On July 22 , Earth.Org had a conversation with Aaron Gekoski, an internationally acclaimed environmental photojournalist and film-maker, about his new film called “Eyes of the Orangutan,” which is set to premiere on August 15, detailing the abuse of the primates in the tourism industry. Gekoski’s images and articles have appeared in publications such as National Geographic, BBC, The Guardian, The Times, and much more.
Aaron spoke with Earth.Org about several topics, including:
- Raising awareness about the abuse of animals in the tourism industry and how orangutans and other wildlife animals are forcibly removed from their natural habitats and made to perform for humans in degrading displays.
- How orangutan-smuggling syndicates work with the wildlife tourism industry and how they continue to smuggle these large animals without authorities knowing.
- Why people continue support wildlife tourism despite knowing the cruelty that goes on behind the scenes.
- His four-year process in developing his film, “The Eyes of the Orangutan” and what’s the reception to the film has been like.
- His entry into wildlife photography and what are the elements in making a good wildlife photograph.
Aaron poses the question of whether tourists and visitors to wildlife attractions are just as responsible and complicit in animal abuse as the poachers. He talks about how to deals with encountering harrowing scenes over the years and how be decompresses and de-compartmentalise. He also believes that the COVID-19 pandemic has and will lead to more damages for the environmental rather than providing a global reset, in action and in attitudes, due to the lack of tourism and economic impacts. But, Aaron is hopeful about the younger generation as more younger people join the fight and become climate and conservation activists.
You can check out the full length video of Earth.Org ‘s conversation with Aaron Gekoski below:
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