Sumatra-On The Frontline

I have just returned from the remote,Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was great to be back some twelve months on from my last visit. I was shadowing the rescue team -HOCRU from the Orangutan Information Centre- OIC.  during the two weeks there. The last time I worked with these guys was just before the Spotlight Sumatra exhibition in London, which was an amazing success.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

As soon as I arrived in Medan the capital of Sumatra I was picked up by Panut and we headed over to the HQ of OIC. We went through a very loose plan for my trip because nothing is promised or can be planned with regard to the rescues of Sumatran Orangutans that find themselves cut off, surrounded on all sides with conflict palm oil. This rescue team was set up by Panut as a direct response to these conditions these crucially endangered orangutans face on Sumatra each and everyday.

With the preparation, travelling and release there is alot of time involved with each rescue so during the two weeks I rarely had any free time. My aim by shadowing these guys is to show the world what they do and how etc. This is the only rescue team on the island of Sumatra, something when I say it still surprises me because the scale of the problems in Sumatra with Sumatran Orangutans are massive.

After spending the night travelling we reached the house in which we were to spend the night ready for the following morning when we were to meet with the forest police force and then go and rescue this orangutan. OIC has a network of local people that help them, and they also put the team up whenever they can, looking after them.

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On the morning of the raid we were up early, I dont sleep well when Im getting ready for something so I was up way before the rescue team from Orangutan Information Centre. We had some breakfast, a team talk from the director of OIC- Panut  and we set off. All I knew was a young Sumatran Orangutan was being held as a pet and that we could gain access into the courtyard at a certain time and with the help of the local/forest department police we would rescue her.

On the way I got my cameras ready, settings and lens chosen, once we arrived we parked up we entered the small courtyard and to my left I saw a tiny cage with a Sumatran Orangutan slumped on the floor. The smell of urine was really bad as this tiny head lifted up and made eye contact with us. In the background I saw the owner come a man around 45-50 average build and he was talking to the police and team as I lay level with her and spoke to her. She was banging her body into the cage, perhaps excited there were new people in the yard. I’d like to think for those brief moments she came alive and was happy as I was saying “you’re okay now you will be free in a minute so relax”.

Then the tone and tempo changed and the man was standing in front of me talking loudly in Indonesian and waving his arm with a pointed finger. I ignored him and carried on taking images of the young female.Then I heard ” Craig… we have to go he wants us to leave” I was puzzled and said very little. Once back in the car I was told the police got scared, didnt want to take the orangutan or apply the “Law” that they have the power to do. The man holding the Orangutan told them he was an ex-Aceh rebel and was part of the mafia in that area and that if the orangutan was taken we would all disappear.

A common problem I have come across in Sumatra, fear, intimidation, corruption, bribes, money and a total lack of willingness to apply the rules the world have applied to these critically endangered animals. OIC dont have the powers of arrest, they depend on the police to help them and have to pay them for their time, petrol and any other costs. Those we met on that morning came in civilian dress, weren’t wearing their uniform and had little interest in their work or helping the orangutan. Soon after they dropped their invoice off to Paunt though for prompt payment.

The helpless task of saving Sumatran orangutans is made so much harder by the corruption there and to this day I am told this female is still being held illegally. She was estimated to be 6 years old and the children there told the team they had had her a number of years. This tiny small cage has been home for years and it was very troubling and upsetting to see. Efforts to gain her freedom continue, these images show just what a tough and emotional job these guys have and even when everything is on their side things still don’t go their way.

I’d like to think for a few moments her life changed as we were there, she woke, took food from Paunt and begin moving around her tiny cage. Leaving her behind troubles me to this day. This was as close to the frontline as you can get , in the yard of a mafia mans home seeing the results of the illegal pet trade close up for myself. The following images visualize what we saw on that morning I hope, and are dedicated to that Sumatran Orangutan.

