香港仍然是全球野⽣动物和象牙贸易的主要枢纽。 野生动物经常被当作美食佳肴享⽤、被磨成药材或被雕刻成奢侈品。 ⽽野生动物在菜市场（街市）上的交易，亦已成为了全球卫⽣紧急情况的主要原因；根据最新出现的冠状病毒，是源⾃武汉的野生动物市场。在撰写本⽂之时，经已有超过百多⼈死于这种新型病毒酿成的肺炎。
类似的惨剧已不是第⼀次发⽣。位于广东的野⽣动物市场便是2003年SARS（沙⼠）的罪魁祸⾸，当时完全瘫痪了香港整个经济及社会。 ⽽科学家们多年来⼀直指出买卖和食⽤野⽣动物的种种危险，并建议中国政府实施跨区域禁⽌任何野生⽣物贸易的措施，以提⾼中国对健康和安全的关注。虽然⽬前中国已实施禁令，但可惜只是暂时性，直到广泛蔓延的病毒感染结束为⽌…… 另⼀⽅⾯，穿⼭甲、犀⽜和⼤象等非洲野⽣动物数量锐减，亦应归咎于野⽣动物贸易的盛⾏。于过去数年间已导致某些犀⽜品种灭绝。
2012年10⽉27⽇，Nick Brandt在肯亚的安博塞利国家公园，拍摄了⼤象种群中最著名的女族长之⼀：Quumquat，当时她带着两个女儿及其他年幼的同类⼀同散步。 ⼀⽇后，Quumquat和族内几乎所有其他⼤象都被屠杀。它们的脸全被偷猎者砍掉，以确保能够从⽽收集每⼀盎司的象牙。在过去⼗年内，经已有超过⼗万头⼤象的象牙被盗猎；多种犀⽜宣布绝种，剩余的数种犀⽜必须由武装的公园护林员全天候保护。
当Nick Brandt于1995年在坦桑尼亚为⽶⾼·积逊（Michael Jackson）创作《Earth Song》的⾳乐录像时，看到当地⽣态受到持续破坏，促使他想起了著名摄影师安瑟‧亚当斯（ Ansel Adams）曾经说过的格⾔：「如果你拍摄照⽚，请确保这些照⽚有其助益。」
▼地下通道与大象 © Nick Brandt,Underpass with Elephants, 2015, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
其后，Nick Brandt于2014⾄2015年创作出⼀系列惊艳的作品－《尘⼟继承》（Inherit the Dust）。这系列包括他于数年前拍摄⽽从未曝光的动物肖像，并印刷成⼀比⼀尺⼨在巨型画板上，再将这些画板放置回已被城市发展吞噬的原有动物栖息地之上。在同⼀⽚⼟地，这些美丽的⽣物曾经⾃由⾃在地漫游着，却因⼈类的影响，导致这⼀切已去不复返。
▼荒原与大象 © Nick Brandt, Wasteland with Elephant, 2015, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
2012年10⽉27⽇，Nick Brandt在肯亚的安博塞利国家公园，拍摄了⼤象种群中最著名的女族长之⼀：Quumquat，当时她带着两个女儿及其他年幼的同类⼀同散步。 ⼀⽇后，Quumquat和族内几乎所有其他⼤象都被屠杀。它们的脸全被偷猎者砍掉，以确保能够从⽽收集每⼀盎司的象牙。
尽管法律上有所改变，但由于缺乏调查和执法，在香港的象牙贸易问题依然存在。据《纽约时报》（ New York Times）于2019年2⽉的报导：「虽然其他具有政治和执法能⼒的国家已经开始全⾯打击野⽣动物贩运，但香港政府似乎不愿效仿；尽管在非法贸易中，有⼀⼤部分是通过香港机场和船运站发⽣，但香港政府反⽽在打击贪污腐败、有组织犯罪和其他弊端⽅⾯相对较为积极。该地区的海关估计，在过去五年中，被缉获的野⽣动物违禁品－ 主要为穿⼭甲、象牙和⽊材－ 价值超过七千⼀百万美元，这数字反映当中可能牵涉⼗亿美元的非法贸易收入。」……「我们对执法和起诉很认真。」环境局副局长谢展寰先⽣说，「但我们必须接受⼀个现实，就是香港是⼀个⾃由港，她为此类贸易活动提供了很多机会。每天我们都有成千上万的货物进出城市。」
世界⾃然基⾦会环境保护总监Gavin Edwards表示：「对于防⽌象牙在香港仍然开放的市场被非法转售，严格的条例和监督极为重要，否则将严重削弱中国⼤陆在实施象牙禁令⽅⾯的努⼒。」他认为这种差异可能会加剧香港被定位成「合法象牙贸易掩护下的⾸选非法转售市场。」他延伸说：「现在是加紧执法⽽非松懈怠慢的时候。如随着香港提⾼更严格的判处，执法部⾨在调查和起诉野⽣动物相关罪⾏可以发挥到更⼤作⽤。」 
▼垃圾场上的大象与其幕后 ©Nick Brandt, behind the scenes of ‘Elephant on Dumpsite’, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
Inherit the Dust
▼采石场与长颈鹿 © Nick Brandt, Quarry with Giraffe, 2014, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
▼长颈鹿与工厂 Nick Brandt (MAKING OF) photographing Factory with Giraffe 2160px photogredit ©Joshua Yeh
根据《拆弹雄⼼》（The Hurt Locker）电影导演Kathryn Bigelow的说法：
▼采石场与狮子 © Nick Brandt, Quarry with Lion, 2014, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
▼荒原与犀牛 © Nick Brandt, Wasteland with Rhinos, 2015, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
Nick Brandt以底⽚拍摄所有作品。每张⼤型全景图均由⼀系列中⽚幅6×7厘⽶底⽚分别拍下，并通过数码扫描和后制编辑程序进⾏拼接⽽成。本展览将成为Nick Brandt于香港的⾸次亮相。他的作品从未在香港曝光过。
