By Sian Young
Jo Perry, 41, has recently returned from a life-changing trip to South Africa where she was given the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals including rhinos, elephants and lions
A wildlife photographer from Hinckley is on a mission to raise awareness about the importance of saving endangered animals.
Jo Perry, 41, has recently returned from a life-changing trip to South Africa where she was given the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals including rhinos, elephants and lions.
Jo, who has a foundation degree in photography, said: “Wildlife photography is something I have always been passionate about. I was always interested in going to South Africa but something inside sparked me to actually go and do it.”
Jo was invited to make the trip by renowned South African vet Dr William Fowlds who works tirelessly to prevent rhino poaching and provides expert care to wild animals. He also teaches veterinary students from around the world on his Vets Go Wild programme that involves field-based theoretical and practical training.
Jo said: “Will had never had his work documented with photographs before. It was an absolute honour to work with him. He is so passionate about what he does and will do whatever it takes to protect the animals. Just standing back and watching him work was amazing.”
Since returning from the trip Jo is now hoping to raise awareness about rhino poaching and help spread the message about Dr Fowlds’ work.
“It is such a shame how quickly these animals are disappearing. If I am ever lucky enough to have children I want them to be able to see a rhino in real life and not just in a photograph.”
In 2013 rhino poaching was at a record high with a total of 1,004 killed. It is estimated that by 2016-2018 the number of rhino deaths will overtake the number of rhino births.
Jo continued: “Because it happens in another country I think people tend to bury their heads in the sand and think it is not their problem. But it is because it has an impact on the eco system.
“People shy away from things that are not pleasant but sometimes we have to open our eyes and see what is going on in the world.
“Rhino horn is keratin, the stuff of our own nails and hair. It’s not medicine, no-one cured cancer by biting their nails.”
Jo is now planning to visit schools in and around Hinckley to educate youngsters about the work that is being done by Dr Fowlds in South Africa to save animals like the rhino.
“We need to teach the next generation. This is a big deal and if we can just people to listen we can make a difference. I am also going to do some fundraising and sell my photographs in order to support the work that Will does.”
Jo’s photographs from her trip are for sale and all profits will go to Dr Fowlds to help him in his fight to save the rhino. Anyone interested in the images can contact Jo on her Facebook Page www.facebook.com/joperrywildlifephotography
For more information about Dr William Fowlds and his conservation work visit www.worldwideexperience.com/vets-go-wild