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#BOLDT sponsors stunning exhibition of De Bock photography



©
Jimmy De Bock
The way we see the world is often best captured by a photograph. Iconic images of mankind’s plight and triumphs have over and over again been seared into our collective memory,
writes Martin Banks.  

In this spirit, on Tuesday, 3 December, BOLDT – in co-operation with Fondation Franz Weber – sponsored a photo exhibition of Belgian photographer and BOLDT’s Creative Director Jimmy De Bock’s latest work.

It is a series of haunting images of elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs and other threatened species that could become extinct in the wild within a decade if poaching continues at current levels.   

De Bock, along with Vera Weber, Fondation Franz Weber CEO, Catherine Bearder MEP and Jeremy Galbraith, BOLDT Managing Partner, collectively called on Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, to incorporate a ban on all trade in ivory and ivory products to, from and within the EU as part of the European Green Deal.

Vera Weber, CEO, Fondation Franz Weber, said: “Since 1975 – basically my entire life – we at FFW have been campaigning to protect and preserve all wildlife and particularly elephants, which continue to be killed in huge numbers for their ivory every year. The EU and Japan – who would believe it – are the largest ivory markets in the world. If they followed the example of France, the UK, Luxembourg, China and the US, which have all closed their markets – with Australia, New Zealand, Israel and Singapore soon to follow suit – I believe we could end the trafficking of ivory and save elephants from extinction in the wild.”

UK MEP Catherine Bearder said: “This endangered species photo exhibition is timely. The EU Action Plan, which includes Wildlife Trafficking, runs only until 2020. It is little known that the world’s fourth largest organised crime is wildlife trafficking. The European Union must revisit this monumental issue. A new Action Plan, under the Commission President’s guidance, must sit squarely as part of the European Green Deal, due in December. 

“Europeans have a vital role to play in protecting global biodiversity – and yet too often we are the marketplace that drives the destruction. A new Action Plan is urgent and should do more to protect threatened and endangered species, so they have a fighting chance of survival in the wild.”

Jimmy De Bock, Photographer & Creative Director, BOLDT, added: “Taking pictures of wild animals is an intense experience. I get to spend hours watching the details of their behavior and interactions. It is incredibly powerful to witness but I think it is the rawness of these animals that fascinates me the most.  I believe African animals, and Africa as a whole, are part of who we are, part of our soul.”

Jeremy Galbraith, Managing Partner, BOLDT, commented: “My passion for elephants began over 30 years ago when I cared for two baby elephants. Unfortunately, they were in captivity but it sparked what has become an incredible passion for elephants. It is quite staggering that these majestic animals are now endangered. Today, an image is so much more powerful than words. Jimmy’s photographs are a reminder of what is at stake. Ending the trade of ivory is an achievable goal but the EU needs to step up its game – because it is simple: all legal ivory markets fuel poaching and trafficking of ivory.” 

Fondation Franz Weber was founded in 1975 by Franz Weber. Ever since, the organization has passionately carried out a diverse range of campaigns around the world to protect animals and nature. Until the end of 2020, 10% of the proceeds of all sales of Africa. Endangered. prints will be donated to the Fondation.

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Hong Kong election: Pro-democracy candidates make stunning gains after record turnout



Pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong surged to an early lead in the first polls since the start of anti-government protests in the city.

Record numbers of people turned out to vote in the district council election which is seen as a test of support for the pro-Beijing chief executive, Carrie Lam,

Initial results suggested that by 4am local time establishment candidates had only won around 18 seats, compared to 207 for pro-democracy candidates, out of a total of 457, according to local media.

Hong Kong’s district councils control some spending and decide issues such as recycling and public health.

If the pro-democracy camp gains control, it could get six seats on Hong Kong’s semi-representative Legislative Council and 117 seats on the 1,200-member panel that selects the city’s chief executive.

“The performance of the pro-democracy camp will send a signal to Beijing,” said Andrew Li, a 22-year-old student who supported a pro-democracy candidate. “By ignoring people’s demands, it wakes up all Hong Kong people to come out and vote.”

After the polls closed at 10.30pm local time, electoral affairs chief Barnabus Fung said at least 2.94 million people voted – a turnout of 71 per cent and double the 1.47 million who took part four years ago.

Among the successful pro-democracy candidates were Lester Shum, a former student leader of the umbrella movement in 2014, and Kelvin Lam, who stood in after activist Joshua Wong was barred from running.

There was no major disruption during the day, despite recent attacks on candidates including Junius Ho, a pro-Beijing incumbent who suffered stab wounds earlier this month. Mr Ho lost to a pro-democracy challenger.

However the standoff continued at Polytechnic University, where protesters have been surrounded by police.

“The government needs to know that if they don’t answer our demands, we will continue demanding and the protests will not stop,” said a 26-year-old pro-democracy voter who gave her name as Cda.

Anti-government demonstrations began six months ago over an extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

While the bill has since been withdrawn, protesters remain angry at alleged police brutality and what they see as Beijing’s interference in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to China in 1997.

Ms Lam pledged that her government would listen more closely to the views of district councils when she cast her ballot.

“I hope this kind of stability and calm is not only for today’s election, but to show that everyone does not want Hong Kong to fall into a chaotic situation again,” Lam said.

Additional reporting by Reuters



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