elephant africa

Visiting Creatures in Need with Charlie Hamilton James

To see more of Charlie’s photography from around the world, follow @chamiltonjames on Instagram.

After spending several months during the course of a year in Africa shooting a story on wildlife poisoning, National Geographic photographer Charlie Hamilton James (@chamiltonjames) enjoyed his final day on assignment photographing (and cuddling) orphaned elephants. “On one level, it’s lovely, and on another level, it’s very sad. There’s a bit of a weird sort of emotional shift going on at the same time,” explains Charlie, who traveled to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (@dswt) in Kenya to see Roi, a young elephant who lost his mother to a poison dart. “Every single one of those elephants has seen some horrific trauma in its life.” Charlie offers advice to those who want to get involved on #WorldWildlifeDay but may not be traveling to Africa anytime soon: “The thing we can do is think locally,” he says. “Consider the animals on your own doorstep, and fight to protect them.”

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Baby elephant going after spilled milk at bottom of wheelbarrow

Beaded elephant mask of the Bamileke people, Cameroon, worn by members of the Kuosi masking society (an elite society made up of royalty and other men of high rank).  Artist unknown; 20th century.  Now in the Brooklyn Museum.  Photo credit Brooklyn Museum.