▼巷道与黑猩猩 © Nick Brandt, Alleyway with Chimpanzee, 2014, courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery
地点：Blue Lotus Gallery，香港
时间：2020年 3⽉13⽇ – 4⽉22⽇，星期三⾄⽇ 11am⾄6pm
开幕酒会：星期四 3⽉12⽇, 6pm⾄9pm
Nick Brandt 分享会：星期六 3⽉28⽇, 11am
Location: Blue Lotus Gallery
Time: 13 March – 22 April 2020, open Wed–Thur, 11am–6pm
Presentation & Conversation with Nick Brandt: Sat. 28 March 11 am at Blue Lotus Gallery
Opening Cocktail: Thursday 12 March, 6-8pm
Closing event on Earth Day: 22 April 2020
More about Blue Lotus Gallery and Exhibition
In a series of photographic panoramas shot in East Africa, celebrated photographer Nick Brandt records the impact of men in places where animals used to roam, but no longer do. Pollution and urban encroachment is the cause of ever decreasing habitat for the natural world and loss of biodiversity.
Consumption of wildlife as deluxe delicacies, grounded into medicines or carved into luxury objects have pushed many species such as rhinos and pangolins to the brink of extinction, even elephants might suffer the same faith if their numbers keep dwindling at the same pace. Since 1970, populations of thousands of animal species around the world have declined 60 percent on average, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Scientists warn that Earth’s sixth mass extinction may be underway, and man may only have 10 years to take drastic steps and protect planet’s vital plant and animal life. “Very few ecosystems are not affected by wildlife trade,” said Vincent Nijman, an anthropologist at Oxford Brookes University in Britain. “It directly impacts a very large number of species, and has a knock-on effect on many more species still.”
And its not just animals that are affected, wildlife trade comes at a huge cost to humanity too. Currently the needless cruel and destructive wildlife trade is the cause of a major global health scare. The most novel strain of corona virus seems to have originated from a wildlife market in Wuhan. Over 400 people died already. The Chinese government ordered a ban on the trade of wild animals but only temporary until the epidemic is over. Activists, scientists and conservationists are pushing for a permanent ban.
Humanity can not survive without the rich biodiversity which took the planet millions of years to create; together they prosper and together they will fall. The word and particular China and Hong Kong can not
allow a minority of exotic food lovers to be the cause of extinction of species, the loss of biodiversity and cause major global health emergencies. This needs to stop.
