• DAY 316: WILD ANIMALS IN A SILENT ROOM – PHOTOS OF ILLEGAL CONTRABAND

    Aug 7th
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    On a plain office table we perched a number of illegally seized wildlife specimens and starting take photos….

    There’s something eerie about seeing tiger cubs, leopards, herons, rare tortoises and whale teeth confined in a bland urban office.

    The Wildlife Crime Unit keeps hundreds of  seized contraband specimens in a silent unmarked room in a non-descript building somewhere in London.  I tried to capture these ex-creatures’ spectacular beauty – and horror – against the most meaningless background I could find.

    No-one hears you scream when you’re standing on an Ikea table.

     

    A stuffed leopard in unceremonious garb and elephant tusk - seized contraband at the Wildlife Crime Unit

    A stuffed leopard in unceremonious garb and elephant tusk –

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    Table full of seized ivory. Some elephant tusks are now removed from the animal with explosives

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    This is a hippo tooth. It is linked to photo 1

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    This is an African Black Rhino Horn. It was traced to a company based in London, who were intending to sell it into the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) market back in 1996.

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    Elephant tusk seized from man involved in the trade of ivory. He had elephant ivory and a large quantity of hippo ivory that was being carved into figurines. He was charged by police

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    Badger hair and ivory shaving brushes seized from Jermyn Street, London

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    These are thigh bones of the rare Asiatic Black Bear. They were being passed off as Tiger bone, as these are more valuable in the TCM market. They were being offered for sale by a TCM shop in Soho

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    This bird trap was seized from someone in South East London, who was taking part in wild finch trapping in 2012. The captured birds are often then put into the pet trade or sold to restaurants

    These bird eggs were seized by an egg collector in London. He travelled to Scotland to collect many of the eggs. Police recovered some 700 bird eggs were recovered from his home address. He was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment

    These bird eggs were seized by an egg collector in London. He travelled to Scotland to collect many of the eggs. Police recovered some 700 bird eggs were recovered from his home address. He was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment

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    Rare tortoise shells

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    Elephant tusk

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    This mink was donated to the Wildlife Crime Unit so that it could provide an example of a non-native species and the consequences of such a species being introduced into the wild

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    This Hawksbill turtle was seized from a North London taxidermist. This species is unfortunately very commonly used in the illegal wildlife trade

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    The crocodile skin bag was handed into the police after the owner found out that it was actually made from real crocodile!

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    The Guillemot was seized from the same taxidermist in North London

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    This Tawny Owl was seized from an address in South East London

     

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    Gall bladders seized in Soho. They were sold as bear gall; they are infact pig gall bladders

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    Guillemot seized from a taxidermist in North London

    These small bottles contain ground bear bile. This item was seized at London Heathrow Airport by the National CITES Enforcement Team at UK Border Force.

    These small bottles contain ground bear bile. This item was seized at London Heathrow Airport by the National CITES Enforcement Team at UK Border Force.

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    Cory’s Shearwater bird seized from taxidermist in North London

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    This is a Purple Heron, which is a rare visitor to the UK. It was seized in Brixton as the owner was unable to prove legal possession of the item. The owner had a very large collection of taxidermied birds in their collection

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    The badger was donated to the Wildlife Crime Unit as an educational aide, to highlight the issues of badger persecution.

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    The making of….

    This tiger cub got to me most...

    This tiger cub got to me most…

    Me and my assistant, Jake, spent two hours trying different set ups before settling on the bland office table.

    Me and my assistant, Jake, spent two hours trying different set ups before settling on the bland office table.

    The gear we took - in the end we mostly used available light

    The gear we took – in the end we mostly used available light



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    4 Responses to “DAY 316: WILD ANIMALS IN A SILENT ROOM – PHOTOS OF ILLEGAL CONTRABAND”

    1. Such a shame these beautyful animals and their body parts ended here.
      That tiny tiger cub in your other post brings tears to my eyes. So sad.

    2. Stunning photos. The flatness of the lighting and background is like the callousness of their persecutors; their helpless torment still accuses us from their missing or false eyes, their infinite living magic reduced to these dead “objects, ” pinnied down or imprisoned in plastic. I think this is most horrible of all your posts so far, epitomising the pointlessness of such cruelty.
      A whole elephant, just for those bits..

    3. Seductive, haunting and eerie photography.

    4. Oh 🙁 so sad and those pics make it look even worse…like all hope is lost.

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