"Boubandjida: Elephants' graveyard" photo exhibit shocks French secondary school students

Warning: these photos may shock some people of a sensitive disposition.

"These photos are shocking; this must be stopped!"

These are the words left in our visitors' book by a group of secondary school students after seeing our exhibition at the Montier en Der Festival of Animal Photography.

As I was busy replying to the questions of a visitor about our work, my attention was attracted by a group of fairly noisy young people at the end of the exhibition.

I went towards them and then realised they were photographing our photos!

Suddenly a girl says to me:

"I've never seen images like this before!"


"Do you know why you've never seen them before?" I reply.


The girl shook her head in answer.

"If you've never seen these images before it's because most of the media don't want to show them, they are so difficult to look at. But that's the way it really is".


The girl seems speechless, looks at the photo in front of her, looks at me again and asks me:

"Wait a minute...on these images...they're real elephants aren't they?" she asks, showing me the dead bodies lying on the ground.


"Of course they're real elephants.. " I say...

I then see a second realisation taking place within her, as if at first sight such images could not be real.

Admittedly, what they show is hard to look at, so hard that sometimes our brains prefer to let us believe they are fictional...

In our society, where image is king, the only things which exist today are those we are allowed to see. Any cause which does not show itself in images will unfortunately never exist in the media, and consequently not exist for the citizens which we, and you, all are.

Searching for images is fundamental to us at IFAW.

This is testimony which we seek out during missions which are not free of dangers, dangers which we share so that animals and communities in distress and suffering are recognised and can therefore be helped by us all, together.

Hence we invite you to look at and share the photos of revealed at the Montier en Der Festival of Animal Photography.

--Julie Landry

For more information about IFAW efforts to protect elephants, visit our campaign page.

*This post was translated from the French original.

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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
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