If not, our future generation will be inheriting dust.
On October 27, 2012 Nick Brandt, photographed Qumquat, one of the best known matriarchs in the elephant population around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, walking with two daughters, their young and other kin. One day later, the old female and nearly all of the other elephants in this group were found slaughtered. Their faces had been hacked off by the poachers to be sure they gleaned every ounce of ivory from the tusks.
Between 20,000 to 30,000 elephants are poached every year, mainly for their tusks. The ivory trade is fuelled by demand for carved pieces in the US, South East Asia and Asia, with majority of the trade (an
estimated 70%) going through Hong Kong to China. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), a conservation group, estimates that the population of African elephants may have declined by 111,000 over the past decade due largely to poaching. At this pace, wild elephants will be extinct in less than 20 years.
According to the WWF, wildlife crime has become more lucrative and dangerous, involving large-scale, transnational organized criminal networks. It is now the 4th most profitable illicit trade in the world,
estimated at up to US$19 billion each year.
Hong Kong until this day remains the biggest hub for ivory and wildlife trade.
Hong Kong has a long history of ivory trade which started about 150 years ago when the colony under British rule had easy access to exports from Africa and a clientele in Asia and the West. In the 1960’s and 1970’s between 6000 and 8000 carvers were estimated working in the colony. Until the 80’s Nathan Road was crammed with ivory shops. In 1989 an international ban was introduced for ivory trade, in Hong Kong that meant shops could only sell remaining stock from a stockpile which totalled to about 670 tons of tusks. In 2017 stock was reduced to 64 tonnes although those numbers hardly changed in the last 5 years which is surprising considering the amount of still active ivory shops. The slow depletion could be explained by certain shops selling legal mammoth tusk carvings as a cover for laundering elephant tusks.
After extensive lobbying by wildlife conservationists in China and Hong Kong, China finally banned ivory trade in 2017 and Hong Kong agreed in 2018 to phase out the ivory trade with a complete stop in 2021. The ban was welcomed by local and international conservationists.
In 2019 WWF commissioned a major study on the impact of this ban combined with awareness campaigns on the ugly truth behind ivory trade. Research results show that although numbers had dropped in the amount of ivory purchased in China there remained persistent group of Chinese clients continuing to purchase ivory, especially when traveling, mainly purchased in Hong Kong, but also Thailand and Burma.
In a recent SCMP publication published on 3 February 2020 it was reported that the master mind behind the illegal trade of pangolin scales and ivory so far is still free and unpunished for his crimes and remains on Interpol’s ‘red notice’ list. Only some couriers have been jailed so far. International trade in pangolin scales has been banned since 2017 because the world’s only scaled mammal is so critically endangered, mainly as a result of poaching. Even before that, special permits were needed to trade in the scales. Pangolins are critically endangered, mainly as a result of poaching. As per Wildaid “Chinese pangolin populations have fallen by more than 94 per cent since the 1960s. At least 1.5 million pangolins have been illegally traded in the past 20 years.”
Despite the more recent legal changes, the problem persists which in Hong Kong seems to be due to lack of investigation and law enforcement. As per the New York Times (Feb. 2019): ‘While other countries with the political and law-enforcement capacity to fight wildlife trafficking have begun to do so, the territory’s government — which is otherwise relatively aggressive in combating corruption, organized crime and other ills — has appeared reluctant to follow suit, even as an enormous share of the illegal trade passes through the territory’s airport and shipping terminals. The territory’s Customs and Excise Department estimates the wildlife contraband it has seized over the past five years — by value, principally pangolin, elephant ivory and timber — to be worth more than $71 million, a figure that suggests the possibility of a billion-dollar illicit industry.“…“We’re serious about enforcement and prosecution,” said Mr. Tse, the environment under secretary. “But we have to accept the reality that Hong Kong is a free port, and it offers a lot of opportunities for this kind of activity to happen. Every day we have tens of thousands of cargos going in and going out of the city.”