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http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/blog/projects/sumatra-on-the-frontline/20150310681/

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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We then headed back to the locals house to eat and rest for the next day as the plan was to locate the female and her baby and fingers crossed rescue her. Again we woke early, got our gear together and set off for the area in which the reports had come into the team of her presence. A number of locals were helping to locate her so when we arrived the team knew roughly the area. I watched as Ricko the vet and the rest of the team put into practice a well drilled operation they have gone through many times.It was then just a matter then of waiting, watching, listening and fingers crossed we’d find her.

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The shout came back and I followed Ricko the vet, walking through the fragmented forest, we came across several trees and it was then I first saw her. The marksman had already darted her and soon after she fell into the large net held out and open below her by the whole of the HOCRO team as well as some locals. In a matter of minutes I heard a loud crash and she and the baby fell from the trees and landed safely into the net. The team took her to a safe area so they could do their vital checks.

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http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

When you see these beautiful animals up close you are always struck by their size and colour. It is amazing to be so close to one and I remember my first rescue with this team back in September 2012. Once in a safe place the baby was taken from the mum in order for the check to be carried out. A member of the team got the baby and walked off very carefully so as not to stress the baby any further. Then the vet, Ricko checked the female, inserted a microchip, checked for any injuries, state of heath and so on.

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Once this was done the team carried her to the rescue truck and reunited mother and baby as they placed them both in the cage that was to take them to a safer part of the national park and a second chance of life. We then drove an hour or so to the release site where we had to cross,shoulder deep a river to reach the safe part of the national park.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

It was great to witness all this and the end result once the team lifted the door of the cage and slowly she came out along with her baby and climbed the first tree she saw. Just wonderful to witness and see and it was a great day for the team and these two Sumatran Orangutans. We then crossed the river once more which I must say was so refreshing as the temperatures in Sumatra at this time of year is a blistering 36-38 degrees and the humidity levels are very high so you’re always wet anyway.

Once back to our base in Aceh we washed off and relaxed for a while before the 10-12 hour drive south back to the HQ of OIC in Medan. The driving and planning like I say often takes many hours if not days so even though a rescue itself is short its the before, after and traveling that makes the hours flyby.

Once we got back to the headquarters of OIC in Medan a long 12 hour drive the HOCRU team cleaned and packed away the kit and headed home. Some had been away from their families for nearly ten days so everyone was looking forward to the rest and time with loved ones. I cleaned all my camera equipment and charged batteries and backed up my images and did some editing of the rescue images to send back to the UK for SOS- Sumatran Orangutan Society. That night I slept at Panuts house and met his lovely family, wife, and two young children, one boy and one girl. The following day I woke and had breakfast and then headed to the office with Panut and carried on doing some editing to get the images back to Helen, the director of SOS. The news was breaking back in the UK and many sites carried the story and images – EIA- SOS.

That afternoon though everything changed, the team had a call to let them know a male Sumatran Orangutan had become trapped in land just outside a palm oil plantation. After several calls the team were called in from their homes and we all gathered our gear and headed north once more to the province of Aceh.  All we knew again was their was a male there that had wandered into land where locals were working and they had become scared.

OIC has posters up all around this area and with the help of locals they ring and alert them should a Sumatran Orangutan come into conflict with humans or became trapped and this was a perfect example of that once more. I had been in the country less than a week and already we were on our way to our second rescue it was unbelievable and quite sad that the Sumatran Orangutans are in such danger because for every one that gets rescued there must be many more that don’t and end up being killed or sold into the pet trade which really saddened me.

We reached there quite late, with around a couple of hours light left. The team went into their well drilled routine and off they went to try and locate this male. After a while we caught a brief sighting of him, a hand then he vanished. He seemed to know how to hide and the sun set that night as he gave us the slip. The search was called off as dusk fell, we stayed in a nearby plantation which were helping the rescue team. They made us welcome and cooked some food for us which was a welcome break as with the travelling and searching not many of us had eaten. We then got our heads down and looked forward to the morning.

Before first light we were all up and in place, the team were searching and watching for any tell tale signs of movement. After searching for two hours, they found him, I was on the top of the valley looking down as the team went in. Not long after they had darted him and then began the long walk to the top carrying him in the net with the locals and people from the nearby plantation helping to carry this massive male to where the vet could check him.

