Steve Winter on Saving the World’s Predators

“The one thing I’ve learned about big cats is that it’s like an umbrella. You protect the top predator, you protect everything underneath it.” —Steve Winter

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A remote camera captures an endangered snow leopard.

Steve Winter first became interested in wildlife photojournalism when he stumbled across a sea turtle laying eggs on the beach in Costa Rica. Although he had been a photographer for most of his adult life, it wasn’t until age 34 that he took his first wildlife photo. His passion for natural history stories was further ignited when he heard scientists speak about issues such as poaching, illegal logging, and mining. “We have a whole story to tell here,” said Winter. “We need to find a way to do it.”

Winter began shooting for National Geographic more than 20 years ago and has been honored with the Global Vision Award from Pictures of the Year International two years in a row. Winter was also awarded first place in the World Press 2014 Nature category for his work on cougars. He is best known for his stories on tigers and other big cats. Winter is the Director of Media at Panthera, an organization that fights to save wild cats and their habitats around the world. —Michelle Tessier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

View more of Steve Winter’s work on his website.

This video portrait was produced by National Geographic magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. It is part of an ongoing series of conversations with the photographers of the magazine, exploring the power of photography and why this life of imagemaking suits them so well. Learn more about the making of the series and watch the full trailer here.

Video Production Credits
Photographer: Steve Winter
Producers: Pamela Chen, NGM
Chad A. Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Associate Producer: Elyse Lipman, NGM
Editor: Michelle Tessier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Camera and Sound: Spencer Millsap, NGM, Shannon Sanders, NGM