Britta Jaschinski's Image

Britta Jaschinski (Germany/UK) uses torchlight to highlight the impact of coltan mining.

Glowing blue in the centre of the frame is a lump of coltan - a metallic ore that is a component of many phone and laptop batteries.

Here Britta surrounds it with mining tools and the remains of animals impacted by the mining industry, all seized by customs authorities, including porcupine quills and a gorilla skull, vertebrae and leg bone.

Coltan is extracted from the riverbeds of the Democratic Republic of the Congo by poorly paid miners who hunt wild animals for food. Hunting and trading wildlife threatens the future of the country's gorillas and has led to an increased risk of viruses jumping to humans.

How you can help

  • Reduce your consumption of new technologies. Try to have your mobile phone, camera or laptop repaired before buying a new replacement.
  • Recycle your broken electronics through a reliable organisation. If you're in the UK, you can search for one in your area at Recycle Now. If not, you can contact your local authorities for reliable recycling services near you.
  • Mining goes hand-in-hand with habitat destruction and the displacement of wild animals which can contribute to the spread of deadly viruses. Talk to your family and friends about the impact of mining on both wildlife and habitats, and encourage them to reduce their electronic waste.

See all the images in focus.

Behind the lens

Britta Jaschinski

Britta Jaschinski


Britta documents crimes against wildlife and nature for authorities, charities, museums, institutions, organisations and NGOs, often working in perilous situations and sometimes undercover. She is the co-creator of both Photographers Against Wildlife Crime and The Evidence Project - initiatives that inform the public and advocates to politicians and lawmakers in order to help bring an end to the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetime.

Image details

  • Leica SL2
  • Vario-Elmarit-SL 24–90mm f2.8–4 lens
  • 1/5 sec at f22  •   ISO 800  •   torch  •   tripod
  • Leibniz Institute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change, Hamburg, Germany
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

More images from Britta Jaschinski

View all

Support our important work

Help us harness the power of photography to advance scientific knowledge, spread awareness of important issues and nurture a global love for nature.

Donate now

Discover more

Sign up to our newsletter

Receive email updates about Wildlife Photographer of the Year news, events, science, products, services and fundraising activities. We may occasionally include third-party content from our corporate partners and other museums. We will not share your personal details with these third parties. You must be over the age of 13. Privacy notice.