The male Sumatran Orangutan is the most beautiful of all the great apes. With privileged access I wanted to try to reflect that beauty within an image. After the team had done all checks on him, I was given the nod by Ricko the vet and I took this very personal image again with my macro lens. Being so close at times felt surreal, 5-6 times stronger than man, this male whose age was around 35 was in his prime and very handsome. He wouldn’t have woken up from the tranquilizer given to him at the point of rescue but still being this close to such a massive and powerful ape made my heart beat so fast. His facial hairs I love and are one of the key characteristics Sumatran Orangutans have from their Borneo Orangutan cousins. The following images take you through that days events.

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

These are the HOCRU team and some of the helpers from the plantation and locals that helped to carry this massive male pictured above.  Once he was safety in the cage we loaded up the truck and headed some distance away to the national park to release this beautiful male back into the rainforests where he belongs. When the gate on the cage is pulled up I’m always nervous as to how the Orangutan will come out, they always climb the nearest tree and vanish. This was no different, so amazing to see and witness though and this image below captures that wonderful moment.

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Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

As we headed back to Medan from Aceh the team were over the moon and so was I. We drove through the night to get back and once home everyone was so tired. The rescue team were given a few days off by Panut and headed home. I backed up my images and headed to bed also. In just over a week on the island of Sumatra I had witnessed three Sumatran Orangutans rescued and relocated and it was amazing to see and witness. As I closed my eyes that night I hoped they were all doing well back in the wild.

My itinerary gave me some time to edit and get the images ready for OIC/SOS over the next day or so and I had time to sleep and get some much needed rest. While you travel around Sumatra it’s hard to escape the vast palm oil plantations that cover most of Sumatra now and also the deforestation that litter the landscape of Sumatra.  The following words and images reflect how I saw this and how I felt driving through these soulless places.

“THE BIRDS DONT SING ANYMORE” by craig jones

Soulless, a lifeless landscape of palm oil forests. The sun still rises in the East, each day it tries desperately to bring life to the spot where once some of the worlds finest rainforest stood. But nothing grows, nothing lives apart from alien palm oil trees

Nature wont forgive, a defiant act, its last stand against those that came without warning ripping every bit of life out in such a brutal manner, killing everything that lived there.

Nature wont allow the same to happen again

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Over the next few days the plan was to visit Medan Zoo for a mission that I hope will end happily for a certain animals while I photographed some of the conditions the animals live in there. After that I headed to see my friend Darma a guide for the forest who I hadn’t seen since September 2012 when I spent several days trekking wild Sumatran Orangutans. I spent some time in the jungles with him again and some much needed peace and beauty after the last week or so. Then I spent time with the HOCRU team in the field once more, after which I spent a wonderful day with the Sumatran Elephants before doing some undercover work and photography. All of this will be covered in my next blog.

I hope you have enjoyed this first blog and if you’d like to donate to this rescue team, the only one of its kind on the island of Sumatra then please see this link many thanks.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Barn Owl Population 2014

The Barn Owl trusts 2014 population report has just been published and it was a much better year for one of my favorite birds, the Barn Owl. After the disastrous previous year in 2013 one of the worst on record for Barn Owls 2014 was much better. In most county’s of the UK the breeding populations where up and all reported successfully rearing young which is wonderful news.

http://www.barnowltrust.org.uk/infopage.html?Id=346 - Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I donate my images to this trust because simply I love Barn Owls and have done all of my life. Proud to say the trust has used my image on the front page of the report which is lovely to see. Making a difference and helping those subjects you love is something my photography enables me to do of which it gives me great satisfaction. We can all do something to help wildlife I feel and I have done since the moment I turned professional.

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2015/the-silent-winged-hunter-of-winters-half-light/

To see the full report click on the following link. This month also see’s my article on these amazing birds in the wonderful Wild Planet photographic magazine. click here to see this. I hope the population carries on growing and good luck to everyone that helps these wonderful birds.

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Wild Planet Magazine-Barn Owls

In the February’s issue of the highly acclaimed photographic magazine ; Wild Planet I have my third article published to date, talking about my life-long love of Barn Owls and the struggles they face with the changeable weather conditions here in the UK.

