of Africa
  • Ivory trash
  • A traditional killing
  • Blessed profits
  • From tooth to totem
  • The end of elephants
  • Bred to be killed
  • Value choice
  • Trophies and trade
  • Choreography of the kill
  • Lion guardians
  • Living with lions
  • Survivors
  • In the firing line
  • The price they pay
  • Ivory widows
  • Ivory haul