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About Karl Ammann
Karl Ammann is a wildlife photographer and conservation activist and a leader of the campaign that gained worldwide recognition of the bushmeat crisis in Africa. He is an advisory director to several organizations, including The World Society for the Protection of Animals, The Cheetah Conservation Fund, and The Biosynergy Institute. National Geographic has recently interviewed Karl and their story is a good introduction to his philosophies and opinions on the state of bushmeat today. Even better is this recent interview about his life's work. It is in three parts: part I and part II and part III.
Karl was also just interviewed by Southeast Asia Globe. In it he reveals his trade secrets, how to avoid serious trouble and his disillusion over the lack of progress in combatting illicit animal trade. Lately he has been investigating an extensive wildlife smuggling ring stretching from Central Africa to Egypt. The 2011 and 2012 reports The Cairo Connection II and The Cairo Connection III bring us up to date on the status of Ape Trafficking.
Photo and Writing Credits
His photographs and his writings on the African bushmeat trade have been featured in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Stern Magazine, Natural History Magazine, Outdoor Photographer (USA), Airone (Italy), Focus (Germany), National Geographic's Earth Almanac, and in many other venues. Most recently his work is featured in several National Geographic photo galleries - Gallery 1 and Gallery 2 along with an accompanying interview.
Most recently he is co-author and photographer of two important books. Eating Apes, with Dale Peterson, documents the history and present status of the Bushmeat trade and the myriad of issues involved. Consuming Nature, with Tony Rose and others, is a full color coffee table book on the exploitation of African rain forests with a focus on bushmeat. President Jacques Chirac of France was quite touched by these images and he wrote to us in FRENCH; our ENGLISH translation is available.
He initiated and helped produce TV programs on the bushmeat issue for CNN, BBC Newsround, (see the latest BBC news report about bushmeat; it introduces the BBC video of Karl documenting the bushmeat trade) UK Channel Four, National Geographic, and M-Net Carte Blanche.
After studying at St. Gall Graduate School of Economics, and graduating Cornell University's Hotel Management School in 1974, Karl worked on new project development and marketing for InterContinental Hotels in Africa and worldwide, travelling to over 100 countries. Karl first recognized the scale of the bush meat trade in 1988, while traveling on one of the legendary Zaire River boats. Hunters and fisherman bring their produce to these boats in dug-out canoes. Some is consumed on route, most is stored on-board for resale in towns. At journey's end, Karl counted some 2004 smoked primate carcasses and about 1000 fresh ones, stored in special bush meat freezers.
Since then he has carried a camera as his sidearm, shooting scenes of chimpanzees and gorillas being butchered for sale as expensive commercial bushmeat. Ammann's reports and documentaries convinced the European Parliament and leaders of over twenty African states to sign a proclamation against the slaughter of apes and caused the government of Cameroon to convene a national conference on the illegal bushmeat trade. For this work he received the Dolly Green Award for Artistic Achievement at the 11th annual Genesis Awards banquet in Los Angeles in April of 1997.
In recent years Karl has authored widely distributed photo-essay books, including Orangutan Odyssey (with Birute Galdikas), Gorilla, Cheetah, The Hunters and the Hunted, Masai Mara and Little Bull: Growing Up in Africa's Elephant Kingdom (with Ellen Foley James). He helped edit and provided photographs for the APA Insight Guide Book, East African Wildlife. And, as mentioned, Karl has recently co-authored Eating Apes and Consuming Nature.
Awards and Commendations
Karl's work has been widely acclaimed in many arenas. In 2009 he again won the Genesis Brigitte Bardot International award for his stirring documentary about the Asian trade in exotic animals and their parts, "The Mong Lah Connection." Read about Karl and other 2009 award winners. You may also check out some of the photos from that grand evening.
In 2008 he received two prestigious awards that we are very proud of. First, Time Magazine has named Karl a Hero of the Environment; people who have given the earth a voice. They credit Karl with almost single-handedly raising awareness of the issue of bush meat; read what else they say about Karl.
Karl has also been named as SAB Environmental Journalist of the year in the broadcast category for his documentary The Cairo Connection, which was broadcast on SABC2's 50/50. Also, for this work, Karl was named winner in the Brigitte Bardot International Genesis Award category; this award was presented at the 22nd annual Genesis Awards in 2008. You may read about the 2008 Genesis Award winners. The Cairo Connection looks at the illegal smuggling of primates from Africa. Read the details posted at Environment South Africa!
For his work in Cameroon, he received the very prestigious Dolly Green Award
for Artistic Achievement at the 11th annual Genesis
Awards banquet in 1997. The Ark Trust, the originator
of the Genesis Awards has merged with The Humane Society of the United
States. You may read about the 1997 Genesis Award winners.
In 1999 Karl received the inaugural Chimfunshi Pal Award in recognition of his efforts to raise hope, awareness and respect on behalf of chimpanzees.
For five consecutive years Ammann has won the "World In our Hands" category in competion for the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, as well as other category prizes. He is one of the leading environmental photographers in the world today. Ammann and his wife Kathy share their fifteen acre game ranch near Mt. Kenya with their adopted chimpanzee orphans Mzee and Bili, a home reared cheetah orphan, Sasa, and dozens of visiting elephant, buffalo, monkeys and other local wildlife.
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