In a region where bad environmental news is common, the Giant Panda might prove to be the exception and a testament to the perseverance and efforts of Chinese scientists and conservationists. By breeding and releasing pandas, augmenting existing populations, and protecting habitat, China is on its way to successfully saving its most famous ambassador and in the process to put the wild back into an icon. As of September 4th, the giant panda is no longer on the endangered species list. Ye Ye, a 16-year-old giant panda, lounges in a wild enclosure at a conservation center in Wolong Nature Reserve. Her name, whose characters represent Japan and China, celebrates the friendship between the two nations. Ye Ye’s cub Hua Yan (Pretty Girl) is being trained for release into the wild. Is a panda cub fooled by a panda suit? That’s the hope at Wolong’s Hetaoping center, where captive-bred bears training for life in the wild are kept relatively sheltered from human contact, even during a rare hands-on checkup. Zhang Hemin - “Papa Panda” to his staff - poses with cubs born in 2015 at Bifengxia Panda Base. “Some local people say giant pandas have magic powers,” says Zhang, who directs many of China’s panda conservation efforts. “To me, they simply represent beauty and peace.” At Bifengxia, bears mate under keepers’ watch—a far cry from the privacy they have in the wild. The panda base’s operators are finding ways to allow for natural reproductive behaviors such as scent marking, mate choice, and male competition. Blind, nearly hairless, squeaky, and 1/900 the size of its mother, a newborn panda is as needy as it gets. But it won’t be for long: The panda is among the fastest growing mammals, increasing from around four ounces to four pounds in its first month. Three-month-old cubs nap in the panda nursery at Bifengxia. A panda mother that bears twins usually fails to give them equal attention. Keepers reduce the load by regularly swapping cubs in and out—making sure each gets both human and panda-mom care. A cub gets weighed at Bifengxia. In the wild, once they’ve grown to adulthood, female pandas may weigh up to 220 pounds and males up to 250 pounds, and they’ll range from four to six feet long. Panda keepers do a health check on giant panda named Hua Jiao (Delicate Beauty) before she finishes “wild training” at Wolong’s Hetaoping center which is part of the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan Province, China. Bears have to be trained to live in the wild and mustn’t get used to seeing humans. Even the caretakers who clean the animals’ cages wear costumes that make them look (and smell) like pandas. Camouflaged by a bamboo thicket, a giant panda will spend much of the day surrounded by and munching on its favorite food at Bifengxia. Pandas used to eat both meat and plants. At least two million years ago, their diet shifted to bamboo. Gao Xiaowen poses with the stuffed leopard that Wolong keepers use to train young pandas to fear their biggest wild foe. A cub’s reactions to the “predator” and its recorded growls help determine if the bear is prepared to survive on its own.
Every year on December 28th, in the town of Ibi in Alicante, Spain, the festival of Els Enfarinats takes place. It's a festival in which the citizens are divided into two groups: the first is called the Enfarinat (the floured), that simulates a coup d'etat; the other one tries to calm down the rebellion. The teams play with flour, water, eggs and coloured smoke bombs. The festival has been celebrated for 200 years as part of the celebrations related to the Day of the Innocents. It lasts one day and starts in the morning when the Enfarinat (the floured ones) invade the city and elect their mayor who will rule during the day.
When it started in the 1960s, the Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show at Knob Creek Gun Range attracted only a handful of people. Located near Louisville, Kentucky, the twice-yearly event now draws about 13,000 spectators to watch shooters fire fully automatic, military-grade weapons at downrange targets, instantly shredding propane tanks and cars. Americans have been prohibited from purchasing newly minted automatic machine guns since 1986, yet there remains a public fascination for weapons of war as well as an active market in vintage weapons available for legal sale at gun shows across the country. While most spectators at the Machine Gun Shoot are legal gun owners for sport, personal protection and as collectors, it is still rare to see such a massive display of firepower outside a controlled military environment. The event at Knob Creek Gun Range - shown here in October 2016 - builds to a crescendo during the “night shoot” as range security officers outfit targets with explosives that detonate on impact and turn the night sky orange with fire. Image #1: A woman laughs while trying to pose with a grenade launcher near a destroyed car used as a target. Between shooting sessions, spectators are encouraged to walk the gun range in order to survey the damage to targets and search for spent ammunition. Image #2: Smoke rises over the gun range as spectators look on while shooters destroy downrange targets. Image #3: A bullet is ejected from a shooter's automatic rifle while firing at downrange targets. Image #4: Spent bullet casings lay piled near a fully automatic machine gun, a weapon developed for warfare and used by the U.S. military. Image #5: A boy surveys destroyed targets while looking for bullet fragments on the gun range between shoots. Image #6: A spectator displays the remains of bullets found while surveying the gun range between firing sessions. Image #7: Spectators, gathered behind an active firing line, look on while many record cell phone video of the live fire event. Image #8: A gun show vendor displays a poster over his booth depicting Hillary Clinton giving a Nazi salute. The event occurred during a particularly heated U.S. presidential race where many participants feared that Hillary Clinton, if elected, would propose new laws restricting gun use in America. Image #9: Shooters take aim at targets set to explode on impact during the final night at the Machine Gun Shoot. This particular event, known as the 'night shoot', drew a crowd of several thousands spectators.
