The numbers are so unfathomable that it’s easier to not fathom them: 25,000 to 35,000 elephants per year falling victim to poaching; more than 18,000 “hunting tourists” killing more than 100,000 wild animals annually; 150 species disappearing every day. But the German photographer Joachim Schmeisser refuses to let us turn a blind eye to the state of Africa’s endangered wildlife.
His black-and-white portraits of cheetahs, elephants, giraffes, mountain gorillas, and rhinos are majestic. With a foreword by Djimon Hounsou, the Oscar-nominated actor (including for Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond) and wildlife activist, Schmeisser’s new book spotlights the animals of Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, which he heartbreakingly refers to as “the last of their kind” in the introduction. Last of Their Kind is also the title of the book, and yet the photos inside are marvelously defiant. What if we could stop this sixth extinction? —Julia Vitale