“Close regulation and monitoring is essential to prevent any laundering of ivory to the still open markets in Hong Kong, which would seriously undermine efforts in mainland China to implement its ivory trade ban”. WWF conservation director Gavin Edwards said the discrepancy could intensify Hong Kong’s position as a “preferred market for illegal ivory under the cover of remaining legal traders. This is the time to increase rather than to relax our efforts” he said. “With stronger sentences in Hong Kong, law enforcement should take a greater role in joint efforts to investigate and prosecute criminal wildlife syndicates.”
But the issue of East Africa is complex and is not only threatened by poaching. Globalization is another big threat with unprotected land losing ground to urban expansion. The territory of wildlife is decreasing every year isolating various species to too small an area to find sufficient resources to survive.
If we follow our present path of development and destruction, in just a few years time, rural African children will be be as uncomprehending that elephants and giraffes once roamed their land. It took billions of years to reach a place of wondrous rich diversity, and it is taking less then a century, a pinprick of time, to annihilate that. At this pace, in about 20-40 years, the future generation will only inherit the sad remnants of a once vibrant versatile wondrous planet, they will be inheriting dust…
Moreover while preparing this exhibition a wildlife wet market seemed to be the culprit of the new corona virus which is causing a global health emergency. As per SCMP 29 Jan: “China has to choose between the narrow interests of wildlife businesses and the national interest of public health. It cannot allow a minority of wildlife traders and exotic food lovers to hijack the public interest of the entire nation.”
INHERIT THE DUST
This was the inspiration behind Nick Brandt’s spectacular body of work. ‘Inherit the dust’.
No effort was spared by Nick Brandt to express the dire state of our environment in relation to its beautiful wildlife. The making of ‘Inherit the dust’ started in 2014 and took over a year to complete. The series consists of unreleased portraits of animals, taken over prior years, printed life-size and glued to large panels. These panels were then placed in within a world of explosive urban development, locations where animals such as these used to roam but, as a result of human impact, no longer do. In all but a few of the final photographs, the animals within the panels are effectively invisible to the people going about their lives. The animals have been reduced to ghosts in these blasted landscapes.
The damnation of animal life, the debasement of human life, the destructive conjugality between the two: It is not just the animals who are the victims of environmental devastation, but also the humans now inhabiting these landscapes.
As per Kathryn Bigelow, Film Director, The Hurt Locker:
‘The wasted lands in Inherit The Dust were once golden savannah, sprinkled with acacia trees, where elephants, big cats and rhinos roamed. These now dystopian landscapes – as Nick Brandt’s unvarnished, harrowing but stunning work reveals – brings us face to face with a crisis, both social and environmental, demanding the renewal of humanity itself.’
Nick Brandt shot everything on film. Every large scale panorama consists of a series of analog medium format of 6 x 7 cm negatives, scanned and stitched together with editing programs.
The exhibition marks a debut for Nick Brandt in Hong Kong. His works have never been shown here before.
1《南華早報》South China Morning Post, 29th January 2020: ‘First Sars, now the Wuhan coronavirus. Here’s why China should ban its wildlife trade forever’ by Peter J. Li
2《紐約時報》New York Times, 11th November 2012: ‘Africa’s Ivory-Driven Elephant Slaughter Continues – A Family Falls’ by Andrew C. Revkin
3《紐約時報》New York Times, 12th February 2019: ‘Hong Kong, Crossroads of the Criminal Wildlife Trade’
4 世界⾃然基⾦會報告 WWF Report, September 2019: ‘Demand Under the Ban – China Ivory Consumption Research 2019
5 BBC, 31st January 2018: ‘Hong Kong bans ivory trade in ‘historic’ vote’
6 《紐約時報》New York Times, 12th February 2019: ‘Hong Kong, Crossroads of the Criminal Wildlife Trade’
7 《南華早報》SCMP, 2nd February 2018: ‘Why Hong Kong’s ban on ivory trade is such a big deal’ by Ernest Kao
8 《南華早報》SCMP, 21st January 2019: ‘Customs urged to step up prosecutions in illegal wildlife trade – with blood of 3,000 elephants, 65,000 pangolins and 51 rhinoceros on Hong Kong’s hands’ by Karen Zhang