The Kandapara brothel in the district of Tangail is the oldest and one of the largest in Bangladesh. Here live and work more than 700 sex workers with their children and their madams. Many of the women were either trafficked or born inside the brothel's walls and secure in this way their livelihood. Although prostitution inside registered brothels is legal since 2000 in Bangladesh, these women are socially stigmatized outside their "homes" and thus often choose to stay and continue supporting their families with their earnings.
Greece, border of Idomeni and Gevgelija, between Greece and Macedonia: tohusands of migrants are stuck in desperate conditions in the camp of Idomeni. Around 12.000 refugees coming from Syria, passing through Turkey and arriving on Greek islands, try to pass the Macedonia border in order to reach Europe through Serbia and Croatia. The camp was finally dismantled in May 2016.
Alvaro (43), a drug addict since the age of 22, needs his dose of heroine at least twice per day. His life revolves around finding the money to get hold of and consume the substance. He has been living alone since the death of his mother, in a poor area of Jerez, in Spain. He is 65% disabled due to the polio he suffered when he was a boy that forced him to use crutches on a constant basis. He survives with a subsidy of 367 euros per month that barely lasts him a week. He is an introverted and solitary person. He regrets not having had enough courage to leave drugs behind before his mother died.
Six million litres of diesel and paraffin oil are smuggled from Iran to Pakistan every day, which amounts to about two billion litres every year. Joblessness, drought, and the low price of fuel in Iran compared to Pakistan, are the main reasons for fuel smuggling, which have led most of the young people in Sistan and Baluchistan Province to choose this profitable and dangerous job. More than 3000 vehicles in the province are smuggling fuel.
A few kilometers from Chernobyl, there is a radioactive atmosphere that cannot be seen but is there. Every day local inhabitants consume food contaminated by Cesium 137 and Strontium 90, and thus radioactive isotopes deposit in their bodies gradually. These people still want to live in this area, where their homes and their lives are. "Something has to die", someone says wryly. Thirty years after the accident we can still see the effects of this invisible enemy, in one of the most polluted area of the planet, where death is a slow and almost silent one.
The objective of my work is to find an answer to my question: "After the 2014 war that left 2502 dead on the Palestinian side and more than 100,000 displaced Gazans, how can people in Gaza still have a kind of a normal life in such a destroyed environment?". I try to answer it by depicting the living conditions and the mental state of some families, whose houses have been damaged or totally destroyed. This story has been realized between October 2014 and February 2016.
Like any nation that is growing with hope of attaining a developed status, Malaysia has been feeding its appetite for infrastructure expansion with the importation of migrant workers since the 1980s, especially in the construction sectors. The images illustrate a day in the life of migrant workers from Bangladesh employed in a building's construction in central Kuala Lumpur. With these photos we have to look further beyond the structures of our surroundings where we work and live, for they are the ones who have given us our homes and comfort zones… the builders of our city.
The Mari are a Finno-Ungaric ethnic group living in a rural area near Joshkar-ola, in the Republic of Mari El, Russia. They speak a language belonging to the Uralic family and use a modified version of the Cyrillic alphabet. They settled in this area around the fifth century and their current population is of about 600,000 people. The Mari are the last pagan population of the West and according to their beliefs nature exerts a magical influence over people. Nature is considered as the mother who protects and helps man, as long as he does not harm or oppose it.
The Iñupiat are Alaskan native people, whose culture developed around the practice of whaling. For over 2,000 years they have hunted bowhead whales from sealskin umiak boats. Today, they are fighting for a prosperous, modern future while keeping their cultural identity alive. But climate changes and modernization are rapidly altering the traditional lifestyle of one of the last hunter-gatherer cultures.
There are six great aquifers in the world. The Ogallala is North America’s great one, stretching through the middle of USA. In the northern area of the aquifer, millions of Sandhill Cranes migrate through wetlands protected by conservationists. Water is pumped for BIG AG corn and beef farms. Drought causes wells to dry up leaving family farms in crisis. As small towns die, people are unaware as major rivers support tourism. At the south end of the aquifer near 88,000 wellheads in Texas, families run out of water and haul it to their homes in pickup trucks to bathe their children.
In June 2014 the Islamic State seized the city of Mosul in northern Iraq. In just six days ISIS managed to overtake the city that houses 1,5 million people and later the same year the Caliphate was proclaimed. Two years later on October 16th the battle for Mosul started in an effort to retake the city back into official Iraqi control. The Iraqi officials leading the battle along with the US-led coalition thought they could overtake the city of Mosul within a few months, but nothing turned out as expected. By November 2016, when this shooting was made, the degree of death and destruction have shocked everyone but ISIS.