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    The Ganges is a river intimately connected with every aspect of Indian life. It is a source of water, energy and livelihood for millions of people who live along the banks of this river. Thanks to the fertile lands, it provides food to more than one-third of the Indian population. Its ecosystem also includes one of the most varied animal and plant species. Despite this, today it is one of the most polluted rivers in the world.

    Photographer Giulio Di Sturco has been awarded a 2014 Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography for his project ‘Ganges: Death of a River.’ Read more about Giulio and the project here.

    Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images

    Study Estimates 100,000 Elephants Killed in Last 3 Years

    The continued demand for ivory from China and elsewhere in Asia has led to a dramatic decline in Africa’s elephant populations in the last decade, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Extrapolating from local population estimates, the authors estimated that 100,000 elephants have been killed in the last three years and that, in central Africa, the regional population has declined by 64 percent in the last decade. Read more about this study on National Geographic’s website.

    Reportage photographer Brent Stirton documented the illicit ivory trade, and efforts to combat poachers, in 2011 and 2012. In his resulting story, “God’s Ivory,” Brent vividly illustrated the connection between poaching in Africa and demand for religious and cultural icons made from ivory in Asia.

    Captions:

    Top: The largest mass killing of elephants in recent history took place at Bouba Ndjida National Park in North Cameroon close to the Chad and Central African Republic Borders from January through March 2012.

    Middle: The preparation for the burning of 5 tons of trafficked Ivory recovered from a seizure in Singapore in 2002, Manyani, Tsavo, Kenya, July 20, 2011.

    Bottom: Ivory on sale at government registered White Peacock Arts World, Beijing, China, November 15, 2011.

    Today is World Elephant Day. Please watch our film God’s Ivory to see how the thirst for ivory is driving increased elephant poaching.

    reportagebygettyimages:

    In recent years, poachers in Africa have decimated the mature bull elephant population. A particularly poignant loss came this week when it was reported that Satao, a beloved elephant of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, had been killed by poachers. Satao was a recognizable fixture of the park, and one of the few remaining ‘tuskers’ - elephants with a set of tusks weighing approximately 100 pounds or more. The depletion of the tuskers has created a negative effect on the elephant gene pool, as weaker DNA is being passed on to new generations.

    See more images from God’s Ivory, by Brent Stirton

    Image: Some of the last of the great elephant tuskers, in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images

    OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND: Didcot B station, which in 2003 was voted Britain’s 3rd worst eyesore, is gas fed and supplies electricity to over 1.5 million people. In Britain, 5.8% of the energy supply comes from nuclear, 1.8% from renewable sources, and 92.4% from fossil fuels.

    Photo by Toby Smith, from Light After Dark.

    In recent years, poachers in Africa have decimated the mature bull elephant population. A particularly poignant loss came this week when it was reported that Satao, a beloved elephant of Kenya’s Tsavo East National Park, had been killed by poachers. Satao was a recognizable fixture of the park, and one of the few remaining ‘tuskers’ - elephants with a set of tusks weighing approximately 100 pounds or more. The depletion of the tuskers has created a negative effect on the elephant gene pool, as weaker DNA is being passed on to new generations.

    See more images from God’s Ivory, by Brent Stirton

    Image: Some of the last of the great elephant tuskers, in Tsavo National Park, Kenya. Photo by Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images

    Virunga National Park, in Democratic Republic of the Congo, is Africa’s oldest national park, and home to many rare and endangered species. It has also seen its share of violence and destruction lately, including the killing of several mountain gorillas and the shooting of the park’s director. However, some good news came last week when the World Wildlife Fund reported that Soco International was ending operations in the park, thus removing any potential environmental threats from oil exploration. Read More

    Image: Rangers patrol Virunga National Park after increased militia activity in 2008. Photo by Brent Stirton, from Gorillas of the Congo.

    Brent Stirton, who has previously received accolades for stories about war, health, and human rights, has been named Wildlife Photographer of the Year by the Natural History Museum London. His work on God’s Ivory, which explores the illegal ivory trade and its connection to religious iconography, embodies Stirton’s penchant for complex stories. “I work in the area of sustainability and diminishing resources,” he explains, “and I increasingly see a connection between all of these in terms of conflict, human drama, and migration. It’s all interconnected.”

    Video: God’s Ivory, story by Bryan Christy and Brent Stirton/Reportage by Getty Images. Produced by Andrew Hida

    'A career in the oil sands may sound good to some people, but really it is the death of their culture because it’s taking the new generation to work toward a completely different way of life. And it’s a way of life that embraces the destruction of their land.

    These people who have hunted this land for a hundred years can read their environment like a book. They know when something’s wrong. They open up an animal, they can see the health of that animal by how it looks. The industry and the government don’t really take that knowledge seriously.’

    Our friend and former Reportage Emerging Talent Ian Willms’s work from the the First Nations land in Alberta, Canada, was featured on NYT Lens blog yesterday. Read more - An Indigenous Way of Life Threatened by Oil Sands in Canada

    'The Renewables Project is a unique photographic vision of the hydroelectric landscapes of Scotland mid-winter. Nocturnal icy vistas combine with brutalist structures in this award-winning series of large-format images.’

    Toby Smith will be showing more from this project, and also images from Light After Dark, at The Hospital Club in London this weekend. Read more on the Getty Images blog.

    Oil has often brought tumultuous change to the region under which it is discovered. Geologists and oil companies have long known that the Bakken oil field under North Dakota existed, but, until the development of efficient fracking technology, there was no cost-effective way of extracting it. That has changed, and so has Williston, ND. The deluge of oil workers arriving in town has caused a spike in crime and a severe housing shortage. Rental prices rival those in Manhattan, and workers sleep in their cars or in the local church. Despite this, the lure of high-paying jobs will likely continue to draw hordes to Williston.

    See more from Charles Ommanney’s ‘The Promised Land’ here.

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