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2015/the-silent-winged-hunter-of-winters-half-light/

My first memories of Barn Owls are from childhood, where I’d rush home from school, dump all my school bags, pick up my little rucksack, bird guide and binoculars and head on my push bike to a nearby stretch of farmland not far from my home in the hope I’d see a pair of Barn Owls Id spent many years watching. I did my first ever project on Barn Owls for the the Young Ornithologists Club (YOC) which is now the Wildlife s Explorers Club. Recording trips in and out of the nest with what prey, collecting pellets, drawings and all sorts it was amazing.

Barn Owl Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Quartering over farmland, hovering with moth like silence, flying effortlessly on the wing in the half-light at dawn or dusk is the supreme hunter, the Barn Owl. A bird that has always created a sense of great excitement and fascination for me. In British folklore, a screeching Barn Owl is believed to predict that a storm or cold weather was imminent. During a storm, if a Barn Owl was heard, it indicated that the storm was nearly over.

Barn Owls

Barn Owl

You wait and wait for a passing glimpse and a view into this bird’s life entrenched with mystery, then from nowhere and without warning one turns up in perfect silence, gliding, riding the currents of air, traveling effortlessly. Eyes glued to the ground beneath, on the lookout for small rodents that they feed on, as you witness their very distinctive appearance with a white heart-shaped face with no ear tufts and sharp black eyes all contributing to its striking appearance.

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Those large black eyes only let the Barn Owl look forward in a fixed position and cannot move to the side, so consequently the Barn Owl has to turn its head to see to the side or back. Their hearing is amazing and the ability to locate prey by sound alone is one of the best in the animal kingdom.

Barn Owl’s feathers make them perfectly adapted for silent flight, but this makes them prone to water logging so they are not well suited to hunting in wet weather. The key to an owl’s silent flight is in its feathers, the next time you find an owl feather, turn it on its side and look at the edge — the line of fibers is scalloped, like a stretched seam. The slight alteration in shape allows the feather to cut the air without making sound, making them perfectly aerodynamic.

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http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/

For more of my article, how I work with wild Barn Owls and alot more information then please click on the following link. Also there is a link to Barn Owl Trust, based in Devon who have brought out a conservation handbook on Barn Owls, its a comprehensive guide for ecologists, surveyors, land managers and ornithologists.

Barn Owl Trust

Some of my images of Barn Owls were used in this handbook and I also help the trust with my images to help to raise awareness of these owls and the issues that face them.

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I hope you enjoy the article as much as I did writing this. Over the last couple of weeks I have been out and found a brand new Barn Owl sight in an amazing and old setting that Im looking forward to working on this year as one of my major projects. Also the family of Barn Owls I photographed a couple of years back have also returned so it looks very promising this year with regard to Barn Owls fingers crossed.

Barn Owls are protected by law and so shouldn’t be disturbed so please be careful if or when you come across one. They have suffered in recent years due to extreme weather so they need all the help they can to build back up.  The information and protected status of this owl can be read further on this link.

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I hope this winter will be kinder to them and I look forward to showing you my new images of Barn Owls in the coming months, many thanks.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Madagascar 2016

In 2016 I will be heading back to the wonderful island of Madagascar. A truly amazing place and so diverse in the species of wildlife there.This trip is now live on my website and already a couple have places have gone. So if you’d like to join me on this amazing photo tour in August 2016 then see the following link for more information and trip details.

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/workshops/madagascar-photography-holiday.php

The 12 day trip is open to non-photographers also who simply have a love of wildlife. Also its open to people living outside of the UK as we can all meet in Tana the capital at the start of this amazing adventure. This image of a Black and White Ruffed Lemur was taken on my last trip there and its what in most parts the island is famous for, its many species of beautiful Lemurs found nowhere else on the planet. And below is a close up of the truly amazing Leaf Tailed Gecko also taken on my last trip there.

