The Quest

We humans are only one of the many species fortunate enough to wander this planet.  However, we are probably the most detrimental.  Over the years I have traveled and lived in some exotic places and photo-documented the price that other animals have paid by sharing this world with us: Gorillas in Rwanda that are now confined to a mountaintop as urban sprawl devours their habitat; the rare sight of an Orangutan in Borneo, and a lone Rhino hopelessly looking for a mate in the Serengeti.

Global warming, deforestation, pollution, oceanic dead zones, the melting polar caps, and ever-increasing human populations are just a few of the negative results of our way of life.  There are many of us who are passionate and dedicated to doing right by this planet, and recently I was fortunate enough to meet a kindred soul who shares that vision.  Brooks and I got to talking about this Earth and what we could do to give back, rather than take from her.  Although we admitted it’s quite a daunting task, we both strongly believe that raising awareness is the best way to garner support.  My extensive travel experience and ability to capture moments in time through my camera can bring these images home to those who don’t get to see them first-hand.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine what an entire series of them can do to raise our collective consciousness.

The sense of urgency is at an all-time high for many species of animals on the brink of extinction.  What can I do?  I’m just a bartender.  My Danish partner and I have real jobs with bills to pay and little disposable income or time to put toward our shared passion for photographing the vibrant wildlife on this planet.  With the generous sponsorship from The Wild Foundation and the help from the amazing energy drink PepPod, we have the opportunity to make a contribution, and hopefully, change the way people and think and act towards endangered species.

Our mission is to travel around India for 24 days in April.  We will leave our jobs and normal lives behind to find and photograph the world’s few remaining wild tigers in their natural habitats in order to let people see the beauty of these majestic animals who have as much of a right to survive as we do.  We will document our travels so that we may share what we learn.  We will work with local populations to educate us, and help us find answers on how we can our raise global awareness.  We will try to breathe life into what too few of us see in documentaries and newspaper articles.

We hope to get a better understanding for what people really need. We truly believe that most people of the world have a great interest in preserving it and would make a difference if they saw an opportunity to do it.

We are thankful for meeting Brooks, without whom this marvelous opportunity would not be possible.  We are grateful to The Wild Foundation and PepPod for caring enough to make this quest possible.  I am optimistic and hopeful that we can make a difference.

Amy Vankanan