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Capturing the Connection Between Wildlife and People

Photographer Ami Vitale circles the globe tracking rhinos, rickshaws, and revolutions.

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Rhino-keeper Kamara is hand-raising Kilifi, an 18-month-old, and two babies, last of a Kenya population near extinction.
This story appears in the October/November 2016 issue of Nat Geo WILD magazine.

Photographer Ami Vitale’s philosophy of “living the story” has put her in a variety of unique situations—from living in a mud hut to donning a panda suit. She has covered revolutions, unspeakable violence, extreme poverty, and sweeping cultural change. After more than a decade of covering conflict, Vitale couldn’t help but notice that less sensational but equally important stories—like a wedding happening around the corner from a revolution—were often getting overlooked.

Recently, Vitale has focused on the animal kingdom. She sees a deep connection between wildlife, nature, and people. “You can’t talk about humanity without talking about nature,” she says. Her recent work has covered the reintroduction of important, critically endangered species like black rhinoceroses into the wild. These rhinos are making a comeback in northern Kenya, thanks to relocation and conservation efforts. Wild black rhinos were once a common sight there, but poachers killed the last one 25 years ago. “Most Kenyans have never seen a live rhino,” says Vitale, who has been documenting the project. Now, scientists are working to reestablish a small but growing population.

Ripple Effect Images Vitale is a founding member of Ripple Effect Images, dedicated to documenting and providing solutions for challenges women and girls face around the world. Learn how to help at rippleeffectimages.org.