Leaf Tailed Gecko

Any questions or queries about this trip then just email me, and I hope you can join me on this truly amazing photo tour to this stunning island, many thanks

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year to all my followers and clients past and present, 2014 is now gone and we begin a new year. This year at Christmas I wanted to do something for my local community so with two good friends we managed to raised just over £1800 pounds to give local children something to open on the big day. I sold off 4 limited edition Tiger prints, someone donated a signed football shirt and locals donated what they could to our online donating page.

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In the end we managed to buy lots of toys for this local charity that cares for women and children that purely replies on donations. The Arch charity have four refuges for women and children who have experienced, or are at risk of, domestic abuse. They offer accommodation and a place of safety where customers can rebuild their lives before moving on to independence.

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Once we had brought everything the next day we dropped everything off and it was a humbling and moving day in many ways, tinted with sadness these places are full to the brim with children hurt and abused along with their mums. When you see people trying to help it restores your faith in mankind. A big thank you to everyone who donated and helped, the toys were divided up between the many safe places this charity runs and all the children had lots to open on Christmas day which was our aim.

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After such a moving few days and eating lots over the Christmas period it was back to what I love, being among nature with my camera, working on forthcoming projects that I hope to really spend alot of time on this year. Here are a few of my favorites before the colder weather closed in and the snow came down

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So with a weather warning in place, roads closed and quite alot of snow fall on the higher grounds I set off for the Peak District. Extreme weather tests you and your resolve, the wildlife still comes out to feed and carry on their daily life. With a blanket of fresh snow and no tracks walking up to 600m in the dark with a small head torch can be quite strange as everything is covered and you can get very disoriented.Using a compass bearing on your small map and stopping every 100m to get a new bearing you can’t really go wrong when everything around you looks the same and its pitch black.

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http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

Once up at the top, I sat down in a small ditch and listened and watched the best I could. You suddenly hear calls, rustling and so forth and in the absence of clear vision your other senses work overtime to compensate you can build up a picture of what’s happening around you and who is around you.

Soon the Red Grouse were calling, seeing each other off with calls all varying in their loudness and pitch. I often feel as though I’m intruding into their world as they wake around me, unaware I’m hiding in the snow. The key to wildlife photography for me is fieldcraft, something I have said, used and applied from the very first image I took years back.

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Every living animal knows your there so no matter what you dress as or look like they will have seen you and heard you well before you ever see them. Its how you as the person deals with that level of distribution that’s key and the foundation to your own fieldcraft. Red Grouse are mainly low to the ground, often out of sight, they do two things when they first see you – Fly off, exploding out of the heather and making you jump as you never saw them, or second they see you, put their heads above the heather and call, the sound, pitch and notes they call will depict how concerned they are about your presence.

Go to ground, make yourself small, offer no threat and their calls will slowly start to slow down, fading into a small chuckle and their heads go back down level with the heather as they start feeding once more. The key then is how you get up, get your gear ready and transverse the landscape between you and them without impacting on them and that takes time and skills you can only really learn on the ground yourself.

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Those of you that have been with me to the Peak District will know what I mean and I have shown you on the ground how to move and work with these Red grouse and often with a bit of luck you can get really lucky once you apply those fieldcraft skills.

Fieldcraft is a word rarely used today in wildlife photography, many wildlife photographers have never used it now embrace it and talk as though they know it well and it’s their skill. For me it’s the most important element to your wildlife photography and from day one it’s the word I have always used and gone on about. I have written many articles and run many workshops and one to ones covering this topic from the very first day of turning professional.

The following images are all as a result of fieldcraft, subject knowledge, luck and a few elements coming together from today. Many Red Grouse males were calling today and its wonderful to see them outstretched when they are calling, their red wattles above their eyes full with testosterone as they call for the females and mark out their patch. One image is of the female who is a brown colour as she sits on the eggs more than the male and she is captured looking at me head on with a surprised look. All the other images are of males and one is bathing in the fresh snow, cleaning his feathers which was funny to watch.

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Craig Jones wildlife photography

Fieldcraft can be different from one animal to another. Real fieldcraft is where you arrive somewhere and through your own skills and ethics work out what’s around you, you find tracks, prints, poo and wait and watch and it’s something I have done most of my life. You cant buy this skill, you cant just turn up and the wildlife will be there you can learn it though in its simplest form and then apply it to your photography.

