Considering the threats to the wildlife that roams vast swaths of Africa, it’s almost surprising that any of the creatures are still alive today.
Poachers collecting coveted body parts and farmers targeting animals that disrupt their livelihood pick off lions, elephants, giraffes and cheetahs one by one. The spread of agriculture chips away at grassy savannas, depriving animals of space and contact with others of their kind. Meanwhile climate change might dry up grasses and water the wildlife relies on, increasing the odds that desperate animals will venture closer to humans and put themselves at higher risk of attack.
Conservationists push back on these pressures through protected areas such as Amboseli National Park. Nestled in southern Kenya, this reserve is featured by photographer Joachim Schmeisser in his new book Last of Their Kind.“Some of the largest and most wonderful creatures in Africa have become very dear to me over the years,” Schmeisser writes. His book of portraits carries two messages. “It [is] a homage and warning at the same time—a visual message with the aim of sharpening our clouded view of the one, infinitely complex and vulnerable nature and to recognize which treasures we are about to irretrievably lose,” he writes.