In Chobe National Park, Botswana, Hannes Lochner saw a leopard look skyward, as a flock of marabou storks flew overhead. Behind him, on the horizon, the sun sets over a swelteringly hot (50°C) day. This magnificent young leopard is one of many individuals featured in the forthcoming coffee table book Remembering Leopards, part of the ongoing series Remembering Wildlife, featuring wildlife photographers from around the world.
The wildlife photographer Margot Raggett created Remembering Wildlife in 2014 after seeing the body of a young elephant bull who had been killed by poachers using a poisoned arrow. Starting with Remembering Elephants, the series went on to include Remembering Rhinos, Remembering Great Apes, Remembering Lions, Remembering Cheetahs, Remembering African Wild Dogs, and Remembering Bears. Remembering Leopards will be the eighth.
Leading wildlife photographers have donated their images to be included in the book series with the shared goal of raising awareness and funds to protect wildlife. The money raised on Kickstarter (fundraising is happening now!) goes toward production, printing, and exhibitions, and then, once the books are sold, 100% of the profits go toward conservation projects. Having sold 35,000 books and counting, Remembering Wildlife has contributed $1.3 million to 63 conservation projects based in 27 countries.
Remembering Leopards will feature each of the nine leopard sub-species—who, Raggett explains, are believed to be extinct in 23 of their 85 original range countries—plus clouded leopards and snow leopards. In Africa, leopards can no longer be found across at least 40% of their historic range; in Asia, they’ve disappeared from 50% of their historic range.
The IUCN lists leopards as Vulnerable; some species are Critically Endangered. As with every book in Remembering Wildlife, the photographs contained within serve as a reminder of the threats facing these animals and the importance of protecting them for future generations, lest they become only a memory.
Many of the images from wildlife photographers featured in the book have already been announced, with more to come. Sebastian Kennerknecht donated a portrait of a young adult Sunda Clouded Leopard, captured with a camera trap in Malaysian Borneo, while Sascha Fonseca traveled to Ladakh, India, to discover the elusive snow leopard, also known as the “ghost of the mountains.”
Federico Veronesi photographed Luluka, a leopard in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, as she carried her tiny cub into the plains in the early morning light. On the cover, you’ll find Mark Dumbleton’s portrait of Thandi, a leopard he photographed in 2008 when she was just around 20 months old. “Sadly, she passed away in April 2022, but I feel privileged to play a small part in helping her live on for a very good cause, an ambassador for Leopards worldwide,” he shares.
The Kickstarter campaign—which reached its minimum target in a matter of minutes—closes on Sunday, April 30th, and there are some incredible rewards for backers. Highlights include fine art prints, original paintings, jewelry, camera gear, and once-in-a-lifetime trips to wildlife conservancies and conservation tourism destinations. Remembering Leopards will be published on October 9th. Through Kickstarter, you can reserve one copy of the book for £40 for one book or three for £100.