The rewards are massive in the end as you see the animal in its true form and see and witness things you never would see normally. Learning a great deal more about the subject which benefits you and the animal as you can see and watch you subject and learn from them. Fieldcraft and ethics go together for me and its good more and more people are becoming aware of this now and talking about it.

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/workshops.php

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/workshops.php

Workshop news and I have a few places for my Wolves trip in July, a few miles from the Russia border. The trip details are here if you’d like to join me. A real highlight for me in 2014 was seeing and spending time watching this family of Wolves, they are so beautiful and intelligent its beyond words. The following slideshow covers my 2014 trip there and a bit of what my clients and I saw.

To see all the other trips, One to Ones and photo tours I run then please click here.

A massive thanks once more to everyone that donated to our toys appeal, thank you to everyone I met in 2014 and for your business and I look forward to meeting new and old clients in 2015. The last twelve months have been really busy for me and this year will be the same, with lots of trips planned alongside my own projects closer to home that I look forward to posting here on my blog. All the very best to you all and thanks again.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Palm Oil : Its Becoming Clearer

Saturday, December 13th 2014, just another date in many ways, people going about their lives, shopping for Christmas. Many people today will visit their supermarkets, watching what they spend and getting the best deal for themselves and their families unaware of a ruling that comes into place on this day. That new law has taken years to come into effect and it finally bears wings and flies today.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Over 500 million consumers in Europe from today will become aware that palm oil is in their food they eat. Ingredients will have to be clearly labelled, saying exactly what it says on the tin with two clear winners. Sustainable palm oil and more importantly the wildlife that live in the places where palm oil is devastating their homes in the shape of their rainforests. Click here to see the EU law which comes into effect today.

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

Sumatran Orangutan- Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlfie Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlfie Photography Sumatran Orangutans

One such place is Sumatra, a place I have visited several times now to be among an animal I find such beauty in, they have brought a smile to my face since childhood, the Orangutan. Being around them brings me such joy and comfort, it’s like being alongside a human being. Peaceful, caring, intelligent, beautiful are a few words that come to mind when I think of these great apes.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography, Sumatran Orangutans

Until this day palm oil in our food was hidden, often labelled as vegetable oil misleading the consumers and the true origins of its beginning.  Giving people informed choices to buy food items from today is a great result and a small step in the right direction to saving what’s left of the worlds rainforests and in turn some of the most endangered animals anywhere on the planet. Click here to see a very simple guide and what it means.

Sumatra- Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Sumatra- Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Sumatra-Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

In 2011, SOS led a coalition of conservation groups, including Elephant Family, Orangutan Foundation, Save the Rhino, the Jane Goodall Institute, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), and the Ape Alliance, in a joint campaign to tackle the problem.

Following their “Clear Labels, Not Forests “campaign, the EU adopted a new law which requires the labelling of specific vegetable oils, including palm oil, on food products throughout Europe. Companies were given three years to comply, and the new legislation comes into force today.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Mandatory labeling will support vital changes in the palm oil industry by allowing shoppers to make informed choices about what they buy. Responsible companies that make or sell products containing palm oil will want to reassure their customers that their products are not contributing to deforestation and loss of wildlife. Retailers and manufacturers now have the incentive to play their part in transforming the palm oil industry and breaking the link between palm oil and deforestation.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Sumatran Orangutan-Spotlight Sumatra-Craig Jones

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutan

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutan

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutan

Its amazing news and one I wanted to share with the many followers of my blog, the best Christmas for those Orangutans that face a daily struggle to survive and live a peaceful life. I was there in March of this year working with another charity on the ground, shadowing the work of SOCP- Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme who have the only quarantine facility on the island.

I spent two days at that place in Medan the captal of Sumatra, this place is the very end of the line for those crucially endangered Sumatrta Orangutans that have been rescued and confiscated. At times what I saw I couldn’t really speak about or make senmse of, as I sat with baby Sumatran Orangutans looking at me, me looking at them. I cried, I sat and I cried and I really couldn’t understand why man was doing this and how we could inflict such cruelty on an animal that is us and we are them I like to say.

