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REPORTING · 15th September 2010
Merv Ritchie
Video Link Below

Yesterday, September 14, 2010, a team of internationally acclaimed photographers and video journalists began to release their most recent collaborative effort. They arrived in this Northwest part of British Columbia to document the natural beauty and remarkable environment.

At shortly after 10:00 am media gathered at the Van City Theater in Vancouver to participate in a media conference and watch a preliminary video presentation.

The photographers biographies is a short list of the "who's who" of the best in the world. From Germany, South Africa, Mexico, Spain; working for organizations such as National Geographic with distinctions as; a Pulitzer prize winner, a two time world press winner, BBC photography of the year award and even the Prince's Rainforest Project award.

The presentation was over in a little more than an hour. The national and international media conducted many one on one interviews after the conference in the atrium of the Van City Theater. It appeared as though most were completely surprised by what they were exposed to, the pictures and descriptions and had many questions for the presenters.

Watch the short Video Presentation HERE.

Below is their official media release and a full list of the photographers biographies.

World's Leading Nature Photographers Urge
Canada to Reconsider Major Oil Threat

Recent expedition to Canada's north coast reveals stunning images

Canada's proposed Northern Gateway oil pipeline, a project by Enbridge from the Alberta tar sands to Kitimat, and the ensuing supertanker traffic would have a catastrophic effect on Canada's Great Bear Rainforest, said a group of the world's leading conservation photographers.

"The International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCPJ receives dozens of requests a year to bring our photographers and filmmakers to endangered landscapes all over the world, but British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest stands head and shoulders above the others," said iLCP founder and president Cristina Mittermeier. "The ecosystems here are so interconnected that an oil spill would devastate not only the landscapes and seascapes but the communities that rely on them for their survival."

Internationally renowned photographers from Spain, Germany, South Africa, Mexico, the United States, and Canada have just returned from documenting the Great Bear Rainforest {bios available upon request). Known as a Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) the program is designed to bolster conservation efforts with world-class imagery in order to protect the planet's most unique ecosystems.

Marine photographers and filmmakers went underwater to film whales, sea lions, and other wildlife that stand to be lost from an oil spill. On land the iconic spirit bears, black bears, salmon, wolves, and incredible landscapes were captured. Aerial specialists in addition to panoramic landscape and remote camera sensing specialists captured the most incredible images to date.

"Enbridge's bid to bring oil to BC's north coast just got a whole lot more complicated," said Ian McAllister, Executive Director of the BC non-profit Eacific Wild. "These are among the greatest nature images we have ever witnessed and they will soften even the most ardent supporter of Enbridge's efforts to bring oil to our coast." The Coastal First Nations have declared unified opposition to oil tankers in their traditional territories.

"Our laws require us to accept both the right to protect our lands and the responsibility to do so," said Gerald Amos, president of the Coastal First Nations. "This oil madness has to stop, and this is the place and time for us all to embrace our responsibilities. Now is time to stop the proposed supertankers from soiling our coast and robbing us of our livelihoods."

One of the RAVE partners, the King Pacific Lodge, is the largest private employer of the Gitga'at community and is rated Canada's #1 resort by Conde Nast.

"Every Gitga'at family in Hartley Bay has had at least one member employed at the King Pacific Lodge," said KEL President Michael Uehara. "The resulting tanker traffic from this proposed project will destroy not only the new initiative of King Pacific Lodge, but also the ancient culture it seeks to honor."

A traveling exhibition featuring these images will visit key cities in North America and Europe.

Daniel Beltra - Spain
Daniel is a iLCP fellow and two time World Press winner. Daniel was the first recipient of the prestigious Prince's rainforest Project award. Daniel's cameras have highlighted man's devastating impact on the planet by depicting the destruction of ancient forests, peoples, oceans, species and the ozone layer. Daniel recently covered the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for Greenpeace.

Jack Dykinga - USA
Jack is a National Geographic contributing photographer and iLCP fellow. Dykinga has won a Pulitzer prize for his photography in addition to many other awards. Dykinga specializes in landscape photography.

Ian McAllister - Canada
Ian is President of Pacific Wild, a wildlife protection group based in BC. An Associate of the iLCP, he received the North American Photographers Association Vision award. His images focus on endangered landscapes and wildlife.

Cristina Mittermeier - Mexico
Cristina is the founder and president of the iLCP, the first organization dedicated solely to applying photography to conservation. Cristina is also an internationally-recognized photographer.

Paul Nicklen - Canada
Paul is a National Geographic contributing photographer and iLCP Fellow. Paul is a two time World Press winner and has won BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Nicklen specializes in underwater photography, with a focus on wildlife and polar environments.

Tom Peschak - South Africa
Tom is a National Geographic contributing photographer and iLCP fellow. Peschak is the chief photographer for the Save Our Seas Foundation. Peschak specializes in underwater photography, primarily marine environments.

Joe Rlis - USA
A National Geographic young explorer and trained biologist, Joe connects sound science with innovative nature photography. Joe photographs entirely in the wild, not in "captive situations," his photographs are also presented in their true form without computer manipulation.

Florian Schulz - Germany
Florian is an iLCP fellow and champion of long term photo projects that address the most important wildlife stories of our time. Florian focuses on documenting stories on wildlife corridors and connectivity.