In Senegal’s largest national park, where lions and elephants once roamed in great numbers, just a handful of larger beasts remain, habitats destroyed by fires lit by poachers, hit by cars on a multi-national highway, shot by hunters, scared off by illegal gold miners blowing up a mountain inside the park boundaries. A tiny band of over stretched, but committed rangers, supported by the international conservation group Panthera, do their best to protect them. And against the odds, they may succeed.
A herd of elephants have only just returned to the park, and the nearly extinct West African lions have been spotted more regularly by rangers of late.
Dionne Searcey and I saw a normal day in the life of Ranger Lt. Lang Halima Diedhiou at work recently: burning the brush around camp to prevent it from being enveloped by a nearby wildfire set by poachers; tracking an elephant herd and collecting their feces for sampling; collecting data from camera traps deep in the savanna down dusty red roads; and on the way back to camp, having to cut the throat of a dying antelope that had been hit by a truck on the highway.
From a story I worked on in Senegal with Dionne Searcey of the NY Times: Every evening, thousands of runners, wrestlers, soccer players and fitness fanatics exercise on the beaches and streets of Senegal’s capital. With every breath, they inhale increasingly dangerous air.
A major investigation in collaboration with journalism non-profit ProPublica about the effects of Palm Oil on the environment is published in this weekends New York Times Magazine.
As a sidebar to the main piece, I wrote a more personal account of covering the story, that relates the destruction of the Island of Borneo to the Dayak people and their quickly disappearing way of life.
After years of trying, I managed to get to Agadez, a town I’ve heard about from virtually every migrant and asylum seeker. A story about those very migrants being turned back by Libya and Algeria due to pressure from EU governments was published in Die Zeit.
Ongoing work documenting the process of integration in Germany in Die Zeit. The Raslan family, who I met in Serbia as they fled Syria and made their way by sea and land to Berlin, have been settling in for two years now. Challenges evolve and are overcome, and the families skin becomes thicker with every day in Europe.
The work is funded by UNICEF, and serialized in Die Zeit newsweekly. The work can be seen here.
The explosive compound RDX helped make America a superpower. Now, it’s poisoning the nation’s water and soil. This work takes readers through the negligent and alarming issue spanning Nevada, Tennessee, and Utah.
“I remember just a little bit from before the war… I remember the summer and running with my friends in the warm rain.” Says Vadim Ignatenko, a nine-year-old from the battle-scarred city of Avdiivka.
A story I've been working on for the past couple of weeks for UNICEF was published today in Die Zeit newspaper in Germany.
I wish I could say I've never spent so much time inside fast food restaurants in my life, but that wouldn't be true. I worked in a McDonald's for some years back in Australia and I also love junk food.
I'm told that people who work in these joints don't eat the food anymore, but I say that's bullshit. Even with the well-documented negative health aspects, KFC in Ghana might have been the best assignment of all time. The food portion of my expense account for this story was almost entirely KFC receipts and all my clothes smelt of chicken grease and palm oil.
"Fraud. Bribery. Incompetence. The military’s use of contractors adds to a legacy of environmental damage." This is part of a multipart story I've been working on with ProPublica and their brilliant reporter Abrahm Lustgarten about military waste. It's one of those stories that becomes more astonishing the deeper one gets into the reporting.
For a week, I worked around Lancaster County, Pa., on a story about the Amish adopting technology into their everyday work lives. Our perceptions and their realities are quite different it turns out: smartphone use is permissible, so is working on highly sophisticated computers to cut and shape metal and wood, cars can be okay if the driver doesn't own them, and most homes have solar power - it's most important to be off the grid it turns out.
The most interesting aspect of it all was at their homes though. There, far away from the fax machines and CNC routers, the family units remain intact and largely non-reliant on modern technology. There's a closeness, an intimacy that I rarely see among the English (us). Silence is uncomplicated, comfortable even.
Family comes first and smart phones and all the rest of it, are second. For now, at least.
COLFAX, LOUISIANA — Early one evening, I went out for a run. I took a route out by Lake Iatt, passing through acre after acre of logged land, trailer homes and lush green farms. It was an easy out and back, but as I rounded the last corner, I was alarmed by clouds of black smoke that were blowing my way. Explosions crackled in the distance. The sounds put me back in Iraq, where I’d spent a bunch of tours as a photographer, listening to gun battles being fought in nearby towns or neighborhoods.
Came across a mosque overflowing with people attending the last Friday prayers on one of my favorite blocks in New York's East Village yesterday.
Was lucky to work with Dionne Searcey, the NY Times West Africa bureau chief on a story about Afrobeats in Lagos. Followed around the internationally renowned star Seyi Shay and a young man from the roughest Lagos slum who's trying to make it. Highlights: meeting a guy who calls himself "Fuckmoney" with no sense of irony; bumping into an Emir and a King one night at a show; and when Seyi Shay's assistant got so stoned he forgot the hotel elevator card and just went up and down unable to get out at the right floor.
After two weeks in Greece on assignment for UNICEF, I wrote an opinion piece for the NY Times looking at the refugee crisis in that country - essentially Greece as a holding cell for Europe's unwanted refugees.
“Every year, Greece hosts 25 million tourists,” a frustrated aid worker told me, “and to date we have been given 800 million euros in funding for this crisis — but we can’t find proper accommodation for 50,000 people?”
So, I shot a story for UNICEF a while back and The National Geographic ran it this month. We decided we needed a developed world country represented, so we included my family –i didn't think it was fair to make anyone else look like over consuming dicks in this piece. The dog didn't mind.