One of the shocking and direct consequences of poaching Orangutans is the death of the mother who is killed in the process of poaching the younger Orangutan. Shock for the baby is devastating and those that survive have a marked existence with so many crucial skills missing. Their lives of forests swapped for a life chained to a post or a cage that’s too small as they grow.

This situation is tolerated and considered normal in Sumatra and Borneo, keeping one of these guardians of the forest can elevate the social status of the person.When they are rescued the road back to the wild is hard without their mother, this makes their independent survival almost impossible. I witnessed many rescued Orangutans during my time in Sumatra. Most have forgotten the pain they went through and forgiven their jailers but just hearing their individual stories sent shivers down my spine and filled me with such sadness

This is my tribute to those Sumatran Orangutans, that are afforded the very highest protection in the world yet are killed every single day in Sumatra and the government does nothing.

I’m going back to Sumatra next year, shadowing the work of those teams once more, things are changing alittle and more interest and knowledge of the plight of those Orangutans and the other rare animals that live on Sumatra are becoming news which is good.

My aim as its always been from day one is to give those Sumatran Orangutans a voice through my work, and since my first visit in 2012 I have kept to that promise I made to those Orangutans I spent time with high in the tree tops. I will continue that promise for as long as I live simply because they are us and we are them and to let them go extinct on our watch would be truly shocking, many thanks.

Craig Jones Wildlfie Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography Sumatran Orangutans

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Nottingham University Talks

For the third year in a row I was invited to Nottingham University to talk to the students their on a masters course in photography.  I have really enjoyed the last two years doing this and to inspire, and light someone’s passion through my own work is something I love to do. Your photograph starts in your heart and is projected through your eye is what I told the students.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/

The talk at Nottingham University about my work, the industry and much more to the next generation of photographers went really well. It was really nice to catch up with the other speakers there I have met on previous years all well respected in their own fields of photography. The image above was taken during the talk and the following images below are from previous years.

I have never had a camera lesson or learnt in a classroom environment and that’s something I pressed home that don’t get to hung up on settings/books and gear, it’s all about knowledge that you cant buy, cheat or make up where you have to learn and know your stuff when it comes to wildlife and behavior the photography bit is easy to learn.

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/

I always enjoy these talks as you can have a real impact on how people think and work once they here you talk . Nothing stops talent and passion twinned with determination though and anything’s possible, I told them all. Be true to your work and yourself. Let your peers/public know how you took the shot and what skills you employed and then they can judge your work and your skills while being transported to that moment you capture.

Thank you to the team at Nottingham University for inviting me once more, you all do an amazing job their for the students. To book a talk or for more information please see the following link, many thanks.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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Sustainability, Lisbon 2014

I have just come back from two days in Lisbon, Portugal having attended a conference on sustainability presented by the Jeronimo Martins group.  I was invited along with many others to give their presentations and talk about their respected views on this. I was chosen because of  my work in Sumatra on my self-funded trips their showing through powerful imagery the effect palm oil and timber manufacturing- mostly all illegal is having on this beautiful island.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

Jeronimo Martin is a Portuguese corporate group that operates in food distribution and consumer products manufacturing. It operates around 2,800 stores in Portugal, Poland, and Colombia. The group is a world leader in food distribution operating throughout Europe from their main strong holds in Portugal and Poland. With operations in Colombia too. their influence on this sector is massive.

