The need to educate everybody about the importance of animal and nature conservation led to the birth of the PhotoZoo project, in 2006. PhotoZoo founder, Pierre de Chabannes, is a French independent photojournalist, lecturer and a scientific advisor for National Geographic projects linked to zoology. Pierre has photographed more than 9,600 animal species around North America, Europe, Africa and Asia and is gathering detailed information about their status in the wild and in captivity, their identification and their behaviour.
What is the most important aspect of the PhotoZoo?
Perhaps, the most important aspect of the PhotoZoo project is making the data and photographs accessible to as many people as possible, including people who cannot afford to buy books. Providing accurate yet attractive information to people, and especially to children and teenagers, is the best and probably only reliable way to secure our future on the “pale blue dot”, quoting the words of Carl Sagan, “the only home that we’ve ever known”.
At first glance, the situation looks desperate: more and more animal species are on the brink of extinction, natural habitats are destroyed, climate change puts our own existence at stakes and so far, it looks like humans have yet to take action to stop this vicious circle. An article published by BBC in 2016 states that more than half of the world’s wild animals are now gone. What can we do to change this? Is it still time to act or are we already doomed?
Some people like Sir David Attenborough, the late Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall and many more took action and it really made a difference. Most important is that their action was backed up by unprecedented communication efforts. Allowing the public to know what these wildlife champions did and are still doing is the key to start raising awareness. Animal documentaries have always been popular and are a useful tool to get people to care, from young children to adults. This stresses out the importance of communication and, even more crucial, of education. If education about environment, wildlife and ecology was mandatory in school, just like math or history, the world would probably be very different and most people would be outraged seeing what we have done to our planet.
Education is the most powerful tool to change the world.
The concept of “education” has a formidable impact on people. Good teachers can be nearly as influential and beneficial as parents to a child. And educating our children is the best way we know to ensure that our planet and its inhabitants will be preserved. The late Nelson Mandela said himself: “Education is the most powerful tool to change the world”. And to that, we could add Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous citation: “Go educate yourself in nature”. Centuries ago, people already understood the importance of respecting and preserving nature. By conserving wildlife and their habitat, we preserve a fragile balance of elements that has allowed living forms to thrive on this planet. And by living forms, we don’t only mean wild animals and plants, we also mean ourselves. Aren’t we animals, after all?
The long-term goal of the PhotoZoo project is to publish flashcards on more than 10,000 animal species and subspecies. The flashcards are designed both for adults and child and can be customised in many different ways (more flashcards are in the process of being built for young children, others for schools and colleges …). Flashcards are attractive as they are collectible. Most kids had, at one point or another, a collection of documents dealing with animals, or fantasy creatures. This concept has been working for years and still works to this day.
Examples of PhotoZoo flashcards
Visit the amazing PhotoZoo here … PhotoZoo Collection
Or try their Facebook page here … PhotoZoo Facebook
Discover more about the IUCN Red List here … IUCN Red List