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

After a short flight from Manchester I was met at Lisbon airport and driven to my hotel, then later onto the venue where I went through some tests and set up my talk.  When I got into my room a birthday card and chocolates were waiting for me as a welcome gift which was lovely as it had been my birthday the days earlier.  Later I was taken to the venue where I went through some tests and set up my talk up for the following day.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

My plan was to show through images taken on my trips to Sumatra the beauty of this country, its wildlife more so those crucially endangered Sumatran Orangutans and the destruction of this country at the hands of palm oil plantations and timber manufactures.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I was careful not to come over as an expert there as these guys knew their stuff, it was my aim through my photography to show what I know and have seen. I got to the venue early, got use to the layout and had a coffee and then the people started to arrive. I was introduced to many people including the CEO of the whole group. I had around 30 minutes in which to show the beauty, horror and suffering from what Id seen fro myself in Sumatra and get over my message to this distinguished audience.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I was on in the afternoon which gave me time to settle in and watch the others.I never really plan a talk so much as in the images go together and speak for me at times. I just talk from my own passion, knowledge and understanding of that situation I’m showing at the time.  I have a basic framework I work too but on the whole I can remember every moment and every image once I look at an image and the story behind that.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

My talk went well, it was my aim to take them on a journey to Sumatra through powerful images and emotive music, you could hear a pin drop as they watched and saw those images of what is happening there and those beautiful Sumatran orangutans I spent time with and have left behind. My aim to show, shock and reveal the truth of the palm oil industry, and the illegal logging I think really hit home to everyone there. I dont think there was one person in that room that will never forget the words- Sumatran, Palm oil and Orangutans.

I was really impressed with everyone’s talks and the powerful message to this well established company’s mission statement where they are  substituting palm oil for vegetable oil.  The opening speech from the CEO was very powerful and set the tone for the whole day for me.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Since my first trip to Sumatra I made a promise to those Orangutans I spent time with in the jungles there that I would do my best in order that their voices would be heard and their plight. To this day I have kept to this promise and below are a few of the talks, articles and presentations I have done since that first visit to Sumatra.

I return to Sumatra next year also to carry on my work and passion for these beautiful apes I have been fascinated with since childhood and I hope my images will always remind people of just how beautiful they are and that we are them and they are us as I say. Click on each image below and it will take you to the place that image was taken or article/photo published.

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

http://wildplanetphotomagazine.com/2014/saving-sumatras-orangutans/

Nikon-Owner-XLIII-Close-Encounters-2-blog

Nikon-Owner-XLIII-Close-Encounters-9-BLOG

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

I was invited to talk about the Orangutans as part of the Sebastiao Salgado “Genesis” exhibition NHM 2013.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

http://www.discoverwildlife.com/issue/january-2013

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gomobile.nikon&hl=en_GB

Spotlight Sumatra

Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo

I flew home full of pride and joy having seen and heard the amazing work being done by committed people there which is having  a massive effect on an industry that drives the need for such high demand for palm oil. I was there as a wildlife photographer and I have seen the end result to whats happening in Sumatra, to be around those powerful people that can possible change what I have seen on the frontline there was wonderful. I became a wildlife photographer to place a frame around something I had seen in the wild, to then show to people what beauty we have around us. In the case of Sumatra not only the beauty but also the devastation that is happening there.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

_CMJ2873

To use my images for the good of a creature I have loved since a small child is a dream and as a wildlife photographer I have a duty of care not only to my peers who view my work and want to know how I took that image and the skills used but mostly importantly to those animals I see and spend time with in the wild. This for me is truly the greatest thing about being a wildlife photographer.

Being real to myself and more importantly my work is key and has been since I first picked up a DSLR. My love for wildlife stretches over three decades and it was an honor to attain this conference and talk about these great apes. Thank you to all the staff at Jeronimo Martins for looking after me and booking everything and taking care of my stay there in Lisbon. I met some wonderful people and contacts and I hope to be doing more of this to help those Sumatran Orangutans in the coming months.

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

http://www.craigjoneswildlifephotography.co.uk/

Ask yourselves what you can do for wildlife, not what wildlife can do for you.  The three charities I have worked with in Sumatra that were mentioned in my powerful talk can be seen on the following links – Sumatran Orangutan Society- SOS , Orangutan Information Center - OIC  Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme –  SOCP  Please help and support their work its a massive battle out there in Sumatra and there aren’t many charities on the ground there, these guys are on the coalface, the cutting edge and in some parts hell on earth once you see what humans can do to their planet and the animals.

To see more of my talks or book one please see the following link, many thanks.

Craig Jones Wildlife Photography

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